Dracula is a genus that includes about a hundred species of evergreen orchids, originating in Central and South America, found mainly in Ecuador. They can be epiphytes or terricolous; most have medium dimensions, around 20-25 cm in height, but there are also miniature species. The leaves are ribbon-like, pointed, often crossed by deep veins; at the base of the heads of leaves grows a long stem, often pendulous, which generally bears a single flower, of large size, of various colors, from yellow to purple. The dracula flowers have a particular triangular shape, and petals with a long thin spur, similar to a long tail; in addition, the petals often have streaks or specks, on the edge or on the entire surface, of purple or brown color.
Their name means small dragon, given the particularity of their flowers, even though their name was associated with the famous Count Dracula, perhaps also due to the fact that this genus of orchid grows in shady and foggy areas, also characteristic of its own environments of the story of Count Dracula.
These orchids should be kept in place with a soft luminosity, away from the direct rays of the sun, especially during the summer months, as foliar burns can quickly arise. These orchids fear the cold, so in winter they should be kept indoors or in a temperate greenhouse, taking care to find a place with good air exchange.
They need a wet and cool environment, as the ideal temperatures are around 18 ° C during the day and 12 ° C at night. Temperatures above 25 ° C can cause suffering to this variety; in this case it is necessary to proceed with frequent water vaporisations to lower the temperature and increase the environmental humidity, a fundamental factor for the welfare of plants of this type.
They love environments with good air circulation.
these orchids are native to the rainforests of central America, where the climate is always very humid; then provide regular watering throughout the year, remembering to avoid water stagnation and to vaporize the leaves often, to increase environmental humidity, mainly when temperatures are high; in this case it is necessary to proceed with more frequent water supplies, always checking that there are no puddles in the soil, which would compromise the health of the orchids.
To plant these plants, use an orchid compost composed of sphagnum peat, plant fibers and shredded bark, to which you can also add other light incoherent materials, such as small pieces of polystyrene. The terricolous species need a rich and loose soil, mixed with little humus.
The reproduction of this type of orchid occurs by dividing the tufts, taking care to maintain a vigorous root in each portion practiced; the new plants thus obtained must be immediately repotted individually, using the substrate suitable for adult plants.
Dracula: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to cochineal and aphids. Conditions of excessive soil moisture, with recurrent water stagnation, may favor the development of root rot.
To eliminate the parasites it is possible to intervene with a cloth or a cotton pad with alcohol to pass on the leaves.