Bulbophyllum sanguineopunctata

Bulbophyllum sanguineopunctata

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Bulbophyllum sanguineopunctata, the red-dotted bulbophyllum, is a miniature, hot to warm-growing species from Thailand and Laos.  B. sanguineopunctata has beautiful flowers that come in late summer to early fall; they are reminiscent of Bulbophyllum bicolor , i.e., cream with maroon stripes, but skinnier and on a longer, nearly 7″ (17 cm) inflorescence.  Bonus: the flowers smell like lilac!!! 

Genus Description

Bulbophyllum is currently considered the most diverse genus of orchids with over 1500 species described.  Bulbophyllums are found in all tropical areas on Earth, and they are as diverse morphologically as they are geographically.  Though named for their bulbous leaves, all Bulbophyllums share some common flower characteristics including a hinged column which causes part of the flower to jiggle or bob.  The better to lure in pollinators!  Speaking of which, many bulbos are pollinated by flies–flies that are attracted to things that look and/or smell, um… dead.  So approach bulbophyllum flowers with a cautious nose.

Growing Tips

Bulbophyllums are easy to grow.  They like to stay moist, and most of them like warm temperatures.  We grow ours in intermediate (winter) to hot (summer) conditions.  Similarly, they grow well in intermediate light although they can tolerate low light conditions, too (you will see fewer flowers).  I have found increased success since growing mine in a closed tray with a little water standing in the bottom for those in pots.  For plants in baskets, water frequently and from all sides.  Bulbos enjoy regular fertilizer (I use a slow release and occasional additional fertilizer by spray), and may be potted in bark, moss, or a combination of the two.  Because they have short roots, baskets or shallow pots work best for these guys.