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Dracula or monkey orchid is an original and beautiful flower. It got its name due to the non-standard shape of the inflorescence, similar to the mouth of a small dragon.
The plant is rich in shades and can bloom year-round, so many growers want to grow it at home or in a greenhouse.
This article describes in detail the main stages of growing an orchid, provides useful recommendations for caring for a plant at home, fighting diseases and pests.
History of origin
Dracula refers to epiphytic flowers that grow, as a rule, on the bottom of tree trunks. The homeland of the plant is the forests of Central and South America. Dracula is located in mountainous areas with a height equal to one to two thousand meters above sea level.
The discoverer of the species is Benedict Roel. In 1870, researcher Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach from Germany first described the species of Dracula. The scientist was impressed by the shape of the orchid, and he called it a chimera. Originally, the flower varieties were assigned to the genus Masdevallia. In 1878, thanks to subsequent discoveries, they were separated. At the end of the nineteenth century, the orchid became a popular and valuable flower in European greenhouses.
Dracula specimens with short stems and rhizomes, long, arrow-shaped leaves of a green or dark green hue. The leaves, which have a spongy structure, can partly serve as pseudobulbs. Monkey orchid has a non-standard shape, its types differ in shape, shade and size.
All varieties of Dracula have three sepals, which are located at the base. They create an analogue of a bowl or hood.
The tips of the petals are directed outward, the outgrowths are often hairy. The core of the petals contains the lip. Peduncles in many species of the genus are single-flowered, they are straight or slightly drooping and rarely directed downward. The seeds are spindle-like, abundant and small in size. Some orchid species can bloom all year round. In nature, they are pollinated by insects, as well as some small rodents and bats.
How is it different from the rest?
Dracula is distinguished from other types of orchids by the absence of pseudobulbs - aboveground tubers. The life cycle of a plant does not imply a dormant period., which affects flowering.
Varieties: description and photo
It belongs to a monotypic subgenus and has one species - Dracula sodiroi.
It is a monotypic subgenus and has the species Dracula xenos.
Beautiful and lovely
Also called Bella. Flowers of a chocolate-crimson hue, the inner part of which is highlighted with a yellow glow. Some experts compare flowers to spiders. The lip is split in two, which distinguishes it from other orchid subspecies. Bella grows on trees and on the ground.
It is named after the one-eyed Cyclops from Homer's Odyssey. It has a spotted hood of lilac sepals and a pale lilac lip. Above the lip are small modified petals, between which there is an androecium.
Named after the mythological hero of Greece. In nature, it can often be found next to the chimera. It differs from the latter in fluffy pale hairs throughout the space of light pink petals with spots.
Sepals are rounded and accrete, the flowers are less speckled and the shade is paler than the typical species. The tails are short, about forty centimeters in diameter.
The flowers are smaller than the typical species. It has an orange spot in the center of the wreath and a white lip.
It is the most graceful of all types. Flowers are presented in a gray shade interspersed with chocolate color.
When and how?
With proper care Dracula is able to bloom at any time of the year several times.... Flowers do not need a dormant period and special conditions during the flowering period. In natural conditions, the plant blooms from June to August.
Dracula does not need special care before and during flowering. When the peduncle begins to fade, it is removed. If necessary, the plant is transplanted. To adapt the orchid, it is placed in dry soil.
Dracula belongs to the revolving bloom type. It is necessary to remove faded buds in time so that new flowers form on the peduncle.
What if it doesn't bloom?
Flowering can be activated by artificial temperature changes... At night, cool the temperature five to six degrees lower than during the day. From May to September, the orchid can be kept on the balcony. So, the plant will be given a natural drop in temperature at night. It is recommended to use artificial light in winter.
How to take care at home?
The flower grows well in the east or southeast in the presence of diffused light. If you place it in the north, then in winter you will need artificial lighting.
Preparing the soil and pot
Transparent plastic pots or wicker baskets are suitable for Dracula. Sphagnum moss is covered at the bottom, then a substrate, which consists of:
- chopped fern roots;
- pine bark;
The top layer usually contains moss, which retains moisture.
In extreme heat, the plant can wither and shed its buds. In summer, the temperature should be maintained up to 24 degrees Celsius, in cold weather - at least 12 degrees above zero. The maximum difference between temperatures during the day and at night is 5 degrees. In this case, the flower buds will be well formed.
Dracula needs high humidity, about 70-90%. To save the plant from fungi and bacteria, it is necessary to ventilate the room. It is not forbidden to use humidifiers or place a flower near a pallet with wet expanded clay. When heated, expanded clay will evaporate water and increase humidity.
The flower likes to be in the shade or partial shade. An excess of light can destroy a flower, since in nature it grows under the dense foliage of trees. The windows where the plant is located should be north, north-west or north-east. It is recommended to use artificial light sources, for example phytolamps.
The plant should be watered regularly... Experts recommend using soft, melted or filtered water. The abundance and frequency of watering is determined by the room temperature and the amount of light. The soil must be sufficiently moist. To avoid root decay, it is necessary to monitor the excessive moisture of the substrate. Excessively dry soil can lead to the death of roots.
The most suitable way to water the plant is to put the flowerpot in the water for 20-30 minutes so that the water completely floods the soil.
The orchid is fed during active growth. Fertilize the plant with a special agent intended for a flower.
At every third watering, fertilizing is added in a proportion of half that specified by the fertilizer manufacturer.
The monkey orchid does not require frequent replanting. With proper care, it is transplanted in the spring after active growth of greenery or before flowering.
Also, the plant must be transplanted when compaction, salinization of the soil or with strong root growth. In this case, the flower is divided into several parts, each with four to five developed processes.
We offer you to watch a video on how to properly transplant the Dracula orchid:
How to propagate?
For the reproduction of the orchid, the mother bush is divided into parts:
- Dracula is removed from the pot and the roots are cleaned.
- The plant is divided into shares with a disinfected instrument.
- The cut sites are disinfected with charcoal powder.
- Parts of a divided bush should have about 5 buds. They are planted in pre-selected containers.
The soil is no different from that used for planting adult orchids.
Diseases and pests
The orchid is prone to diseases and parasites:
- Thrips - the most dangerous insects for a flower. Dracula, struck by them, is difficult to recover.
- Whitefly often found in summer. She lays the larvae on the leaves of the flower. For treatment, use an infusion of calendula and clean the leaves with a cotton swab.
- Aphid sucks the juices from the plant. It is removed with a cotton swab previously moistened with soapy water.
- Shield cleaned with sunflower oil or dishwashing detergent.
- Fungus and mold may appear on the leaves as brown spots. In this case, Dracula is sprayed with a fungicide.
- Changing conditions is difficult for the plant. Therefore, it cannot be rearranged and changed by the parties.
- You should regularly ventilate the air at high humidity and low temperatures.
- Air conditioners, fans will help save the plant from microbial diseases.
- To avoid thrips, it is recommended to spray the orchid with garlic tincture.
- Short-term overdrying can lead to drying out of the flower. Dried Dracula is removed from the soil, dry roots and leaves are removed and placed in a glass of water with a submerged neck. When new roots appear, the flower is placed in the ground.
- When the roots decay, the orchid is taken out of the container, the rotten roots are removed, dipped in crushed coal and planted in new soil.
The Dracula Orchid is a demanding, rare and difficult flower to keep. It will take a lot of effort to grow it. With careful observance of the rules of caring for it, the plant will delight you with amazing flowers all year round.
We offer you to watch a video about the features of the plant and the rules for its cultivation: