Bulbophyllum Lobbii is a beautiful orchid native to Southeast Asia and some parts of India. It is a great orchid for starters as it is not too high-maintenance and only needs the usual orchid care.
Read the ultimate grow and care guide to learn all about this lovely orchid.
What Is Bulbophyllum Lobbii?
Bulbophyllum Lobbii is an epiphytic orchid found growing in India and Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Bulbophyllum genus and Orchidaceae family.
Some of its common names are Lobb’s Bulbophyllum, the Thailand Bulbophyllum, the Sumatran Bulbophyllum, and Bulbophyllum Henshallii. It was named after the plant hunter Thomas Lobb, who brought it from Java to England in 1846.
– Size and Growth
Bulbophyllum Lobbii is a small to medium-sized, unifoliate orchid that can reach a height of up to 12 inches. It has monopodial growth meaning that it grows upward from a single point. It has well-spaced pseudobulbs that have a sheath splitting into yellow fibers. The pseudobulbs are about 10 inches long. Pseudobulbs are the organs storing water and nutrients.
In their natural habitats, Bulbophyllum orchids grow on top of trees and sometimes on rocks as lithophytes. They are found growing in the forests lying at an elevation of 2500 to 3000 feet.
The pseudobulbs carry a single apical, leathery leaf. Sometimes the leaves may turn yellow due to exposure to very bright light, but that should not be a concern. When the exposure to light is low, the leaves are a dark green shade.
The Bulbophyllum flower blooms on a 6 inches long inflorescence. The flowers have a diameter of 3 to 4 inches. The flowers have three petals surrounded by three sepals and a movable lip. The petals are sharp with a light yellow color and covered with purple and red dots and dashed lines. Depending on the variety, the flowers can become quite large. The color varies from light yellow to dark red. Interestingly, the flowers close at night.
The lip, called labellum, helps in attracting the pollinators. It is hinged and bobs up and down in the breeze. These blooms are pollinated by flies.
Bulbophyllum Lobbii is an epiphytic orchid and produces aerial roots sometimes. As long as you keep the aerial roots hydrated, there would not be much of a problem. Like other epiphytic orchids, aerial roots of Bulbophyllum orchids derive moisture and nutrients from the air. The plant roots do not go too deep into the soil. The plant has a shallow root system.
Bulbophyllum Lobbii Care
Bulbophyllum Lobbii is cultivated most of the time in a pot. Some smaller varieties are mounted. Since it does not get too big too soon, it is a great plant to keep indoors. Read all about Bulbophyllum culture below.
Bulbophyllum Lobbii needs bright, filtered light to grow well. Keep it in a shaded spot where it receives bright light throughout the day. Exposure to direct sunlight can cause leaf burns. It can easily tolerate morning and evening sunlight, but avoid the afternoon sun at all times. A south-facing window receiving curtain-filtered sunlight is a great spot to keep these orchids.
Bulbophyllum Lobbii hates to be dry for a long time. On the contrary, it likes the soil to be moist at all times. If your plant is mounted and has many aerial roots, you will have to mist or water it almost daily to keep it happy. Do not let the soil mix go bone dry, especially during the growing season.
If your plant is planted in a pot, water it three to five times depending on the humidity conditions in your area. Reduce the watering frequency in winter to about once a week or once every two weeks. As no new growth happens during the winter months, the plant’s growth requirements are also reduced.
– Soil Mix
Use a loose, well-draining potting mix to grow Bulbophyllum orchids. Fast-drying soil mixes such as sphagnum moss, bark chips, and perlite work well for its growth. Use a mix of bark chips and perlite or a mix of tree fern fiber and perlite. Using tree fern is better than bark, because the first does not decompose as fast as bark.
Since these orchids have high water requirements during the summer, use a soil medium that retains a lot of water. People also grow these orchids mounted on wood. But a mounted setup will need very frequent watering.
The roots of Bulbophyllum Lobbii do not go very deep into the soil. For this reason, you should use shallow pots and trays to grow them. The shallow trays work well for areas that are not super hot or super dry.
You may also keep these orchids in just bark chips or sphagnum moss, depending on what suits you the best with your watering behavior.
Maintaining an appropriate temperature is crucial for this plant’s growth. Bulbophyllum Lobbii is a hot to warm-growing orchid. It needs an average daytime temperature of 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and an average nighttime temperature of 57 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature difference between day and night helps in initiating blooms. The plant can tolerate small fluctuations in the temperatures easily.
Avoid keeping the plant in very hot temperatures because it would not bloom well. Exposure to high temperatures hampers plant’s health. The higher the temperature, the higher should be the watering frequency and vice versa.
Bulbophyllum Lobbii needs a humidity level of 75 to 80 percent throughout the year. Avoid placing the plant in a spot with lower humidity levels than 50 percent.
If the air gets too dry, keep humidifiers and humidity trays around the plant. Mist the plant every day if it is mounted. Keep the air moving around the roots to avoid fungal growth and root rot. An airy spot under the trees, where the plant can receive a balance of air and water, will keep it healthy.
Fertilize your orchid once a week with one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose on a liquid orchid fertilizer. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer from early spring to mid-summer and a phosphorus-rich one from mid-summer to fall. Using appropriate fertilizer at the right time helps the plant in producing flowers.
Reduce the frequency of fertilization in the fall and eliminate it during the winter months. The plant is almost dormant in winter and does not show any new growth. Resume regular fertilizing from early spring.
Bulbophyllum orchids need repotting when they have outgrown and creep out of the existing pots. These orchids are fast growers and produce multiple pseudobulbs per year. So, shifting the plant to a bigger pot in a new soil medium becomes crucial.
You can use tree fern fiber so that frequent repotting is not required. It does not decompose too fast and takes years before it is completely decayed. Early spring, when new growth begins to develop, is the ideal time to shift the plant in a new pot. The pleasant weather gives the plant ample time to adjust to the new surroundings and start new growth.
To repot, first remove the old soil medium and cut off the dead roots. While removing the dead soil, be mindful not to hurt the plant roots. Be gentle and ensure not to damage too many roots. Sphagnum moss is easy to remove but if the orchid is big, it might take some time.
In the new pot, put some sphagnum moss at the bottom. Sphagnum moss retains extra moisture and will keep your plant roots from rotting. The extra moisture retained by moss helps in providing the plant with moisture when you forget to water it. On top, you can add a mixture of bark chips and perlite. Place the plant in the new soil mix and let it sit in a shaded spot for a few days before shifting it to the final location.
Collect Bulbophyllum Lobbii seeds when the plant matures and sow them as soon as possible after removing them. Propagating from seeds could be tough, so we recommend plant division over seed propagation.
Bulbophyllum Lobbii is a great orchid to have if you are falling short on space. It does not get too big and grows well in shallow pots. It is a perfect windowsill plant.
Now that you know all about this orchid, let us sum up everything we have learned so far.
- Bulbophyllum Lobbii is an epiphytic orchid endemic to South and Southeast Asia.
- It prefers bright, filtered light throughout the day to grow well.
- Water your plant frequently during the growing season and reduce it as winter approaches.
- Use a loose and fast-drying soil medium to plant your orchid. A mix of sphagnum moss and bark chips works well as a potting mix.
- It is a hot to warm-growing orchid and grows fine in temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The diurnal temperature fluctuation helps the plant to initiate flowering.
- It needs high humidity above 70 percent to bloom properly.
- Fertilize the orchid weekly during the active growing season and slow down in winter.
- Repot your orchid when it has outgrown the old pot and the roots start to come out of the pot.
We hope our comprehensive guide has helped you put in the right direction about this orchid’s care and cultivation.