Bulbophyllum and closely allied genera (especially Cirrhopetalum) are considered to be the largest group of orchids. The plants are typically small to medium (although some have leaves up to a meter long) creeping epiphytes, having a sympodial growth habit with prominent pseudobulbs, with one or two fleshy leaves. There is a wide range of fantastic flower shapes and sizes (2 mm to 400 mm). All have a hinged lip that aids in pollination. The pollinator (most often a small fly) lands on the lip, which tilts and causes the pollinator to fall back in to the sticky pollina. The flowers are usually short lived (5-7 days) and are occasionally fragrant (while the fragrance can be pleasant it is often quite foul).
|Most Bulbophyllum species are warm growing and should see a winter temperature of no less than 65 F at night. Species from more temperate regions can be grown 5-10 degrees cooler. Maintain a gentle air movement.
|Moderate to bright (2000 to 3500 foot-candles). Higher light, that does not damage the leaves, seems to result in better and more frequent blooming.
|Most species come from humid rain forests. Humidity should be kept at 60% , which can be difficult to do outside of the greenhouse. Water frequently, as both mounted (at least daily) and potted plants (several times a week) will thrive under wetter conditions than most orchids. Bulbophyllum may be the exception to the rule "when in doubt, don't water". Species from more temperate regions often have a dry period, and watering should be adjusted accordingly.
|Use a balanced fertilizer at quarter strength once a week during the summer. This can be reduced to once a month in the winter.
|Bulbophyllum species tend to prefer a minimum of repotting. Mounting (tree fern or cork slabs), well draining baskets, and pots can all be used successfully. The recommended potting media are sphagnum moss, coir (coconut chips or fibers) and tree fern. The choice of potting will often be dictated by the very long rhizomes of some species.