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Colombian Orchids – The Most Complete Guide

Colombia is a country located in South America and is one of the countries with a variety of species distributed throughout the territory. Colombian Orchids are one of the most important floras for the nation, even a species of the Cattleyas genus belongs to one of the national symbols of Colombia.

If you are looking for information about Colombian Orchids, the native varieties of the country, and which is the National Flower of Colombia at The Garden Style we decided to prepare a complete article about Colombian Orchids. You will be able to discover all the mysteries and particularities about the shape, color, and aroma of these orchids.

It is said that in Colombia there are more than 4,000 species and the best of all is that most of them are wild because it is one of the most abundant plants in the territory. On the other hand, it is possible to grow them at home and enjoy the beautiful flowers of the most beautiful species of Colombian Orchids. I invite you to continue reading and discover all the care for Colombian orchids.

Characteristics of Colombian Orchids

There are more than 1500 endemic species throughout the Colombian territory, Colombian orchids can be epiphytic class plants. They are those that grow on trees, their roots are characterized by being hanging and are nourished by the humidity of the environment, sunlight, and rain.

There are also known native species of Colombian orchids of the lithophyte class. This type of orchids is characterized mainly by growing on rocks, their roots are not buried in the ground and many times their leaves play an important role in storing the plant’s nutrients.

Some Colombian orchids have terrestrial habits, this means that their roots are completely buried in the soil, and it is from the soil that they absorb the nutrients that the plant needs for the whole process of its development. If you want to look for a Colombian orchid species, we recommend choosing one with terrestrial or epiphytic habits.

Colombian orchids are characterized by growing generally in warm climates, where temperatures are not low and there are no frosts during the winter. This is one of the reasons why there are a variety of orchid species in the territory and botanists are in search of new species.

Another of the main characteristics of Colombian orchids, especially those of epiphytic habits, is that they have the famous pseudobulbs. These are known as organs that will support the orchids for those times when they lack all the nutrients that will allow them to fulfill their life cycle.

Within the Colombian orchid species, you can find the rarest plants in the world, which often have few specimens each year. The natural habitat of the Colombian orchids is mainly the mountain forests, and some species are distributed in the dry forests.

Colombian Orchid Flower

If you like exotic orchids, you must know the Colombian orchids, they are characterized by their beautiful and abundant flowers with a variety of colors, especially light purple, dark purple, and white flowers. The best thing about this type of orchid is that they have greater longevity compared to orchids from other areas.

The flowering can occur practically at any time of the year depending on the species, although it is most likely that you can appreciate their blooms during the spring. The particularity of its flowers is that they have an open shape and its labellum, although it does not have an animal shape, has a beautiful yellow, orange or light color.

Those species of wild Colombian orchids that exist are easily distinguished by their leaves as well as their flowers. Like other orchid genera that can be found in some of the nearby countries, they propagate through pollination by insects, which attract them with their scent.

The National Flower of Colombia: Cattleya trianae

The famous Flor de Mayo (May Flower) is one of the orchids used for the decorations of religious celebrations, the Cattleya trianae became the National Flower of Colombia. It was declared a national symbol in 1936, and it is possible to find it in Ecuador, however, it was the botanist Emilio Robledo who managed to convince the Colombian Academy of History to make the declaration.

After a long process, it was possible to name the Cattleya trianae orchid as part of the national symbols of Colombia, mainly because of its colors that show the representation of the flag. It is one of the epiphyte orchids, so it grows on the bark of trees and has pseudobulbs of a small size.

When observing this orchid, you can appreciate the freshness and beauty of its flowers that with clear purple tones and a touch of yellow on the labellum make it one of the most spectacular species. Another of the main characteristics of the Cattleya trianae orchid is that its leaves are large, greenish and many of the existing specimens have white colors.

The National Flower of Colombia is currently among the threatened orchid genera, so many botanists and programs in the country are working on the conservation of this species. The first thing you will notice about the Cattleya orchid is the particularity of its central petal, where you can appreciate the yellow, red and blue colors of the Colombian flag.

colombian national flower
Colombian National Flower.

