Black orchid, an exotic plant

Plants that fulfill this characteristic are epiphytic plants and the black orchid is one of them. Here we tell you how it is and what its care is.

Characteristics of the black orchid

If you have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and walk through its cloud forests, you may find a beautiful black orchid, as particular as it is enigmatic. This usually grows on the trunks of the trees using them as a solid base. It is a small variety that presents an erect stem that is wrapped with pods.

The inflorescence varies from 1 to 3 successive flowers and they are always shorter than the leaves. The most striking thing about its flowers is the color of its petals, a garnet so dark that it appears black. The center of the flower, on the other hand, is tinged with yellows and purples and thus the plant achieves worldwide fame for its beauty and uniqueness. Flowering occurs from fall to spring although only once a year.

It needs to grow in a tropical-cool humid climate. The black orchid is well known for its peculiarities, both in terms of the way it grows and its morphological characteristics.

Other types of black orchids

Although the Masdevallia rolfeana is the easiest to find for sale, the truth is that there are other species that share that common name because they produce black or almost black flowers. Since we want you to know them all, we are going to show you and talk a little about them:

Cymbidium cv Kiwi Midnight

Cymbidium cv Kiwi Midnight is a cultivar of Cymbidium. It is a terrestrial plant, which produces leaves 60 centimeters high. The flowers are grouped in clusters of up to 90 centimeters, each measuring about 5-7 centimeters in diameter.

Dendrobium fuliginosa

The sooty Dendrobium is an epiphytic orchid endemic New Guinea which reaches a height of about 50 centimeters. The leaves are linear, 10-20 centimeters by 3-4 millimeters, and its flowers are grouped in clusters. These are about 2 centimeters wide, and they are fragrant.

Dracula roezlii

The Dracula roezlli is a small, epiphytic orchid that we will find in Ecuador. It develops elliptical, erect and slightly leathery green leaves. Its flowers appear grouped, and measure up to 3 centimeters.

Vampire dracula

Image – Wikimedia/ Eric Hunt

The Dracula vampira is a small epiphytic orchid native to Ecuador. The leaves are elliptical, erect and somewhat leathery. The flowers are grouped in basal inflorescences, usually hanging, each measuring about 2-3 centimeters.

Miltonioides leucomelas

The Miltonioides leucomelas (synonym of Oncidium leucomelas ) is a terrestrial orchid endemic to Guatemala. Its leaves are long and thin . Its flowers are small, and they are grouped in long inflorescences.

Paphiopedilum cv Stealth

Image – slippertalk.com

Paphiopedilum cv Stealth is a cultivar of Paphiopedilum, a genus of terrestrial orchids that produce long leaves of up to 30 centimeters and slipper-shaped flowers of up to 3 centimeters.

Paphiopedilum vinicolor ‘Black Velvet’

The Paphiopedilum vinicolor ‘Black Velvet’ is a cultivar of Paphiopedilum. It is a terrestrial orchid that develops creeping stems from which leaves sprout with a length of approximately 30 centimeters. The flowers are about 3 centimeters long, and are shaped like a slipper.

Tolumnia henekenii

Image – Wikimedia/ Orchi

The Tolumnia henekenii (formerly Oncidium henekenii ) is a terrestrial orchid native of the Caribbean develops long leaves are thin, green. The flowers are small but sprout grouped in inflorescences.

Growing and caring for black orchids

Ideal climate

If you want to grow black orchids, the ideal is to replicate the conditions of the forests in which they live wild. That is why they should be kept in a place with partial shade, and temperatures between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Moisture and irrigation

Use sprayers like these to spray water on your outdoor orchids

They need a certain amount of humidity so they have to be watered regularly with rainwater or suitable for human consumption. In addition, it is interesting that if they are outside, the leaves are sprayed so that they are always humid (indoors it is better to get a humidifier or put glasses of water around them, since otherwise their leaves could be damaged).


The substrate to use will depend on whether they are epiphytic or terrestrial orchids. In the first case, the pot will be filled with pine bark, but if not, it will be better to fill it with coconut fiber mixed with 30% perlite.


You can fertilize them in spring with a specific fertilizer for orchids, following the manufacturer’s instructions. It is important that you do not add more than indicated, otherwise its roots will burn and you could lose the black orchids.


They are plants sensitive to frost. Some, like the Masdevallia rolfeana, can bear the cold, but it is better if the temperature does not drop below 10ºC at any time.

What is the meaning of the black orchid?

Black is a color that has always been associated with the negative, such as death, depression, pain. However, the black orchid is more associated with power and authority. As it is a color that is not commonly found in living, healthy plants, black is considered to be mysterious, powerful, and of course unique.

So if you can get one, and place it inside your home in a corner of the garden, it will surely attract a lot of attention.

Do you like black orchids?

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