Growing Bamboo Orchids

Arundina bambusifolia

The pink, purple or white daffodil-shaped flowers of bamboo orchids emit a lovely fragrance. This makes up for the fact that the flowers of Arundina bambusifolia are short-lived when cut and so are not often used in arrangements.

The leaves, on the other hand, have greater longevity and make a great spray of foliage which will fill out a bouquet.



Bamboo orchid flowers close up.

These terrestrial orchids grow wild in Hawaii. Under ideal growing conditions, they can stretch to 8 feet tall. It will remain much smaller when grown as a house plant.

The bamboo orchid gets its common name because its tall, stiff stems resemble reeds or bamboo. This sets it apart, aesthetically, from most other orchids.

In its native habitat (the Pacific Islands and parts of Asia) it can bloom year round. Outside of its native range, it will bloom late summer through fall. The large, fragrant flowers are attractive to butterflies and bees.

This is an orchid that grows best outdoors. This is because of its need for high humidity. That being said, all orchids like more humidity than is typical in the average home.

I once wandered into a specialty shop down in Mt. Dora, FL. The owner hybridizes orchids as a hobby. She had set up a room at the back of the store where she kept the part of her collection which was for sale.

I had never seen anything like it. It was a small room, dimly lit and overflowing with every variety of orchid you can imagine. All in bloom. The fragrance enveloped me as I entered and I didn't want to leave.

Ever.

She had a vaporizer running, which sent a perpetual mist into the air. I think this intensified the perfume.

Humid air "holds" scent better than dry air.

As Tiny refused to spend all day there in "the orchid room", I was forced to leave. I carried a Cattleya off with me as a souvenier.

Bamboo orchids growing in a landscape.

If you are willing to run a vaporizer all day, every day, you will no doubt be able to keep a bamboo orchid tickled pink indoors. Otherwise, the plant may struggle.

I've never had any luck setting humidity-loving plants on pebble trays of water inside a dry house. I do manage to pull my vandas through our short Florida winters by misting them daily. You could try this with a bamboo orchid, but if your winters are much longer than ours, it may not be enough.

If you choose to grow one in a pot, summer it outside and bring it in when temperatures fall into the 40s F.



Orchid Care Guides:

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care
Phalaenopsis orchid care is easy. For the right kind of gardener. Let me explain...

Miltona Orchids
Miltonia orchids (Miltoniopsis) bear large, intensely-colored, sometimes fragrant flowers that look like pansies. In fact, they are sometimes referred to as pansy orchids.

Growing Orchids Indoors is Fun
Growing orchids indoors is considered by some to be the supreme gardening achievement, the province of master gardeners, but this is not true.

Go back to Caring for Orchids
Caring for orchids offers instruction on how to grow orchids to beginners as well as experienced gardeners. Includes growing orchids indoors, orchid propagation, raising, pruning and repotting various types of orchids.

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