The Stanhopea culture blog has been started to encourage the horticultural practices of growing and enjoying the orchid genus Stanhopea, and other related genera. This blog focuses on experiences, questions, and concerns regarding Stanhopea horticulture. I have been growing these orchids outdoors and in lath houses for the last 19 years in southern California.
Stanhopeas are rather easy to grow and bloom under standard garden conditions in my region, as long as water and shade are provided to them. Several species easily grow outdoors including the rather showy S. tigrina, S. oculata, and S. wardii. Several of the so called “primitive” hornless Stanhopeas don’t perform well outdoors in southern California (e.g., S. annulata and S.pulla), and also members of the Stanhopea candida group. These other species prefer warmer growing conditions of the tropics or a greenhouse.
Stanhopeas are native to Mexico through South America. Several species grow in mountain regions of Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia that are often subjected to lower night temperatures from 45-55 F. This may account for the ability of these species to tolerate the cooler night temperatures in southern California along the coast. These orchids also tolerate higher summer temperatures of 80-95 F in the summer as long as they are provided extra water (sometimes every day if the temperatures are above 90F). These orchids thrive in part to full shade throughout the year, thus preventing discoloration and burning of the leaves.
Try growing a Stanhopea in your garden, it will reward you with exotic summer/fall blooms every year!