Paphiopedilum bellatulum

I got a small flask of Paphiopedilum bellatulum from Equatorial Plant Co in 2008 and deflasked them in August the same year. I have since traded all the seedling but one plant that I kept for myself and it is now blooming for the very first time, 3 years and 7 months later. I am like a proud momma! You really have to be patience when you raise orchid seedlings, but in this case it was more than worth the wait. The name is derived from the Latin word bellus (meaning beautiful), a fitting name I would say. I adore the voluptuous shape and vanilla ice cream coloring against the mottled leaf backdrop, marvelous.

Paphiopedilum bellatulum is a small terrestrial or lithophytic species from China to Indo-China where it grows at 900 to 1500 meters in shady locations on limestone cliffs. Flowers grow as large as 5-8 cm wide, mine measures about 6 cm, and blooms from a short, dark purple inflorescence that just clears the beautifully mottled green leaves with a deep purple underside. It is reputed to be a difficult species to grow, but perhaps this is because the growing recommendations for it found online can be rather contradictory. Some say to grow it warm to hot, other cool to intermediate. I say it does best in intermediate growing conditions in medium/low light and kept evenly moist all year, only slightly drier November through April. It supposedly prefers a slightly calcareous medium, but I grow mine just fine in a mix of medium bark and volcanic rocks without any added calcium.

Edit: As it turns out, this is probably a primary hybrid with P bellatulum in the mix, not a pure species… so I still need to get the pure species for my collection.  

Paphiopedilum bellatulum (Rchb.f.) Stein, Orchid.-Buch: 456 (1892).

Paphiopedilum bellatulum
Paphiopedilum bellatulumPaphiopedilum bellatulumPaphiopedilum bellatulum

By | 2017-10-13T11:25:41+02:00 April 28th, 2012|Categories: Flask babies, My orchids|Tags: , , , , |13 Comments

About the Author:

Karma is a digital nomad graphic artist and writer, orchid nerd and long-distance hiker from Gothenburg, Sweden. Former editor-in-chief for the Swedish Orchid Society magazine, published internationally and held lectures on orchid culture.


  1. salaite April 28, 2012 at 18:36 - Reply

    I find these extremely beautiful and too expensive to buy as full size plant, so i suppose you have done the right thing it’s worth the wait

  2. Karma April 28, 2012 at 18:40 - Reply

    Thank you! Yes, they are lovely. 🙂

  3. Damien T April 30, 2012 at 03:03 - Reply

    Very cute. My paphs are in spike and I hope it will bloom this time. The last two times the buds shriveled when it was halfway formed. I suspect that it’s the low humidity (50%). Sorry about your lost on the fungal infection. Very interesting read though! Talking about drama…. Lol.

    • Karma April 30, 2012 at 08:52 - Reply

      Thanks Damien! Hope your Paph buds will go all the way to flower this time.

  4. Jacob May 17, 2012 at 19:57 - Reply

    Your skill in growing this flawless beauty from flask is impressive!

  5. Karma May 17, 2012 at 22:17 - Reply

    Thank you!!! I have some doubts about it being a pure P bellatulum though… looks a lot like it might be a primary hybrid of some sort… maybe with P niveum? Still, I am proud of raising it from flask. 🙂

  6. janet July 25, 2012 at 21:55 - Reply

    I saw my first and only bellatulum at the orchid fair in Santa Barbara a couple of weekends ago and haven’t been able to get them out of my mind. They are the most beautiful of all the orchids, in my opinion. The Japanese gentleman had brought his from Japan for the show. He had priced them from $100 to $500 for a single blooming 4″ plant. Each plant had one bloom, the $100 plant was almost finished blooming but the $500 ones were just beginning. I want to raise these myself, even in a flask if I have to. Congrats on being a “new mamma”. Lovely!

    • Karma July 30, 2012 at 22:33 - Reply

      Thank you Janet! I do love this one, even though it turned out not to be a pure P bellatulum. Probably a primary hybrid with P bellatulum in the mix… so I still need to get a real P bellatulum for my collection. Good luck you too! I have a close cousin in bud right now though (for the first time), P niveum, in my opinion probably the most beautiful species in the whole Brachypetalum subgenus. Exciting. 🙂

  7. Jenn December 5, 2012 at 07:09 - Reply

    Hey there! I’m an orchid addict, and Google sent me to your blog when I was looking for a paph bellatulum! I have secured one for myself…I don’t know if you’re still looking for one, but there’s one currently listed on ebay for $35.99. It’s in bud. Just go to ebay and search for paph bellatulum and it should come up!

    Happy orchid growing!
    Smiles, Jenn

  8. Jenn December 5, 2012 at 07:11 - Reply

    Oh drat…I just noticed that you’re in Sweden. The seller only ships to the US. Ah, well…you don’t need to publish these comments…I just wanted to let you know about the orchid!

    Have a great day!

  9. Karma December 5, 2012 at 09:42 - Reply

    No worries Jenn! Thanks for thinking of me. 🙂 I did find a new one earlier this fall. This one is the true species and in bloom right now.

  10. giardino richard November 17, 2013 at 18:03 - Reply

    Vous etes la personne la plus experte en matiere d’horchidees que j’ai vu et votre site est a la hauteur de votre savoir , j’habite dans la ville de TOULON departement du VAR cote d’azur merci pour tous et bonne continuation

    • Karma November 17, 2013 at 20:56 - Reply

      Thank you, I am glad you like my site. 🙂

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