Often I like to point out that many orchids are easy to grow, but some varieties deserve their difficult reputations. For example, this purple and white Comparettia ranks as one of the fussier members of the orchid family. It may resemble a simple Oncidium, but don’t be fooled. Cultivating these blooms takes some work.

Comparettia flowersComparettia flowerComparettia flowers side view

This Comparettia species is native to Colombia, where it usually grows as an air plant on the branches of guava trees. They’re tough to keep in cultivation, demanding constant high humidity and good air movement. When I first bought this plant, it started to shrink rather than grow. I experimented by varying light and temperature conditions, but its new leaves and roots kept dying.

Comparettia flower close upComparettia flowers side viewComparettia flower lip close up

Finally, I placed the plant in very high humidity, up to 90%. Many orchid varieties would rot from the excessive moisture, but this Comparettia began to grow and thrive. With some patience, I was rewarded with these colorful blooms. As an interesting contrast to the purple polka dots on front, the flowers are white on back. They’re a reward that’s worth the effort.

Comparettia flower back viewComparettia flowers side view, showing nectar spurComparettia flower close up

Water plants marked by the post-its in front & back rooms.

Explore posts in the same categories: Intermediate Growers, Mini Orchids, Photos, Problems

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5 Comments on “Comparettia”

  1. Rob Says:

    Hi. Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  2. nancy Says:

    HOw delightful! I love your photos every time.

  3. mo8kn Says:

    How do you grow these! I cannot keep mine alive for very long. Lovely photographs, thanks for sharing.

  4. Linda W18 Says:

    Wonderful snapshots!!! This article is a great help to me! Thank you!

  5. Ashley Says:

    How do you make a blog look this cool!? thanks!