This genus, recently divided in two different genera, gathers about 1500 species of epiphytic orchids, present in all the tropical zones of the globe, mostly in Asia; the Bulbophyllum are usually of dimensions around the 30-50 cm of height, but there are also miniature species, whilst the Cirrhopetalum are usually small plants.
The large number of species also has a large number of shapes and colors and of course there can also be a great diversity of needs between a plant and the other, so we will try to describe the needs of Bulbophyllum and Cirrhopetalum that are most often found on the market.
The Bulbophyllum usually have single flowers, with a particular labellum, which is articulated and vibrates with the lightest breeze; the flowers of Cirrhopetalum instead are usually arranged in groups arranged in a fan, and often have long appendages similar to hair.
These orchids have conical pseudobulbs, which have one or two thick, leathery leaves; the roots are rhizomatous and tend to widen considerably, as a matter of fact, usually these orchids are cultivated in hanging baskets or on big pieces of bark.
Most of the species need a fairly intense luminosity, but not excessive, and is to be cultivated far away from the direct rays of the sun, which can cause burns in a short time, especially during the summer days; in winter they fear the cold and are therefore to be cultivated in the house or in the greenhouse, in any case in locations with a minimum temperature over the 12-15°C.
In summer, on the contrary, they can be kept in open air, sheltered from the hot sun and from the wind which dries too much the air. They are plants that love environments with a good degree of humidity.
This genus includes about 200 small shrubs or saplings from China, India and southern Africa. Some species, such as B. grandiflora, can be grown outdoors in the reg… The genus cattleya orchids counts about fifty species of epiphytes and lithophytes, native to South America; they are equipped with fleshy pseudobulbs, which may have dimensions close to the 5-7 cm, with a …
The genus Laelia includes about 50-60 species of orchids, mainly epiphytic, native to Central America, very similar to the cattleya. These varieties form dense tufts of pseudobulbs, which are often found in the… Generally, when we think of an orchid, our imagination evokes memories of delicate plants, with very particular requirements, often with aerial roots, which should be cultivated only by real aperitifs.
During the vegetative period, water regularly, till the flowering, which takes place in spring or summer; in the cold months, water sporadically, allowing the substratum to dry up between one watering and the other. Throughout the year, however, it is advisable to keep these plants in areas with high ambient humidity, often vaporizing them with distilled water.
Make sure that the soil is never too wet, as these plants are strongly affected by water stagnation and can present dangerous root rot in a short time.
Being generally epiphytic plants, these orchids need an incoherent substratum, formed by vegetal fibres, small pieces of bark and sphagnum, with a high draining power.
The repotting of these plants should be done when the roots have developed throughout the size of the container, replacing the substrate with new compound, so as to have a valid support for the growth of the plants. Before repotting, wet the roots so that they are less fragile.
For the reproduction of these orchids, after the flowering, it is possible to divide the pseudobulbs, forming new plants, which are immediately to be placed in a single container, utilizing the same substratum which is utilized for the adult orchids.
Bulbophyllum: Parasites and diseases
Excessive watering, an old or inadequate substrate or an incorrect container can favour the onset of radical rottenness; cultivation in poorly ventilated places can lead to the development of cochineal, which can be eliminated by using a cloth with alcohol to rub on the leaves.