Dracula vampira orchid is native to the cloud forests of Ecuador and is quite popular among orchid enthusiasts for its unique and striking flowers.
It belongs to the Dracula genus, which means ‘little dragon.’ This species resembles a hooded vampire, hence the name Dracula vampira.
We have created for you the perfect care and culture guide for Dracula vampira.
What Is Dracula Vampira?
Dracula vampira is an epiphytic and a terrestrial orchid. The Dracula genus has over 120 species found in South American countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru. Half of these species are found in Ecuador alone. Carlyle A. Luer described the orchid first in 1978.
Dracula vampira functions pretty much like vampires. It does not like to dry out, does not enjoy too much light, and grows well in cooler temperatures. This is the reason why it is called the Dracula vampira.
Some of its common names are the Vampire-like Dracula, the Black orchid, and Masdevallia vampira.
Size and Growth
Dracula vampira is a large epiphytic orchid that grows on mossy trees in mountainous jungles. It has short rhizomes, and its stems grow in a horizontal and downward manner. It is a large orchid and does not grow in soil. It grows 7 to 14 inches tall.
Dracula vampira has erect leaves that are 6 to 11 inches long and 1.5 to 2 inches wide.
Dracula vampira is famous for its captivating blooms. The blooms are large and distinct orchids that bloom during winter. If they bloom in summer, the flowers are going to be much smaller.
The flower spikes usually point towards the ground and grow downward. The labellum resembles a mushroom and attracts flies. The sepals are rounded with a thin tail that gets 5 to 6 inches long and has dark purple-colored veins with the tail almost black.
The white petals have purple veins, and the lip has pinkish veins. The bright flowers come in shades of red, black, yellow, and orange.
Dracula vampira orchid does not have pseudobulbs like other orchids. So it is vital to keep its roots moist and water them when needed. In its natural habitat, the roots absorb water and attach themselves to the branches tightly and get the nutrients from the water and debris that falls.
If you order this orchid online, water it as soon as you receive it because it hates to dry out. Water the roots thoroughly to bring the plant back in a stable condition.
Dracula Vampira Culture and Care: Its Growth Requirements
Dracula vampira grows well in fully shaded areas receiving indirect light. They do not like direct sunlight. A spot receiving dim light with shade and no direct sunlight is the ideal location for this orchid. If you are keeping it indoors, keep it in an east or west-facing window.
If your orchid is not blooming, but the plant looks healthy, it probably needs more light. Shift it to a brighter spot to initiate blooming. If the leaves have brown edges and start to turn yellow, it means that your orchid is getting too much light. Too much light causes sunburn and will kill your orchid if you do not move it to a shaded area.
Dracula vampira never like to dry out. So do not let the soil mix dry out entirely in between the waterings. Keep the soil medium moist at all times by watering abundantly. Since they do not have any way to store water, they can die in a few hours.
These orchids can dry out quite fast in summer, so keep the watering frequency high. Water twice a day during summer if it is too dry and once a day in winter.
If you water your orchid with water that has high salt content, its tips will turn black. They need RO water all the time. The high chloride content in water can also kill this orchid.
If your orchid is suspended or mounted, you may have to water several times a day. At the same time, do not overwater and let your orchid sit in damp conditions for extended periods because it leads to root rot.
If you are looking for a cool-growing orchid to grow, Dracula vampira is the one for you. It is an excellent grower and does not like heat at all. It blooms during the winter months and struggles in summer.
If you have a greenhouse, keep these orchids in a chilly and humid spot with less light. Unlike most other orchids, it slows down during summer and comes back to bloom in winter. If you take the blooming orchid out to warmer spots, its flowers will start to wilt.
Dracula vampira grows well in an average daytime temperature between 68 and 78 Fahrenheit and an average nighttime temperature of 50 to 55 Fahrenheit. Moderately cold temperatures work the best.
It cannot handle extreme temperature fluctuations. So keep the temperature stable around your orchid. If the temperature gets too high, you will need to water it more frequently, and if you forget to water it, it will be damaged or die.
Dracula vampira loves a mossy soil medium. Mix eight parts sphagnum moss with two parts of barks chips and perlite. Adding perlite helps in keeping the medium well-draining.
A plastic mesh pot or basket works well for its growth because it provides aeration to the roots. But the orchid will dry out faster in this case. So keep the watering frequency high. They also grow well in hanging baskets with high humidity.
Dracula vampira needs high humidity levels to thrive. Mist the orchid as often as you can. If you can keep the humidity level up, it can be a rewarding orchid. But without humidity, they would not bloom. On average, these orchids need 70 to 75 percent humidity throughout the year. Use humidifiers and humidity trays to keep humidity high.
Dracula vampira is not a heavy fertilizer feeder. If you fertilize it too frequently, its tips will begin to turn black. During the growing period, apply one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose on a balanced orchid fertilizer.
Fertilize once in two weeks and in between two feedings; make sure to wash the plant with plain water to avoid salt accumulation. Applying the fertilizer once a month also works equally well for its growth.
Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer from spring to late summer and shift to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer during autumn and winter.
Repotting Dracula Vampira
Repotting is required every 9 to 12 months when either the plant has taken over the pot or the substrate has started to decompose.
If you do not repot at the right time and let your orchid sit in an old soil medium, the soil mix will begin to deteriorate and decay. Ultimately, you will notice the roots die. So it is crucial to repot when the plant is still healthy.
To remove the plant from the pot, make sure that its roots are moist so that it is easier to take them out without breaking. After taking it out from the pot, gently untangle the roots. You will end up cutting or breaking a few roots, but that is perfectly fine.
Once you have untangled the roots, give the plant a good drench in water to remove old soil mix left, if any. Take a mixture of sphagnum moss, bark chips, and perlite and mix them. Mist the mix with some water to make it moist.
Now in a plastic mesh pot, fill it half with the mix. Wrap some of the soil mix around the plant roots making a mound-like structure. Now place the plant in the middle and adjust accordingly. Give your orchid a good watering, and it is ready.
While untangling the roots, you can propagate it by root division, provided that your plant has a lot. Divide the plant into two or three parts and plant them separately in different pots or slabs. This method will give the mother plant space to promote new root growth.
Dracula vampira is the most popular orchid belonging to the Dracula genus. It is one of the fascinating orchids and a must-have if you can keep up with its requirements.
Here are all the points you need to take care of before beginning the cultivation of Dracula vampira.
- Dracula vampira is an epiphytic orchid native to Ecuador and some other countries of South America.
- It can reach a height of 7 to 14 inches with erect leaves and large and striking flowers.
- It blooms during winter in cooler temperatures in low light and high humidity.
- It grows well in full shade. It does not like bright light, similar to a vampire.
- Keep the soil mix moist at all times. It can die within hours if left dry.
- Fo substrate, use a mix of sphagnum moss, bark chips, and perlite to keep it moist and well-draining.
- They enjoy high humidity levels above 70 percent throughout the year.
- It does not enjoy frequent fertilization; once in 2 weeks with an orchid fertilizer works well.
- Repot your orchid every 9 to 12 months when it has taken over the entire pot or basket, or the substrate starts to decompose.
- You can propagate the orchid by dividing the roots while shifting it to another pot or basket.
Now you have all the information about this dramatic orchid; it is time to get one of these fascinating beauties for yourself! We are sure this gothic Black orchid will captivate you with its incredible flowers.
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