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Orchid House or Orquidarium and Botanical Garden

Over four thousand species of orchid from all over the world in a temperature, humidity controlled environment in the Orchid House and Botanical Garden at Estepona, Malaga province, Andalucia, Spain

By Nick Nutter | Last Updated 16 Mar 2022 | Málaga | Places To Go
Orchid House, Estepona

Orchid House, Estepona

When the sky is grey, the temperature downright chilly and the wind whistles through the palm trees, alleys and streets, it is a great day to visit the Orchid House in Estepona. With its temperature and humidity controlled to suit these marvellous plants, it is an ideal place to forget the outside world for an hour or so.

Orchid House, Estepona

Orchid House, Estepona

Orchid House, Estepona

Orchid House, Estepona

Asian orchids and South American orchids

Orchid House, Estepona

Orchid House, Estepona

The orchid house is divided into two areas, one with Asian orchids, the other with orchids native to South America. The orchids nestle in amongst shrubs and semi-tropical perennials as they would in the wild. Opened in 2015, the plants in the Orchid House have had time to establish themselves and now provide interest throughout the year. With over 4,000 species now established there is always something in bloom. You do have to look carefully sometimes. Many orchids are shy and solitary and hide beneath foliage or up amongst the branches of trees and shrubs.

Conversely, others are flamboyant creations that delight in covering a patch with iridescent colour. Orchid Plants can develop into gigantic clusters weighing from several hundred kilograms to one ton. The rhizomes or tubers form spectacular bundles. The genus Orchis comes from the Ancient Greek word for ‘testicles’ because of the shape of the bulbous root.

Orchid House, Estepona

Orchid House, Estepona

Some orchid plants can survive for over 100 years making them as long-lived as many trees.

Orchid range

Orchid House, Estepona

Orchid House, Estepona

Orchids grow all over the world apart from areas of extreme hot or cold weather. They have been around for over 100 million years, and there are over 25,000 species with more being discovered every year. The diversity is huge. The largest orchids, Grammatophyllum speciosum, - Tiger Orchids can grow to 2.5 metres, whilst the smallest, Plztystele jungermannioides will grow to just 2 millimetres.

Bond between insects and orchids

The bond between orchids and certain species of insects is tight and highly specialised. Petals have similar shape and colour to imitate female insects to attract males and ensure pollination. Ophrys apifera, better known as the Bee Orchid, lures male bees with its enticing smell and bee-like appearance. When a male bee approaches the flower to mate, it becomes covered in pollen and is sent off to fertilize the next orchid it visits.

This dependence on a particular insect does have a drawback, if the insect becomes extinct then so too does the orchid.

Imitating animals

Other orchids imitate animals, see if you can find the Owl orchid or the Monkey orchid. Wonderful.

Uses of orchids

People use orchids for numerous purposes. Substances isolated from orchids are used in the perfume industry, as spices and in traditional Asian medicine. Vanilla comes from the pod of an orchid, Vanilla planifolia. It is difficult to grow, requiring high humidity, bright but indirect sunlight and warm temperatures, which explains why it is so expensive.

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For opening times and prices of the Orchid House, click here

How to get there

The Orchid House in Estepona is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 2pm and 3pm to 6pm and on Sundays from 10am to 2pm. Access for the disabled is very good.

Find Orchid House or Orquidarium on the map

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Comments

  • Heather - 6 Aug 2019
    Hello, is there a shop there where you can buy orchids?
    • Nick Nutter - 8 Aug 2019
      Hi Heather, I was at the orchid house last month asking exactly the same question. Unfortunatley they do not have a shop.
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