Black Orchids: What You Need To Know

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Have you ever seen a black orchid before? These orchids are incredibly rare. You won’t find them sold in the majority of flower shops or markets.

Many people aren’t even aware that these orchids exist in nature. In fact, they may be more familiar with Tom Ford’s Black Orchid fragrance, the comic book series, or the movie from the 1950s, than the actual flower. So, what are black orchids?

Many black orchids are actually orchids with dark purple, red, or burgundy hues. These orchid flowers have colors so dark that they appear nearly black. True black orchids, however, are rare and include just a few orchid species, such as the Dracula orchids.

Potted black orchids

To say the least, black orchids are mysterious, beautiful, and rare. In this article, I’ll go more in depth about these orchids, including some examples of popular orchid varieties.

I’ll also give you some suggestions on where to buy these rare beauties. You’ll learn about the symbolism and meaning of these dark-colored orchids and why they continue to capture our attention year after year. Keep reading to learn more.

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Do Orchids Have Truly Black Flowers?

Yes, some orchids, such as the Dracula genus of orchids, do have truly black flowers. However, the term “black orchid” more commonly refers to a variety of different orchid species and hybrids.

Most of these are not actually black, but are deep burgundy, maroon or purple in color. They fall under the umbrella of black orchids because their pigmentation is so saturated. Thus, at first glance, the flowers appear black.

The Prosthechea cochleata orchid is an example of this. Known as Belize’s national flower, this “black orchid” is actually a deep purple color along the top petals, rather than black. But from far away, these petals appear black.

In truth, very few truly black orchids exist in nature. In the next section, I’ll give you some examples of orchids which are truly black, as well as “black orchids” that are actually deep red, burgundy, or purple in color.

What Are Some Popular Black Orchids?

Black Vanda orchid flowers

Some of the most popular truly black orchids belong to the Dracula family of orchids. These are sometimes referred to as “monkey-faced orchids.” Depending on the species, Dracula orchid blooms resemble a smiling or howling monkey face.

The Dracula raven, which is a cross between the Dracula vampira and Dracula roezlii orchids, is a well-known black orchid. It is one of the blackest orchids in existence and is extremely rare. Dracula roezlii and Dracula vampira orchids are, of course, two other black orchids within the Dracula family.

The Maxillaria schunkeana orchid is another black orchid native to South America. This orchid produces gorgeous black-colored blooms that last for about four weeks. It also goes by the name “Black Velvet.”

There are other orchids that have dark red or purple blooms, so dark that they almost look black. These orchids include the Cymbidium canaiculatun var. Sparkesii and the Trichoglottis philippinensis var. brachiata. Both of these orchids have deep burgundy flowers that look black.

Other examples include the Cymbidium Kiwi Baron and the Cymbidium Kiwi Midnight. Both of these Cymbidium orchids produce dark burgundy flowers. They appear black due to the deep saturated color.

Dark burgundy Cymbidium Kiwi Baron orchid flowers

Other black orchids include the Vanda Robert’s Delight Black orchid. This beautiful Vanda orchid produces large dark purple, almost black, blooms that are quite eye-catching. Give this one a try if you are interested in growing Vandas.

The Paphiopedilum Stealth is another type of black orchid. It is a cross between the Paphiopedilum Hsinying Maru and Paphiopedilum rothschildianum. The flowers appear almost completely black with the exception of a few white stripes along the top. This is a beautiful orchid. You will sometimes see it referred to as the “Black Dragon” orchid.

There are still other orchids, such as the Coelogyne pandurata, which have some black coloring. This species of orchid produces white, yellow, light green or off-white flowers, with a contrasting black lip.

Yellow and black Coelogyne pandurata orchid flowers, example of black orchid flowers

The Prosthechea cochleata orchid mentioned earlier also has a mix of colors: black petals on the top and white on the lower petals.

These are just a few examples of notable dark-colored orchids. In truth, there are many more varieties of black orchids in existence. Some have been created through hybridization, while others can be found growing naturally in the wild.

Are Black Orchids Rare?

Yes, truly black orchids are incredibly rare and hard to find. If you are looking for a purely black orchid, you may be out of luck.

