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Black Orchid Flower

By Ma Wen Jie ; Updated September 21, 2017
Black orchids aren't black; they are purple.

The black orchid is the national flower of Belize. The black orchid is not, in fact, black. The central flower portion of the black orchid is a deep purple that can, in some lights, look black. The black orchid is also known as the Prosthechea cochleata.

Native Range

The black orchid is native to the Americas. Its main native habitats are in Central America, Columbia, Venezuela and Florida. It can also be found in parts of the West Indies. Black orchids are, however, frequently cultivated in many other places, both as an indoor or outdoor decorative plant. The plant is endangered in the wild in Florida.

Soil Requirements

The black orchid, like most other orchids, grows best in a sterile medium where the roots can grow outside of the pot. Orchids take most of their water from the air via their root systems. In some cases, orchids can grow for years in a sterile medium with only light and moisture.


Black orchids will benefit from organic fertilizers like feather meal. Feather meal contains dicalcium phosphate, which will offer fertilization without damaging the sensitive beneficial microbes on the roots that help provide nutrition to the orchids. Avoid phosphorous when fertilizing your black orchids. Phosphorous can damage the beneficial microbes and actually harm your black orchid.


Black orchids, like other orchids, require very little water in their medium. Black orchids do better if misted every day or two once the roots have grown outside of the pot into the air. In humid climates, you can mist your black orchids less frequently. These flowers need more misting in arid or semi-arid climates.

Flowering Cycle

The black orchid is unique in that it flowers all year long. Many other orchids flower only once a year or, in some cases, once every several years. The black orchid's flowers are different than many other orchids. The flowers on the black orchid visually appear to grow "upside down" when compared to other orchids.


About the Author


Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.