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Fragrant orchids, discover these strong-scented orchids!

Fragrant orchid varieties

Most of us aren’t aware of it, but there are many orchids that are fragrant! A lot of species pair stunning beauty with pleasant scents.

Let’s focus on lovely fragrant orchid with our selection of delicious-smelling fragrances.

Stanhopea wardii, a hanging orchid with a scent of summer

fragrant Stanhopea orchidTruly one of a kind, Stanhopea wardii is an orchid with a long, drooping flower stem. The best way to grow it is to hang it in an open, well-ventilated basket.

In summer, large 5-inch flowers (12 cm) appear, displaying reversed red-spotted yellow petals and sepals. From them, a heady, fabulous scent wafts out.

The blooming is particularly abundant when you can guarantee a 15°F (10°C) variation in temperature between night and day.

Phalenopsis ‘Sweet Memory’, scented in warm weather

From among the most fragrant orchids, the ‘Sweet Memory’ stands out with a thick, star-shaped flower that releases its fragrance when it gets hot. This species also boasts another unique trait: leaves are very wide, and a fresh, bright green color.

Cymbidium atropurpureum, a long-lasting scented orchid

Cymbidium fragrant orchidThis orchid, Cymbidium atropurpureum has a particularly appealing feature: the blooming lasts a very long time, from the end of summer deep into fall.

Its fascinating flowers are a sharp purple color, clashing with a labellum that’s white with red spots. A sweet fragrance adds even more appeal!

Bolster blooming of this sweet flower with a lot of light, and again a strong drop in temperatures between night and day.

To learn more:

Cattleya intermedia ‘Alba’, fragrant but hard to grow

In an ideal environment, Cattleya intermedia ‘Alba’ produces large, very odoriferous white flowers over the course of spring.

Trigger this exceptional flowering with bright light and strong temperature jumps between night (60°F / 15°C) and day (70-75°F / 20-25°F).

Epidendrum stamfordianum ‘Galaxy’, a very fragrant starry orchid

scented orchid - Epidendrum stamfordianum 'Galaxy'The starry clusters of Epidendrum stamfordianum ‘Galaxy’ also satisfy another sense – smell – with their strong perfume.

They’re of course very ornamental, with a waxy touch and yellow, purple-mottled livery. All in all, it’ll droop down more than 3 feet (1 meter), so hang it accordingly for flowers to be appreciated!

Another defining characteristic is that it’s a part-sun orchid.

It’s also simply called “Epidendrum orchid”.

Acineta superba ‘Monique’, a sturdy forest-smelling orchid

Acineta superba ‘Monique’ is a resilient orchid that produces hanging clusters of flowers. They’re usually tan with uncountable tiny white spots.

Their surprising scent is similar to that of lush growth in forest underbrush. This orchid also appreciates relatively low temperatures.

Osmoglossum pulchellum, a fragrance similar to lily-of-the-nile

fragrant osmoglossum pulchellumThe winter blooming of Osmoglossum pulchellum releases a pleasant smell similar to that of Lily-of-the-Nile.

In a lean-in or in a room without much heating, it produces cute white flowers, staged along 2-foot (50 cm) flower scape.

Rhynchostylis retusa ‘Jairak’, a powerfully scented orchid

The tight flower clusters, with white and purple-spotted blooms, of the Rhynchostylis retusa ‘Jairak’ orchid will spread a heady fragrance throughout the house in the springtime.

With its long, hanging flower scape, this orchid is best grown in a hanging pot, and always in full light.

Angraecum longicalcar, a rare night-blooming scent

Very rare, Angraecum longicalcar is a vigorous orchid that produces surprising white flowers equipped with a green spur that’s nearly 2 feet long (50-60 cm) long! Surprising flowers indeed, delivering a fresh night-like scent.

Angraecum longicalcar is an orchid that needs a setting that’s both well-lit and warm 68-75°F (20 à 24 °C).

A few smelling orchids… that are real stinkers!

Some orchids of the Bulbophyllum group release an unpleasant smell. Bulbophyllum beccari , for instance, exhales an odor not unlike that of runny old cheese, whereas Bulbophyllum echinolabium smells like horse manure, and Bulbophyllum putridum will make you search around the house for a dead rat.

But these aren’t the only stinkers of the orchid realm! Masdevallia flowers come a close second, if not first… For example, the orchid called Masdevallia colossus also has a stomach-turning smell of rotting flesh, and Masdevallia triangularis reminds of overgrown mold.

To learn more:

Images: CC BY 2.0: MaX Fulcher, Motohiro Sunouchi, CC BY-SA 2.0: 阿橋 HQ, dreamstime: Chirasak Tolertmongkol, Pixabay: Bruce Iam

Written by Solenne Ricard | An art graduate who is passionate about botany, Solenne elects to channel her acute connection to the environment through gardening and writing about plants. From patch to plate, this lover of good food relies on permaculture and her own harvests to prepare healthy, organic meals for her family – every day! Expert writer, avid reader of great literary works, and awestruck by all things beautiful, she also whips out her easel at every chance.
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