If you are looking for a fascinating orchid then the Dracula Orchid could be the one. These are a mostly a cool climate Orchid and are closely related to Masdevallia and were called ‘little dragons’ by early botanists. They came from the Mountainous regions of Columbia and Ecuador and this gives us a clue to the growing conditions, humidity and cool temperatures.
The Dracula name is apt because with the darker flowering species such as Dracula vampire, the petals are almost a purple black striped with white, one forms the lip above which are the plants reproductive organs and in the black species they these appear as two little red eyes
Look for the following species, Dracula chimaera with its mottled purple petals and white lip , Dracula vampira with distinct deep purple to balk and white striped petals and those little red eyes , Dracula bella seems to have a larger lip and a core to purple and yellow mottled foliage and Dracula Mopsus has a more closed flower a little more like a dogs mouth.
Dracula Orchids are an epiphytic orchid as well as a terrestrial, so think forest floor and tree root and trunk environment. Good air circulation is the key and cool temperatures, these are not really a tropical orchid at all, and they do like cool night temperatures as well so many areas of Australia will be suitable.
- They grow well in an orchid basket or a container good drainage is essential, the foliage will appear above and the flowers will droop down beneath.
- So summer temperatures from around 20 – 25C and winter around 15C with cooler night temperatures.
- With fertiliser, go easy, over fertilisation will cause leaf burn and as with all orchids try to use rain water, and certainly let tap water sit for a day or so to help remove any chlorination.
Humidity – Try for 80%