Mexican Orchids – The Most Complete Guide

Mexico is a country located in North America, noted for its mountain and jungle landscapes where it is possible to find a variety of orchids native to Mexico. It is said that there are more than 250 species distributed throughout Mexico. Learn all about Mexican orchids in this article.

Therefore, in this content we will talk about Mexican Orchids, you will discover the characteristics, the types of orchids that you can find such as; terrestrial, wild, or miniature orchids which are perfect to decorate small places in our homes. In addition, we will explain the different types of Mexican orchids so you can look for your favorite in the nearest store.

Undoubtedly, orchids are plants that can be found almost anywhere as is the case of Mexico, one of the countries with more species of orchids. For you to have complete information we will give you the basic care that will allow you to achieve the cultivation of Mexican Orchids.

Characteristics of Mexican Orchids

These are all the characteristics that you did not know about Mexican orchids, among them are:

As we mentioned there are a variety of Mexican orchids, which have different habits for their development, that is, they can be epiphytic plants since they grow on trees, terrestrial if they grow on the ground, semi-terrestrial, among others. Therefore, when selecting a Mexican orchid, it is necessary to know what kind of plant it belongs to since it will allow us to adapt the necessary conditions for its cultivation.

Mexican orchids are considered a patrimony of the country because there are more than 300 species that we can only appreciate in Mexico. In addition, botanists are in search of new species of Mexican orchids every day. It is important to highlight that some of the Mexican orchid species are in danger of extinction due to many factors.

Those Mexican orchid species in danger of extinction due to deforestation and habitat damage are only found in Mexico, which is why botanists and the country are working on programs to protect and recover at least 10 Mexican orchid species.

Another of the characteristics of Mexican orchids is that most of the species are wild, a considerable advantage since wild orchids stand out for being exotic plants with particularities both in aroma and shape.  On the other hand, you can find Mexican orchids of practically any size and even with long blooms per year.

Some of the Mexican orchid species are characterized by being easy to care for since they do not require much attention. Therefore, it is common to see all over Mexico a variety of orchids of all colors, sizes, and even hybrids of the most popular species in the country.

characteristics mexican orchids

Mexican Orchid Flowers

The flowers of Mexican orchids vary according to the species, but one aspect that characterizes them is the variety of colors they present, from pink, purple, green to red with different color spots such as yellow. The native species of Mexico are characterized by their large flowers that are often sought after for the illegal sale of this type of plant.

We recommend choosing Mexican orchid species that are not in danger of extinction and that you can find in nurseries. This way you will be sure to preserve some of the rarest species while enjoying your orchids for home or garden decorations.

Types of Mexican Orchids

The following are the different types of Mexican orchids that you can find:

Mexican Wild Orchids

Because Mexico is one of the countries with adequate conditions for the development of orchids outdoors, it is possible to find a variety of Mexican wild orchid species. Most of the wild orchids can be terrestrial plants or epiphytes where the aerial roots stand out.

Generally, they bloom during spring or early summer, depending on the species of Mexican wild orchid, they have showy flowers that are different from other types of orchids. Also, they have pseudobulbs characteristic of epiphytic orchids which function as nutrient storage for the plants.

If you want to cultivate a Mexican wild orchid species it will not be an easy task, generally, they do not usually develop out of their natural habitat, but if you have patience and follow all the care recommendations, I assure you that you will be able to make them develop in your garden.

We mention some of the names of Mexican wild orchids: Laelia antumnalis, Oncidium unguiculatum, and Prostechea squalida.

Mexican Terrestrial Orchids

As their name indicates, Mexican terrestrial orchids grow on the ground, unlike other orchid species, what characterizes them are the erect stems and that they obtain the necessary nutrients for their development from the roots that are located under the ground.

In general, Mexican terrestrial orchids are capable of surviving in any environment, but some of them require specific temperatures for their growth, some colder and others warmer. Likewise, light for terrestrial orchids is one of the indispensable aspects, since they absorb energy through it.

No characteristic differentiates Mexican terrestrial orchids from other orchids, the only thing is that they develop in this location due to the humidity, the soil, among others. If you want a species of terrestrial orchid at home you can grow it without problems, they usually bloom in spring.

Mexican Epiphytic Orchids

Mexican epiphytic orchids are located in the high areas of trees because they grow on them and through a good location, they can receive the necessary light, humidity, and rain, which will be their main feeding mechanism.

One of the main characteristics of Mexican epiphytic orchids is that their roots are hanging, so when growing them we must be sure to use the right substrate. They also have a storage organ and are the most used for home decorations.

If you want to buy a species of Mexican orchids, we recommend those of epiphytic class, they are easy to find in any store. At the same time, they have good resistance to high temperatures, although this will vary according to the genus of orchid you select. The good development of epiphytic orchids depends on the pot, the substrate, and the humidity that we provide.

Mexican Lithophyte Orchids

Mexican lithophytic orchids or as they are known as semi-terrestrial orchids often have epiphytic habits, although the likelihood of this happening depends on the genus of orchids. Unlike epiphytes, these do not grow on the bark of trees and their roots are not hanging, lithophytes grow on the moss found on a rock.

Another peculiarity of Mexican semi-terrestrial orchids is that their roots are not completely buried in the ground, this is the characteristic that differentiates them from terrestrial orchids.

On the other hand, their flowers are abundant, colorful and many of them do not have pseudobulbs, so they use their greenish leaves as a storage organ. Also, lithophyte orchid species are a great choice for growing at home, you just have to know the amount of light, frequency of watering, and use fertilizer from time to time.

