Bulbophyllum bicolor, the two-colored bulbophyllum, is a miniature, hot-growing, lithophytic species from Hong Kong. B. bicolor may be mounted on rock or cork, but to keep it well-hydrated, I am growing it in a pot with loose medium. Flowers are big and showy: red and white stripes with yellow accents. The flowers lined up next to each other make me think of a barbershop quartet. They don’t sing, though. Neither do they stink, so let’s call ‘er good.
Bulbophyllum is currently considered the most diverse genus of orchids with over 1500 species described. Bulbophyllums are found in all tropical areas on Earth, and they are as diverse morphologically as they are geographically. Though named for their bulbous leaves, all Bulbophyllums share some common flower characteristics including a hinged column which causes part of the flower to jiggle or bob. The better to lure in pollinators! Speaking of which, many bulbos are pollinated by flies–flies that are attracted to things that look and/or smell, um… dead. So approach bulbophyllum flowers with a cautious nose.
Bulbophyllums are easy to grow. They like to stay moist, and most of them like warm temperatures. We grow ours in intermediate (winter) to hot (summer) conditions. Similarly, they grow well in intermediate light although they can tolerate low light conditions, too (you will see fewer flowers). I have found increased success since growing mine in a closed tray with a little water standing in the bottom for those in pots. For plants in baskets, water frequently and from all sides. Bulbos enjoy regular fertilizer (I use a slow release and occasional additional fertilizer by spray), and may be potted in bark, moss, or a combination of the two. Because they have short roots, baskets or shallow pots work best for these guys.