The Dracula Genus (Monkey Orchid)

One of the most recognizable genus of orchids around, the Dracula genus is made up of nearly 120 different species, which hail from Mexico, Central America, and Peru, among others.

The genus is characterized by long spurs coming from the sepals of the flower, and the crimson flowers in several species, which look like the exact shade of blood.

Dracula Orchids At A Glance

Dracula or monkey orchids are terrestrial and epiphytic orchids, which means that some grow in the ground, and others are found growing on other plants.

The most well-known orchids within this genus are those which look like the faces of monkeys, demonstrating just one of the ways in which nature can be so curious, especially in a plant family as diverse as the orchid family.

Dracula Orchid Name Origin

The genus name comes from the fictional character Dracula, whose name means little dragon in Latin.

It refers to the unsettling image that these orchids can create, especially the ones which are the color of blood, and the spurs which look a little like teeth.

It’s worth knowing that the term monkey orchid doesn’t just apply to those within the Dracula genus, but it also refers to other orchids which have flowers with similar markings that remind us of monkeys.

If you’re unsure, always look for the scientific name to prevent any confusion, and this will tell you exactly which plant it is, and also give you the right care requirements for the right plant.

Dracula Orchid Symbolism

These striking flowers can make your imagination run away with you, and so the symbolism is pretty interesting.

Probably unsurprisingly, Dracula orchids represent absolute power, a great deal of authority, death, evil, and corruption, like Dracula himself.

Dracula Orchid Growing Requirements

Dracula orchids can be grown in USDA zones 9 through to 11, though they are certainly not for beginners.

They can reach a maximum of two feet tall.

The blooms come in red, burgundy, purple, lilac, white, and yellow, and can bloom at different times of the year, depending on the species as well as the growing conditions.

Like most orchids, they need indirect light, and Dracula orchids like partial sunlight. 

They require specialist orchid compost, which drains freely, and stays at least somewhat damp.

These delicate plants also require plenty of humidity to replicate their natural habitats.

Unlike most orchids, Dracula orchids prefer cooler temperatures than you would think.

It’s important to note that it’s very rare to see these plants in cultivation.

This is not only due to their rarity, but also because it can be difficult to mimic the conditions that they naturally grow in, as they are found at high altitudes between 5250 and 8200 feet.

You may only be able to get them as seeds, but even then you must be careful, as they may not even be the right species, or have been sourced responsibly. To avoid both problems, only purchase seeds from reputable sellers, rather than the first seller you see.

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