Mexican Aromatic Orchids

The aroma is one of the characteristics that describe the Orchidaceae family and the Mexican aromatic orchids have citric aromas, mainly orange. Mexican aromatic orchids can be epiphytic, terrestrial, lithophytic, or wild plants, what varies in these cases is the intensity of the aroma.

Mexican aromatic orchids have this characteristic scent with a single purpose, to attract pollinators. Let’s remember that orchids are experts in attraction mechanisms and many of them acquire the scent of their pollinating insects to attract attention.

You will observe Mexican aromatic orchids with small flowers, abundant blooms, and a variety of shades a particular characteristic of aromatic orchids is that they present a different shape in the labellum. There are Mexican aromatic orchids of the rarest species in the world or those that we can have at home, which is perfect to decorate small rooms.

Mexican Miniature Orchids

You can find a variety of species of Mexican miniature orchids, they are characterized by abundant blooms, but the particularity of this type of species is that they are the most sought after for decorations. The best of all is that they are small, they do not take up much space and you will be able to obtain one of the rarest Mexican orchids in a smaller size.

Mexican Orchid Species

If you are looking for some of the Mexican orchid species, we mention the most popular ones and some of the genera that you can have at home following basic tips for their development:

Brassavola

Brassavola is one of the smaller genera of orchids, mainly noted for its white flowers that many describe as majestic. It is one of the plants that can bloom at any time of the year, it is one of the species of Mexican aromatic orchids that have an aroma that stands out during the night (Order it here).

If you like to enjoy long blooms Mexican Brassavola is the best option for you, these are epiphytic plants so it is advisable to use a transparent pot where you can see their roots. They store nutrients in the pseudobulbs, reaching up to 20” (50 cm) approximately, although everything will depend on the plant and care.

One of the most popular Mexican Brassavola is Brassavola cucullata, its drooping flowers are white with a hairy texture and have pink tones. Brassavola cucullata is a plant that flowers in mid-spring and has great resistance to high temperatures.

brassavola mexican orchids

Cattleya

Cattleya is one of the most fascinating and sought-after orchids to grow at home. The flowers of this orchid are purple with pinkish hues. The petals are free and, in its labellum, you can appreciate a yellowish spot that makes it even more beautiful. They are epiphytic plants and some of the Mexican Cattleya orchid species are terrestrial (Order it here).

They propagate by insect pollination and the pseudobulbs store their nutrients for times of drought, this storage organ has a cylindrical shape and develops from its leaves. There are many species of Mexican Cattleya orchids so you can select your favorite.

One of the best-known Mexican Cattleya orchids is the skinneri, which has fleshy leaves and deep purple flowers. It is a medium-sized plant, found in humid forests where temperatures do not exceed 77°F (25°C).

cattleya mexican orchids

Masdevallia

Masdevallia is a genus of rare Mexican orchids, it has a variety of species that can be epiphytic, terrestrial, or semi-terrestrial class. It has the main flower of purple color and in the interior of the flower, you will be able to appreciate a varied tonality. They also have pseudobulbs, although these are smaller than those of other orchids.

One of the peculiarities of the Masdevallia is that its flowers have an elongated triangular shape that gives it a unique appearance, its blooms occur in early June through September and allows you to enjoy its beautiful flowers for a considerable time.

If you want a Mexican Masdevallia orchid you must adjust the temperatures, since they are plants that prefer cold climates, good lighting, and the right substrate for their development. One of the Mexican species of this genus that you can find is the reddish Masdevallia floribunda with white spots.

masdevallia orchid

Odontoglossum

Odontoglossum is another Mexican orchid species that you should know, it is mainly characterized by its elongated stem. For its correct development, it is necessary to take into account that when cultivating them we must look for a humid place with low temperatures.

There are many species of Odontoglossum orchids and Mexico is one of the places where we can appreciate this orchid. The flowers are pink with reddish tones and the pseudobulbs in these cases are reduced.

This orchid acquires this particular name due to the shape of its labellum, which has the appearance of teeth. Undoubtedly, an orchid that will surprise us in its flowering season, we recommend a Mexican Odontoglossum to cultivate. You will simply have to maintain a good percent of humidity, good light, and frequency of weekly irrigation.

odontoglossum orchids

Oncidium

Surely you have heard about Oncidium orchids or dancing orchids, they are characterized by their small and abundant yellow or orange flowers. It is one of the Mexican orchid species found in nurseries that do not require a lot of light intensity (Order it here).

They have one bloom per year, but the best thing about Oncidium orchids is that they have a long flowering period which makes them the perfect orchids for home decorations. We could not fail to mention the Mexican orchids of the Oncidium species, since they are currently one of the most sold orchids.

oncidium mexican orchids

Care of Mexican Orchids

The blooms of our orchids will depend on good care and cultivation, especially that they are adapted to their natural habitat. Therefore, if you want to have some Mexican orchids at home we explain all the care you should know about them:

How to Grow Mexican Orchids

Most Mexican orchids species are easy to grow as long as you do not choose a wild orchid.  Like other orchids, they require basic care, i.e. sunlight, humidity, watering, and from time to time the use of fertilizers that will provide the plant with the necessary nutrients.

For the cultivation of your Mexican orchids you must know what type of plant it belongs to, that is to say, if they are epiphytes or terrestrial since the pot and the substrate could vary. Also, according to the needs of the species, you should look for the right place and increase or decrease the frequency of watering.

Also, you should keep in mind that the substrate (Order it here) should be changed at least once a year, also, this must be of quality to allow proper drainage of water when watering your orchid and you must protect it from pests such as mites and aphids.

Learn more about How Often to Water Orchids and How to Repot Orchid Step by Step.

how to grow orchid