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Dracula Orchids

Dracula Orchids

General Information

The genus Dracula are commonly known as the “monkey faced” orchids due to the way their flowers resemble primates! These cryptic species are native to parts of South and Central America, with a large majority of the species being found in high elevation cloud forests in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. 

Care Guide

These orchids are generally suitable for more knowledgeable and advanced orchid collectors, as their needs differ from a majority of other plant species, including other more commonly kept orchids in cultivation such as Phalaenopsis.


Perhaps the easiest part in regards to their care, Dracula orchids are low light plants that true to their namesake, do best away from bright sunlight. They usually produce bigger blooms and grow better under low light so if you have an area that doesn’t get too much light, these might be suitable for you. Grow lights work fine under low-medium intensity as well.


Absolute moisture lovers. Draculas are thirsty orchids that appreciate staying moist at all times with some light drying but do not let them dry out fully. Their roots are known to quickly shrivel and dry up if allowed to dry fully for too long. As with many species in the Pleurothallid orchid alliance, pure water works best such as distilled or rainwater. Water with too many minerals often results in the plant sulking and the roots and leaves showing signs of burning. Potting mixes should consist of moisture retentive media such as new zealand sphagnum moss and can be mixed with fine bark or perlite for more airflow due to the risk of rot if kept without ventilation at the roots.


Another important factor for cultivating Dracula orchids is humidity. Hailing from high elevation cloud forests, their natural habitat is always constantly foggy and moist. Aim for an ideal humidity of at least 80%. 60%-70% will suffice as well. They usually won’t adapt or grow properly in low humidity and slowly wither away if kept too dry. 


One of the reasons why Draculas are so difficult is due to their temperature needs. As they come from high elevations, they are adapted to grow in cooler climates. While their daytime temperatures can be on the intermediate to warm side, it is crucial to give them a proper cooldown at night to grow properly and bloom. Aim for a temperature range of around 20-25 C during the daytime and 10-15 C at night. Some species are more tolerant of warmth than others and there are some that can grow in the intermediate-warm range just fine. Others however are strictly adapted to cool temperatures. Here are a few examples for a variety of temperature ranges.

Cool Growers (Usually found in elevations of at least 2000 m and above)

-Dracula marsupialis

-Dracula ophioceps

-Dracula deltoidea

-Dracula nosferatu

Intermediate Growers (Found in elevations of around 1000-1500 m, might not grow as well in true warm temperatures but will tolerate them)

-Dracula gigas

-Dracula hirtzii

-Dracula bella

-Dracula saulii

Warm Growers (Found in elevations below 1000 m, these species can grow in warm temps and are suitable for those who cannot consistently provide a large drop in temperature at night)

-Dracula lotax

-Dracula cordobae

-Dracula mopsus

-Dracula rezekiana


Dracula are sympodial orchids that grow along a rhizome, unlike orchids such as Phalaenopsis that are monopodial and grow vertically from a main growth point. You can split the rhizome to propagate these orchids if they are large enough to do so. 

Common Issues

Due to them requiring both high humidity and being kept moist, it is easy to rot Draculas if they don’t have adequate airflow. These species should also be potted in full slotted net pots or baskets as their flower spikes often grow downwards and as such, will need to be kept hanging as well to display the blooms properly. Low humidity and inadequate watering also results in wrinkled growth and the buds often blasting. When these species start blooming, it is important to keep their conditions as consistent as possible as sudden changes in temperature or humidity in particular are known to make this species abort their spikes and buds prematurely. Heat stress on the cool growers often shows in yellowing from the base of the leaf and light stress will often result in dark spots developing on the leaves as well.


Draculas are such a unique genus of orchids and are well worth the effort of growing them if you are willing to provide their specific care needs. The main factors to growing them properly are making sure they receive the proper temperatures and maintaining adequate moisture. If you want to try growing some of the cool growing species and are worried about your temperatures being unsuitable, keeping them shaded when it gets too warm helps a lot in maintaining them in warmer temperatures. That being said, I would personally avoid growing these species out in regular household conditions in general. There are some people who have no trouble growing them in such conditions however this is not the norm and should not be expected to apply to every specimen. While it is true that not every plant is the same, one outlier is not enough to provide a basis that every single specimen will adapt the same way. If you’re up for a challenge, these monkey faced flowers will be a spectacular sight to see if grown properly.

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