Dracula orchids, for example, are native to the cloud-covered mountains of Ecuador and Peru. You won’t be able to find these orchids in stores. They also require specific growing conditions that may be difficult to replicate at home, such as high humidity and cool temperatures.

However, if you are willing to buy an orchid that is not truly black, well, you’re in luck. There are many orchids with deeply saturated burgundy, red, or purple blooms available for sale. I listed a few examples in the section above. These orchids are easier to find, and unlike the Dracula orchid, they are also easier to grow at home.

Where Can You Buy Black Orchids

Person buying an orchid in a flower shop

So, where can you buy these rare and beautiful orchids? You can purchase black orchids from online sellers or orchid shows. Please note that most of these online sellers are not affiliates of Everyday Orchids. I have not purchased from them personally. However, I included them here because these sellers are some of the few places you can find black orchids.

Online Sellers

Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘SVO Black Pearl’ and Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘Black Diamond’ are two orchids that Sunset Valley Orchids sells from time to time. A quick glance at their site today shows that they don’t have these in stock right now, but may in the future.

You can also find Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘Black Pearl’ catasetum orchid sold online. This is a young orchid seedling, without flowers and leaves. After potting, I would expect that it would need at least a year or two of care before it grows enough to be able to produce blooms.

Another online seller is Orchid Web. Again, I am not an affiliate of them. They do have a variety of orchids listed, including the Maxillaria schunkeana ‘Black Velvet’ orchid. You can get on their email list to be notified when they have this orchid in stock.

Palmer’s Orchids is another online orchid seller with a wide variety of unique and beautiful orchids. I’m not an affiliate of them, but did notice that they did have the Vanda Robert’s Delight Black in stock previously.

Orchid Shows

You might also have luck finding individual or small orchid growers selling black orchids at orchid shows. Check out your local orchid society and find out when their next orchid sale will be. Ask if they will be selling rare orchids.

Anecdotally, I have found rare or hard-to-find orchids sold at orchid shows before, so it’s worth an ask. Your chances at finding a rare orchid at one of these orchid shows will be higher if you live in a larger city or have a larger, more active orchid society in your area.

Black Orchids: Meaning And Symbolism

Black orchid flower backlit

By now, you may be wondering, besides these orchids being rare, what makes them so special? Well, never underestimate the meaning and symbolism the color of a flower can hold.

Orchids on their own are a symbol of beauty, luxury, and elegance. In addition, you can use the color of an orchid to improve feng shui and luck in certain areas of your life. You can also use color to convey certain messages to others.

That said, black orchids are a symbol of mystery, power, strength and authority. Black is a power color, reminiscent of board rooms and black suits.

Throughout history, these orchids have also been linked with witchcraft, dark magic, bad luck, and death. Goth parties and Halloween parties use dark-colored orchids as decorations. It was believed that these orchids hold mysterious, even mystical, magical powers. This was due more in part to the color black than to the orchid itself.

Black orchids are also a symbol of sexuality and virility. This goes back to the idea of black as a power color and as a symbol of strength.

In addition, these orchids also symbolize wealth, luxury and success. This is because they are so rare and hard-to-find. Back in the day, only the wealthy could afford to buy a black orchid, or an orchid, period. To some degree, this is still true today, as black orchids can be difficult to find and buy.

Final Thoughts

Black orchids are mysterious and beautiful. If you have seen one of these unique orchids in-person before, consider yourself lucky. As you know, these orchids are rare and grow in only certain areas of the world.

Most orchids that are labeled as “black orchids,” are actually dark maroon or dark purple or brown orchids. These orchids have such deep pigmentation that they could pass for black, but upon closer inspection, you will see that they have underlying maroon, burgundy or purple tones.

Hopefully this has answered some of your questions about these beautiful and captivating flowers. If you are new to orchids, be sure to check out my site Everyday Orchids to find out more about orchid growing and care. Thanks for reading! As always, happy orchid growing.

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Paph black orchid flower
Black orchid paph flower close up
Black orchid flower in pot
Dark purple orchid flower backlit

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