Over the years, I’ve looked at lots of pictures of Stanhopeas to try to figure them out. It’s easy to see that the blossoms are large, showy, and unusual. It’s harder to make sense of their incredible shapes. They could be fantastic birds, weird bugs, or strange humanoids. So if these photos leave you somewhat mystified, you’re not alone.

Stanhopea flower, side viewStanhopea flower from frontStanhopea flower, looking down at column and lip

These flowers don’t last long, only 2 or 3 days. They have a strong, sweet fragrance. Blooms descend from the bottom of the plant. That’s not a problem when growing as epiphytes, but in cultivation, Stanhopeas require a basket or mount. They need fairly bright light, heavy water, regular fertilizer, and winter dormancy. I haven’t been able to grow them myself (the first 6 photos are from the Conservatory of Flowers, 2 are from local orchid shows, and the last one is from Phipps Conservatory.)  Most are large plants, and they’re best suited for growers with a greenhouse, or those who can keep them outdoors in tropical areas.

Close up of Stanhopea column and lipStanhopea flower side viewStanhopea flower side view

Different Stanhopea varieties below show more diversity in the family. They’re native to Central and South American rainforests, from Mexico south to Brazil. Most types want intermediate temps, but there are also warm and cool growers. If these flowers have left you a little befuddled, explore more Stanhopea photos online, and maybe you can figure them out.

Stanhopea flower buds emerging from bottom of plantStanhopea flower, partially openStanhopea flowers at Phipps Conservatory

Explore posts in the same categories: Fragrant Orchids, Growing, Intermediate Growers, Photos, Watering

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7 Comments on “Stanhopea”

  1. Cindy F Says:

    How bizarre!! They are very strange flowers indeed. I love the curves of the petals. The shots with rain on the flowers are really nice too. Thanks so much for sharing these photos. They’re so pretty!!

  2. nancy Says:

    Thanks for the great photos! I agree they’re really strange orchids. I’ve never been able to see them in real life or smell their fragrance, but I hear it’s heavenly!

  3. Mara Dempsey Says:

    Wow, I really love that photo showing the flower buds coming out of the bottom of the plant! They look like they could be Christmas lights.

  4. Anna Baum Says:

    Beautiful pictures. What strange flowers! I’ve never heard of this kind before.

  5. matt90 Says:

    Thenk you very much

  6. Elyza Says:

    I’m shocked about those flowers. They look like they just cannot be natural. this makes me wonder if there is an intelligent design behind them.

  7. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Bees Don’t Really Need Orchids Says:

    […] Many tropical species like Stanhopeas and Cycnoches rely on their perfumes to attract amorous male bees as pollinators. […]