Hyacinth Orchid

Here on the California coast, the winter chill helps to create a perfect home for this unusual Arpophyllum.┬áTall spikes with small purple flowers give this species its nickname, the Hyacinth Orchid. It blooms reliably on our back deck in late autumn, and usually stays in flower for a couple months over winter. This season’s blooms took a bit of a beating during heavy rains last month, but fortunately, Dave captured them in their prime. For now, the last of this plant’s flower clusters are still holding up outdoors.

Arpophyllum flower spikesThis Arpophyllum species is also known as the Hyacinth OrchidArpophyllum flowers close up

The Hyacinth Orchid is native to cloud forests of southern Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Colombia, and Jamaica. Its care needs are similar to Cattleyas, but it tolerates much cooler temps. In fact, it needs cool winter nights to bloom. San Francisco growers who can give provide some full sun, regular water, fertilizer, and good humidity can grow specimen plants outdoors. The long, strap shaped leaves can stretch more than 2 feet (61 cm,) but this plant isn’t that big (yet!) These flower spikes stand as tall as 8 inches (20 cm,) but I’ve seen larger ones at orchid shows.

Arpophyllum flowers emerging from its protective sheathArpophyllum flowersArpophyllum flowers close up

Related to Cattleyas and Epidendrums, these unusual flowers do resemble other orchids, just upside down. The lip of the flower is on top. Dozens of these small blooms spiral around each spike, making the Hyacinth Orchid a bright spot in our winter garden.

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

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3 Comments on “Hyacinth Orchid”

  1. canalhas2035 Says:

    great pics…awesome blog to read…i enjoyed reading. keep posting.

  2. Jordan19 Says:

    I grow lots of the little cool-growing Pleurothallids. This looks like a bigger companion to those but it will never fit in my space. Tempting anyway!

  3. johnb174 Says:

    Hello! I really like this plant! Very, very good pics!