Bifrenaria Cultural Notes

Pronounced: by-fren-air-ee-a

Bif. Outland

Bifrenaria originate in South America, particularly in Brazil and grow on vertical rock cliffs at around 200 to 800 metres above sea level. These areas receive strong wind and almost full sunlight. The roots are buried in the rock crevices that become filled with runoff organic matter like leaves sticks and soil.

They cope with extremes of temperatures  from 4C to 36C, whilst 15C to 25C is the ideal range. They can be grown in a cold area which is sheltered from frost and without heat, but will grow faster when kept a little warmer during our Winters.

Bifrenarias bloom in early to late Autumn and bear stems of one to three 75mm to 100mm flowers in shades of lemon, soft purple, pink and deep purple. The leaves are tough to withstand conditions in their native habitat. Their bulbs become large to store nutrients against times of food shortage. The bulbs  resemble a bunch of bananas at certain stages of their growth.

Here in Tasmania you can grow them in our wonderful sphagnum moss which keep them moist and free draining. Medium Grade pine bark or Cymbidium growing media are also suitable.

Bif. atropurpurea

They appreciate a little weak high Nitrogen fertilizer every week or two during their growth periods of Spring into Summer and should be grown in a bright, cosy and sheltered position as young seedlings. When mature, they will tolerate cooler conditions with stronger sunlight.

They need potting every year or two until mature and are then best left undisturbed until they outgrow their container.