What is a Bamboo Orchid?
Bamboo orchid (Arundina graminifolia) is a unique and beautiful flower found in tropical and subtropical areas of South East Asia. It can be identified by its multiple stalks and spikes, creamy white flowers and striking green foliage. The bamboo orchid, which is also known as bamboo lily or river lily, is a member of the arundinaceae family, a group of evergreen, tuberous, and rhizome adapted plants.
The Appearance of Bamboo Orchids
Bamboo orchids have short spikes which are attached to a single stem and bear five to seven lightly fragranced flowers. The flowers range from ivory white to pink and have rounded petals with a yellow center. The stem of the bamboo orchid can reach up to two feet in height and is typically covered in small flexible leaves. It is a perennial plant that grows from a young plant in the spring and will eventually reach a mature height of three to four feet.
Types of Bamboo Orchids
Bamboo orchids come in two varieties, Arundina graminifolia and Arundina graminilifolia. The main differences between the two are the pedicels, the flowering stalks, which are either branched or unbranched. Arundina graminifolia has branched pedicels while Arundina graminilifolia has unbranched. Both varieties can be found in the same areas of South East Asia and can often be found growing in the same area.
Growth Habits of Bamboo Orchids
Bamboo orchids typically grow in moist forest areas in Southeast Asia, however they can also be found growing in other humid tropical areas. The plants prefer bright filtered light, high humidity and warm temperatures. Once established, the plants are very slow growing and can take years to reach their full growth. Bamboo orchids usually reach a mature height of three to four feet after several years.
The Care Requirements of Bamboo Orchids
Bamboo orchids are relatively easy to care for and will thrive in well drained soils rich in organic matter. The plants should be given a slightly shaded or indirect area to grow in and should not be over exposed to direct sunlight as this can cause the flowers to burn. Water should be provided only when the soil is dry, about once a week. However, in the summer months it can be necessary to water more frequently. Fertilizer should be given every two to three months using a balanced fertilizer solution which should be applied at half strength.
Common Bamboo Orchid Pests and Diseases
Bamboo orchids are relatively resistant to diseases, however they can be affected by various pests and infections. The most common pest infestations are mites and aphids, which just need to be treated with an insecticidal soap or spray. Fungal diseases may occur too, particularly if the soil is constantly wet, and these will require fungicidal treatment.
Bamboo Orchids in Cultivation
Bamboo orchids are quite a popular flower in the home garden. This is due to their unique and slightly exotic appearance as well as their relative ease of care. They make an excellent addition to any garden, especially if they are placed in front of a wall or trellis, and are often used to create a privacy screen in a garden. Bamboo orchids are also popular in commercial landscaping and can be used to add visual interest to large outdoor areas.
Overall, bamboo orchids are a striking and unique flower which can add color and texture to any garden or outdoor area. Bamboo orchids are relatively easy to care for and will thrive in the correct environment. They do, however, require regular monitoring for pests and diseases. So for anyone looking for an attractive, easy to care for and somewhat exotic flower, then the bamboo orchid is the perfect choice.
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