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Bulbophyllums in the Home

The Bulbophyllum group contains some of the most unusual blooms you will find in the orchid family tree. Mainly from warm, tropical regions such as in Africa and Asia, species have been discovered on at least four continents. The range of bloom shapes, textures and scents that can be grown are widely varied and completely captivating.

Many of the more popular varieties are compact plants that can be easily grown in the home environment with a little study. Bulbos do like for their roots to have access to moisture at all times. This usually means that whether you are growing in pots, baskets or on mounts you should grow in a moisture retentive media with good drainage. A media such as our Cypress Blend or a Sphagnum Moss based mix (see recipe at bottom) works very well. When growing in pots, plants may need water as often as 2-3 times per week in the summer and 1-2 times per week in the winter. In general Bulbos are not heavy feeders and prefer dilute amounts of fertilizer such as Dyna Gro 7-8-6 or Fish Emulsion 5-1-1 only every third or fourth time you water.

Plants also appreciate high humidity as well as good airflow around their leaves. Fresh air will keep the foliage from spotting in the damp and high humidity will keep the roots from drying out quickly. Humidity Trays help provide that extra dose of humidity to keep the plant happy.

For the most part, Bulbophyllums, prefer shaded conditions with low to medium light levels. We have found that they make usually great roommates for Paphiopedilums (Ladyslippers) and some Phalaenopsis. Intermediate temperatures in the 65-85 degree range are best.

Bulbophyllums love to be allowed to ramble about on Tree Fern or similar mounts and will live happily for years like this. We have even experimented using artificial branches and formations such as can be found in a fish or reptile tank. Simply choose a mount that will hold up to several years of frequent watering and has with room for plenty of growth. Add a little pad of damp sphagnum moss around the roots and attach securely. Your best options are floral pins, fishing line or floral wire all of which should be fixed across the rhizome between mature pseudobulbs. If growing on mounts do expect to water at least once per day, or whenever the moss feels dry to the touch.

However you choose to grow your Bulbophyllum (and there are many ways) know that you have a fascinating addition to your collection.

Sphagnum Moss Media
We use this multi-purpose recipe for Bulbophyllums, Lycaste, Phragmipediums and many more. The combination of moisture retaining moss and inert materials allows the mix to last longer and stays more open than straight sphagnum moss.

4 parts Sphagnum Moss- Damp with excess water removed’
1 part Medium Tree Fern Fiber
1 Part Spongerock (Perlite Grade #3)

Mix well and store in an open container in a cool, shady place until used. Always use this and other potting medias damp to avoid dehydrating roots when repotting.

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