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Introduction to Bulbophyllum

The generic name, Bulbophyllum derived from 2 Greek words, bolbos, meaning the bulb and phyllon meaning a leaf. The name refers to the growth form of the many amazing species under this genus, species with colorful and bazaar flowers.



Bulbophyllum is probably the largest genus in the orchid family with over 2000 species. Most of them are found in Asia and the pacific region. Over the years, bulbophyllum has gained popularity among growers, due to its diversity in appearance and its high variability flower form and color.

As most orchid growers would know, bulbophyllum is well known for their foul smelling flowers. Most flowers would have a rotten fish smell, but luckily most of the bulbophyllum flowers are short lived. The flower size also varies, with the smallest being about 0.5cm and the largest being about 45cm. Some bulbophyllum like bulb. pustulatum, even have specific time of blooming. It only blooms in the morning and closes after that. This can actually go on for days.

Most bulbophyllum are found in the tropical rainforest. Naturally, they would require a high humidity and shaded environment. Most of them exist as epiphytes in the wild, with some exceptions. Some of the species like bulb. singaporeanum can be found growing as a lithophyte or terrestrial on boulders.

Generally, cultivation of bulbophyllum is pretty easy, but one would need to ensure they are grown in a high humidity environment with good air circulation. Only then, they would grow well. The traditional method of growing Bulbophyllums is to tie them on fern bark slaps and occasionally added with some sphagnum moss near the roots region to supply moisture for longer period. The more creative method would be to grow them potted in perlite.


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