Scientific nameBonatea speciosa, a terrestrial orchid, is admired for its delicate, somewhat bizarre, green and white flowers. It is also comparatively easy to grow both in pots and in flowerbeds in the garden which has added to its popularity.
As plants of Bonatea speciosa do not form dense clumps that can be divided, propagation from seed is the only viable alternative. However, this form of propagation is rather complicated in orchids, and requires the facilities of a modern chemical laboratory. It is necessary to follow an in vitro method that is commonly known as 'flasking'. Sterile working conditions as well as chemicals to mix the jelly-like growing medium with all its nutrients are essential.
It is essential to grow Bonatea speciosa in a well-drained growing medium as water-logged soil leads to the rapid rotting of the plants. The plants can either be grown in garden beds or in pots. Pot culture obviously has the advantage that the plants can be moved (e.g. to take flowering specimens indoors). Plants cultivated in garden beds require a shady or semi-shady spot.
The growing medium should consist of equal parts of fibrous peat, loam, coarse sand and fine bark, to which drainage chips should be added. If grown in pots, a layer of drainage material at the bottom is required. It is generally advisable to follow the rainfall pattern in the natural habitat where your particular plant originates (the species generally occurs in both the winter and summer rainfall regions). The soil should be kept fairly dry in the dormant season, but should also not dry out completely. Unlike most orchids, bonateas do not like high humidity.
We are in need of this species! Can you help? Maybe you have this species at home, or perhaps you can collect seeds or cuttings (if applicable) from friends or from a public space. If so, why don't you help establish this species in areas where it is much needed!
Conservation status: Least Concern
This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.