Specific additional cultural information
Philip C. Tomlinson       © 1998

For basic cultural information, refer to the Cattleya Culture page.  Seasonal cultural information  is also included with that data.    The following page details specific cultural pointers for the genus BARKERIA, and should be read with the basic information presented elsewhere.


The genus Barkeria is a small one, both as the size of the genus, and the general size of the plants   Their bright attractive flowers produced from small plants makes them desirable additions to most conniseurs collections, or just for anyone who enjoys attractive flowers.

Out of growth the plants just look like a clump of dry twigs, but in the spring new growths are produced which develop during the warm moist summers finally producing flowers in the autumn and early winter.    The final period is dryer, and the winters are very dry, when the plants loose their leaves, and are dormant.  They naturally grow on small shrubs, and on small branches of trees, with  their roots freely exposed to moving air. Therefore a very open compost must be used, which will require heavy watering during the spring and summer, but which  can be kept dry during the later autumn and winter while the plants enter their period of natural dormancy.

The main Barkeria species are barkeriola, chinensis, dorotheae, halbingeri, lindleyana, malanocaulon,  naevosa, palmeri, scandens, schoemakeri, skinneri, spectabilis, strophinx and uniflora.  The commonly cultivated species are skinneri and lindleyana.  

The species mostly come from the Lowland Rainforest and Monsoonal Foothill Mountain habitats, and information on these habitats can be usefully referred to.

Barkeria skinneri


The culture of barkeria is exceedingly difficult for the unwary.  However it is very simple if you are fully aware of their needs. As noted above they naturally grow on scrub brush or on  rocks.  Any plant crammed into a pot in almost any kind of compost rarely survives a second year.

They should be grown in pots with large drainage holes, utilising large sized media. Large pieces of charcoal, bark and/or tree fern is suitable.  Plants need to be heavily watered when in active growth, from the time the new growths appear in the spring to the point of flowering in the early autumn, and kept in a warm situation.  From flowering it should be moved to a dry cooler situation,  During the winter months only mist occasionally, and plants should not be watered as such.  Over the period of dormancy it can take cooler conditions.  Good light levels should be maintained, and intermediate conditions during  growth are appropriate.  Some growers recommend mounting on cork or firm tree fern slabs.

For a detailed discussion of the genus,
refer to the Barkeria genera page.


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