Types of Colombian Orchids

The following are the kinds of Colombian orchids that exist:

Orchids of the Andean Region

One of the six regions that belong to Colombia is the Andean region, which is characterized by a large number of orchid species native to the country. All the orchids found in the Andean region are cultivated in departments, which contributes to the preservation of Colombian orchids.

It is said that it is possible to find more than 2,000 species of Colombian orchids in this area. In addition, it is common that in the natural parks you can observe the rarest species of the region, if you want to know the most particular orchids, I invite you to visit one of the most popular national parks in the country.

As in other countries, many of the species are threatened due to the deforestation of their natural habitats and the illegal sale of Colombian orchids.

Colombian Pacific Orchids

Another region where we can find diverse species of Colombian orchids is the Colombian Pacific. In the department of Chocó, we can appreciate more than 500 species native to the country, in the national parks of this area, it is common to observe showy orchids, with abundant blooms, and of medium size.

The Colombian Pacific is one of the places where discoveries of orchid species are made, if you want to know some of them in this content you will discover those that will impress you with their flowers and variety of colors.

Colombian Orchids Species and Varieties

Meet some of the orchids that you can find in the Andean and Pacific regions of Colombia, among them, we have:

Cattleya quadricolor

The famous Cattleya quadricolor (Order it here) is one of the popular orchids of the Andean region. It is a white flower that presents a combination of purple and orange colors inside the flower. This is one of the epiphytic plants that look for the best location in the trees to obtain illumination that will favor its development.

It is an orchid of average size and its natural habitat is the jungles, its greenish leaves unlike its flowers are larger and can reach up to 12” (30 cm). The stem is short and has pseudobulbs as storage organs that enter a state of rest before winter.

Cattleya quadricolor enjoys cold climates, which is why it usually flowers in late autumn or early winter, where temperatures are lower. It does not produce abundant blooms, particularly, giving between 2 and 4 flowers each year.

4 Live Orchid Plants to Choose (Cattleyas)
  • You will get 4 Cattleya Orchids (please see sample picture for a size reference, however some can be slightly smaller or larger)
  • They will be shipped bare root (when you receive them, the roots will be dry, this is normal. Orchids are supposed to be completely dry before re-watering. Please soak them for a few minutes in lukewarm water and plant them in a good orchid medium.)
  • Currently these orchids are not in spike or flower, these are small plants. You will love them.
cattleya quadricolor colombian orchid
Colombian Orchid.

Acacallis cyanea

One of the rarest Colombian orchids is the Acacallis cyanea, it also has an ancient Greek meaning that refers to the lover of the god Apollo. Its flowers are purple and have an open shape which contributes to its pollination by insects.

It is also an epiphytic plant with hanging roots, pseudobulbs, and inflorescence characterized by being long with its leaves. Unlike other species, it requires warm climates where temperatures do not drop below 53°F or 59°F (12°C or 15°C), depending on the time of year.

Another particularity of the Acacallis cyanea is that it has a pleasant aroma, can bloom in winter or summer, and is distributed in other South American countries such as Brazil and Venezuela where this type of orchid abounds. It is possible to find them in humid areas and near rivers.

acacallis cyanea colombian orchids
Colombian Orchid, Acacallis cyanea.

Dracula platycrater

The Dracula genera are the most fascinating species of orchids and in the Colombian Pacific, it is possible to appreciate one of these plants, the Dracula platycrater. Compared to other flowers they are darker and inside the plant, you can see the appearance of a monkey.

It is common for orchids to take on the appearance of an animal, this allows insects to be attracted to them and thus the orchids can use the pollinating insects in the multiplication of their species. Many people describe the Colombian Dracula platycrater orchids with a citrus scent, they require a high percentage of humidity for their flowering.

