Black orchid, a unique plant

Masdevallia rolfeana is the scientific name of the plant known as black orchida very particular variety of this species that is native to Costa Rica and arouses the attention of gardeners and botanical experts because the plant grows on another vegetable independently, without “taking away or infecting” anything, simply using it as a base.

The plants that fulfill this characteristic are epiphytic plants and the black orchid is one of them. Here we tell you how it is and what its care is.

Characteristics of the black orchid

If you have the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and walk through its cloud forests, you may find a beautiful black orchid, as particular as it is enigmatic. This usually grows on tree trunks using them as a solid base. It is a small variety that presents an erect stem that is wrapped with pods.

The inflorescence varies from 1 to 3 successive flowers and they are always shorter than the leaves. The most striking thing about its flowers is the color of its petals, a garnet so dark that it appears black. The center of the flower, on the other hand, is tinged with yellows and purples and thus the plant achieves worldwide fame for its beauty and uniqueness. Flowering occurs from fall to spring although only once a year.

Needs to grow in a tropical-cool humid climate. The black orchid is well known for its peculiarities, both in terms of the way it grows and its morphological characteristics.

Other types of black orchids

Although the Masdevallia rolfeana It is the easiest to find for sale, the truth is that there are other species that share that common name because they produce black or almost black flowers. Since we want you to know them all, we are going to show you and talk a little about them:

Cymbidium cv Kiwi Midnight

There are Cymbidiums that produce black flowers, such as the Kiwi Midnight variety

Cymbidium cv Kiwi Midnight is a cultivar of Cymbidium. It is a terrestrial plant, which produces leaves 60 centimeters high. The flowers are grouped in clusters of up to 90 centimeterseach measuring about 5-7 centimeters in diameter.

Dendrobium sooty

The Dendrobium sooty it is an epiphytic orchid endemic to New Guinea that reaches a height of about 50 centimeters. The leaves are linear, 10-20 centimeters by 3-4 millimeters, and its flowers are grouped in clusters. These are about 2 centimeters wide, and they are fragrant.

the dracula of roezlii

The dracula roezlli It is a small, epiphytic orchid that we will find in Ecuador. It develops elliptical, erect and slightly leathery green leaves. Its flowers appear grouped, and measure up to 3 centimeters.

Vampire Dracula

The vampire Dracula is a type of black orchid

The Vampire Dracula It is an epiphytic and small orchid native to Ecuador. The leaves are elliptical, erect and somewhat leathery. The flowers are grouped in basal inflorescencesusually hanging, and each measure about 2-3 centimeters.

Miltonioides leucomelas

The Miltonioides leucomelas (Synonym of Oncidium leucomelas) is a terrestrial orchid endemic to Guatemala. Its leaves are elongated and thin. Its flowers are smalland are grouped in long inflorescences.

Paphiopedilum cv Stealth

There are many types of black orchids, and they are all tropical plants.

The Paphiopedilum cv Stealth is a cultivar of Paphiopedilum, a genus of terrestrial orchids that produce long leaves of up to 30 centimeters and slipper-shaped flowers up to 3 centimeters.

Paphiopedilum vinicolor ‘Black Velvet’

The Paphiopedilum vinicolor ‘Black Velvet’ is a cultivar of Paphiopedilum. It is a terrestrial orchid that develops creeping stems from which leaves sprout approximately 30 centimeters long. The flowers are about 3 centimeters long, and are shaped like a slipper.

Tolumnia henekenii

Tolumnia henekenii is a species of black orchid

The Tolumnia henekenii (before Oncidium henekenii) is a terrestrial orchid native to the Caribbean that develops long, thin, green leaves. The flowers are small but they sprout grouped in inflorescences.

Growing and caring for black orchids

Ideal climate

If you want to grow black orchids, the ideal is to replicate the conditions of the forests in which they live wild. That is why it will be necessary to have them in a place with partial shade, and temperatures between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Moisture and irrigation

Sprayers are ideal for spraying water on plants

They need a certain humidity so that they must be watered regularly with rainwater or suitable for human consumption. In addition, it is interesting that if they are outside, the leaves are sprayed so that they are always humid (indoors it is better to get a humidifier or put glasses of water around them, since otherwise their leaves could be damaged).


The substrate to use it will depend on whether they are epiphytic or terrestrial orchids. In the first case, the pot will be filled with pine bark (for sale here!), but if not, it will be better to fill it with coconut fiber mixed with 30% perlite.


You can fertilize them in spring with a specific fertilizer for orchidsfollowing the manufacturer’s instructions. It is important that you do not add more than the indicated amount, otherwise its roots will burn and you could lose the black orchids.


They are frost sensitive plants. Some, like Masdevallia rolfeanaIt can bear the cold, but it is better if the temperature does not drop below 10ºC at any time.

What is the meaning of the black orchid?

Black is a color that has always been associated with the negative, such as death, depression, pain. Nevertheless, the black orchid is more associated with power and authority. As it is a color that is not commonly found in living and healthy plants, black is considered to be mysterious, powerful and of course unique.

So if you can get one, and place it inside your home in a corner of the garden, it will surely attract a lot of attention.

Do you like black orchids?

Black orchid, a unique plant

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