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Bulbophyllum

This page is meant to give you information and some useful tips about the care of the Bulbophyllum. You will also find all the Bulbophyllum species we offer in our assortment.

» Straight to care

Derivation of the name

The name of the Bulbophyllum derives from the Latin word ‘bulbus’ (bulb-like) and the Greek word ‘phyllon’ (leaf), which refer to the pseudobulbs the leafs grow on.

Features and origin

Bulbophyllum is a gender with over 2000 species. That makes it the largest gender in the family of Orchidaceae. Bulbophyllum grow on trees or rocks in various biotropes, ranging from tropical lowland rainforests to the cool misty forests. They have a pantropical spread and appear in Middle-  and South- America, Africa, Madagascar and Australia. The centre of the spread of the gender is the phytogeographical region of Malaysia, especially New-Guinea and Borneo.
Bulbophyllum are predominantly epiphytic, rarely lithophytic  plants with a slightly branched, crawling rhizome and with a sympiodal growth. The shape of the pseudobulbs varies; they can be spread or in clusters, with one or sometimes two leafs on top, thin and with a leathery feel, and folded like a drain. Also the size can vary from large bamboo-like plants to small climbing or hanging plants. Many species have succulent leafs, a handful of plants has no leafs at all and performs all the photosynthetic activities on the inside of the pseudobulb.
The inflorescence is a hanging bunch or a bunch standing upwards, varying in length, with some to many supinated flowers, in a spiral or in two vertical lines. The flower stem emerges at the base of the pseudobulb, sometimes also at buds on the rhizome.
The flowers are middle-sized to large, the sepals and petals may vary from shape, upright or inverted, with a claw-like or without petiole. The lip of the flower is hingedly connected with the base of the gynostemium, which makes them very mobile. The smallest breeze can make the lip move, independently from the rest of the flower. The gynostemium carries two or four hard, wax-like pollinia that may be connected with a stipum. It has been determined that one specie, the Bulbophyllum nocturnum, blooms during the night.
The flowers can have a strong scent, which does not mean that it has a pleasant aroma.
Many species in the gender Bulbophyllum iminate the scent of rotting flesh, and try to attract potential pollinators (preferably flies).

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Care tips

Place

Put the Bulbophyllum on a place with much light, where they are protected against direct sunlight.

Temperature

Keep the temperature in between 18,5℃ and 26,5℃ in summer. During winter, the temperature can vary from around 16,5℃ to 26,5℃.

Humidity

We advise a humidity of around 30-90%. This varies per species within the gender.

Water

In summer, when the Bulbophyllum is in its period of growth, it may be watered 1 to two times a week. Make sure the pot is slightly dry before watering again.
In winter, the Bulbophyllum may be kept quite dry. The Bulbophyllum doesn’t grow as much in this period and does not require as much water because of this.

Fertilizer

Use fertilizer lightly once a week during summer. In winter, every two weeks is enough.
The fertilizer is important, because there won’t be enough sunlight for the Bulbophyllum. Normally, the sunlight provides the Bulbophyllum with sugars that are essential to create the growth of flower branches. Therefore it’s harder for the Bulbophyllum to start blooming without the fertilizer.

Repotting

When the Bulbophyllum starts to grow out of the pot, the plant requires to be repotted.
The Bulbophyllum needs a mix that consists of 50% rough bark fraction 4, 30% seedling potting soil and 20% sphagnum.