This species has large leaves, most of the Dracula have small flowers, which is why it is not so easy to detect them with the naked eye. It is not one of the most common species to grow at home, it requires conditions almost the same as in its natural habitat.

dracula platycrater colombianorchid
Colombian Orchid, Dracula platycrater.

Odontoglossum naevium

The Colombian orchids Odontoglossum naevium are one of the specimens that are threatened, experts estimate that in a few years this species will cease to exist. For this reason, it is forbidden to cultivate this species at home, it is difficult to find and could die if it does not develop under the necessary conditions.

It is an orchid with small white flowers, it has a wrinkled appearance in its flowers, and in them, you can see reddish dots that give a different touch to the plant. As for its leaves, they are elongated and dark green.

odontoglossum naevium
Colombian Orchid, Odontoglossum naevium.

Cycnoches haagii Barb

The orchid Cychoches haagii Barb is one of the plants that are not only found in Colombia but throughout South America, the size is medium, although many specimens are small. It needs warm climates to grow, it is an epiphyte plant and blooms during spring.

One of the particular aspects of this epiphytic orchid is that it grows on dead trees, some of its stems are aerial, and it is found in the humid forests of Colombia. Its leaves are large and wide in the center, and its inflorescence is racemose. Although it is one of the best-known Colombian orchids, it is not easy to find.

cycnoches haagii barb
Colombian Orchid, Cychoches haagii Barb.

Brassavola nodosa

The famous Lady of the night or Brassavola nodosa (Order it here) receives this name because it has a fragrance that increases its intensity at the end of the day, its flowers with a low appearance are white. It is an epiphytic orchid species, it receives nutrients from humidity, and light and obtains its pollination during the night.

They are one of the Colombian orchids of easy cultivation and can resist for a long time to high temperatures, and can bloom in spring and winter. On the other hand, it presents a fleshy texture and greenish color in its leaves, which appear as the plant develops.

C355 Orchid Plant Brassavola nodosa BLOOMING SIZE Pot Pack
  • 3" Light Green flowers with a White lip
  • Rare species plant
  • Potted in Sphagnum Moss
brassavola nodosa colombian orchids
Colombian Orchid, Brassavola nodosa.

Care of Colombian Orchids

Environmental factors related to temperature, the quantity of water, and appropriate sunlight are the basis for the development of Colombian orchids. Species like the Cattleya can be cultivated without any problem, although if we do not know specifically the needs of our plant, it could get sick and even die. Therefore, we explain everything you should know about its cultivation.

Learn more about Best Soil for Orchids and How to Fertilize Orchids.

How to Grow Colombian Orchids

Before growing Colombian orchids, you must select the right species, mainly that is easy to grow, we recommend the Cattleyas. Knowing everything about its habits, if it is epiphytic, terrestrial, or semi-terrestrial, will help you to select the right pot and substrate.

Locate it in an area where there is not an excess of air current, and it should not be exposed to direct sunlight. It is also not advisable to place it in an area of total shade, orchids acquire energy from this and a low amount of sun can cause yellow leaves on the orchid.

The exact temperatures where Colombian orchids grow are not known, since everything varies depending on the genus. But if you select a Cattleya many of them grow in climates where temperatures do not drop below 53 °F (12 °C).

To guarantee the humidity of the Colombian orchids we must know the frequency of irrigation evaluating the substrate, it can be once a week, every fifteen days or you can increase the irrigation during the summer. Another basic care of orchids for their cultivation is the use of organic fertilizers and fertilizers, there are a variety of online stores where you can buy the best products for orchids (Order it here).

You should be able to grow some Colombian orchids at home if you know all their characteristics about them, they are beautiful, they bloom once a year and many of them have blooms of up to three weeks.

You should learn much more about native Colombian orchids species with this book (Order it here).

Native Colombian Orchids Volume 1: Acacallis-Dryadella
  • Hardcover Book
  • Munera Jorge Mario B (Author)
  • Spanish (Publication Language)
how to grow colombian orchids
Colombian Orchid Flower.

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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