Stanhopeas

The following information briefly explains some of the cultural genus, care and dividing Stanhopeas. The full articles linked here can be located on the OSCOV website.

stanhopea spindieriana tigrinaxoculitaAbove image: stanhopea spindieriana tigrinaxoculita grown by SSOS member John Portelli

There are over 45 species of the genus Stanhopea found in widely diverse climates within their range from Mexico to Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru, Bolivia and the southern and Stanhopea species are found in four different regions, namely, North Central America (Guatemala and Mexico), South Central America (Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama), the Andes and NE South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela) and SE South America (Brazil). Those found in North Central America prefer light shade, dry conditions and a fairly low minimum temperature (8-12°C). Commonly grown species include Stanhopea oculata, S. inodora and S. tigrina, including its variety nigroviolacea (often known as S. nigroviolacea), and S. wardii. For further information read the article: The Genus Stanhopea by Paul Carver

In an article by Bill Mather on Stanhopeas he writes: “Some stanhopea species are quite variable in colour and markings. The species most commonly benched in Melbourne are S. nigroviolacea, S. tigrina and S. wardii. The flowers of S. tigrina are larger and the tiger stripes are made up of an aggregation of red spots. The red spots on the flowers of S. nigroviolacea are randomly distributed on the tepals and the base of these cream-coloured segments is covered by an intense “bull’s-blood” red. S. wardii has 5-10 medium-sized, golden flowers covered with fine red spots with a conspicuous eye spot at the base of the lip”.

  • Mather’s article draws on an excellent book, Those Astonishing Stanhopeas, published in 1998 by Barney Greer, who resides in Sydney and who is internationally recognised as an authority on the genus Stanhopea.

When it comes to Dividing Stanhopeas, Brian Milligan suggests: “Two of my large stanhopea species failed to flower well this summer. Not surprising, really, as they hadn’t been re-potted for about ten years, and their baskets were full of back-bulbs! I hadn’t bothered to re-pot while they continued to flower well but obviously the time had arrived when re-potting was essential. The main reason that I’d delayed this task was that many of the new growths had made their way between the struts of the wire basket, and large parts of the plant were growing outside the confines of the baskets. The only way to remove these plants without damage was first to dismantle the basket, using bolt cutters. An expensive exercise, if I hadn’t taken advantage of the council’s recent “hard rubbish” collection day to acquire several wire baskets that less frugal fellow residents had discarded! Next I needed to acquire suitable material to line the new baskets. Again, this was accomplished at no expense, thanks to the council’s generosity in providing several paperbark trees in a nearby street! These trees shed their outermost layers of bark in summer, and you can easily find the odd sheet lying on the nature strip. If you intend to strip a piece from the tree, perhaps you should do it at night, when you’re less easily recognised by the neighbours!” Read his full article: Dividing Stanhopeas by Brian Milligan

  • For photos of Stanhopeas see our Stanhopea photo page.

For further information on Stanhopeas refer to the page on the Orchid Societies Council of Victoria (OSCOV) Website under the section Articles.

  • For further information about orchid care at Southern Suburbs Orchid Society (SSOS) or membership enquiries, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

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