The genus Calopogon has only 5-6 species of terricolous orchids, originating in North America. The pseudobulbs are small, oval, green in color, remain partially raised from the growing substrate; from each pseudobulb a single leaf starts, smooth and thin, ribbon-shaped, of bright green color; in summer they produce a 20-40 cm long stem, which bears 4-8 flowers, of medium size, of an intense pink color, rarely white; under each flower there is a long oval bract, at the center of the labellum there is a thin white or pink down, with the tips of each single pelt colored in intense yellow.
The Calopogon orchids can be placed in a sunny or partially shaded place; during the summer months it is advisable to shelter them from the sun, especially during the hottest hours of the day to prevent the leaves from showing burns. The Calopogons do not fear the cold, and therefore could also find a place in the garden, even though they are generally difficult to find on our continent. They are plants that can withstand even temperatures below zero a few degrees.
For good growth of these orchids, water regularly, keeping the soil constantly moist; in nature these orchids are part of the wetland flora. In winter watering is not necessary if the temperature goes far below zero; any specimens grown in the apartment need regular watering even in winter and, to maintain a good degree of humidity, an important factor for the growth of orchids, it is good to provide regular nebulizations of water on the leaves, preferably using non-calcareous water.
The Calopogon orchids are mainly terricolous, therefore cultivate in fertile, rich and slightly acid soil; an optimal compound is made up of sphagnum peat, shredded barks and small pieces of pumice stone. The pseudobulbs should be buried only two thirds of their height. It is essential that the substrate of the orchids allows the correct degree of drainage, so as to avoid the formation of water stagnation.
The plant should be repotted when the roots have occupied the whole container, taking care not to break the roots which are rather delicate.
The multiplication of these orchids occurs at the beginning of spring, by division of the large fleshy roots, which are buried in a balanced and light substrate, as well as draining, remembering not to completely bury the pseudobulbs. Keep the new plants in a partially shaded place so that they can take root.
Calopogon: Pests and diseases
Plants belonging to this genus of orchids can present problems related to pests or problems deriving from poor cultivation or from unfavorable environmental conditions. The cochineal can hit the plant and ruin leaves and flowers; cultivation in stagnant waters may favor the onset of root rot.
To eliminate the cochineal it is good to intervene with timeliness, so as to limit the problem. A good methodology is to intervene with a cloth with alcohol to pass on the leaves to manually eliminate the parasites.