Bulbophyllum catenarium, the “chain-like bulbophyllum,” (not to be confused with Bulbo. moniliforme) is a super tiny, miniature-sized, warm to cool-growing epiphytic/lithophytic species from southeastern Asia. B. catenarium is grown mounted and likes deep shade. Bulbo. catenarium is just as adorable as its close cousin but seemingly more willing to bloom as it does so in spring, summer, AND fall. Despite its minute size, it is not hard to grow, and I’m so happy I came across it. A definite 10 on the cuteness scale.
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 intermediate to 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 may 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.