Arundina graminifolia (Bamboo Orchid)

Arundina graminifolia, the Bamboo Orchid, produces pinkish flowers at the top of tall canelike pseudobulbs. It's the only species in the genus. The plants are quite tall; they'll reach at least hip level, possibly over your head, and their vegetative resemblance to bamboo can be uncanny. The long pseudobulbs have leaves alternating along their length, similar to Epidendrum orchids. The flower stems, which emerge from the top of the canes, produce several flowers sequentially, so that there will be one at a time over an extended period. The flowers are white with a purple-to-pink lip, and shaped similarly to a Cattleya orchid flower. They are 2-3 inches across (5-8cm), and can appear for much of the year, especially in summer.
Arundina graminifolia
Image courtesy of Ana_Cotta
Distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Arundinas readily propagate themselves by keikis, which frequently develop along the pseudobulbs. Once a keiki has roots a couple inches long (several cm), you can carefully cut it off and pot it separately. The canes do not grow rigidly upright, they'll sometimes tip over; in nature, this allows the keikis to get established nearby, so it's a major vegetative propagation strategy for these plants; it helps them rapidly grow into large clumps. (These plants like colonizing disturbed habitats, often growing as roadside weeds in much of Southeast Asia; being able to grow quickly helps them succeed in such places.)

These plants are tough: they are quite robust and forgiving of less-than-attentive care. If you want to give them a try, here are some rough guidelines on how to grow them:

They are terrestrial orchids, so they like a denser potting mix than most orchids. It should still drain freely, however, and not be as dense as soil. A good starting point is equal parts sand, sphagnum moss, and fine fir bark.

Bamboo orchids should be watered as they approach dryness; don't let them dry out too thoroughly. If you grow them outdoors, either if you live in a warm climate or if you just brought it outdoors for the summer, rainfall might water it often enough in some areas; but if it's starting to dry out water it thoroughly. If you grow orchids indoors, these plants are often too big to take to the sink; the easiest way to water will often be to dunk the pot in a bucket, then pull it out. Any aerial roots, such as on keikis, should be misted regularly.

Fertilize regularly; the usual recommendation is to use a fertilizer especially formulated for orchids feeding "weakly, weekly". Most orchid fertilizers are designed to be dissolved in the plant's water.

They like high light: 2000-3000 footcandles is ideal, similar to the low end of Cattleya lighting. In nature, they commonly grow in direct sunlight. As long as the lighting isn't too dim you're probably fine. If it doesn't bloom, try increasing the lighting.

You'll get the best results growing them at warm temperatures, 75-85°F (24-29C) during the day with a drop of 10-15°F (6-8C) at night. It's OK if the temperature varies more widely than this; they can actually withstand mild freezes occasionally, though it's quite stressful for them. Any temperature that's reasonably comfortable (or a bit hot and muggy) for humans is going to be fine for bamboo orchids.

They like good humidity, perhaps 70%, though this isn't critical. If the humidity is low, the plant should be misted regularly, especially if it has any keikis.

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