This article was last updated by on

Monkey Face Orchid Live Plant: Best Grow & Care Guide

Although it may look straight out of the fantasy adventure tales with its ape-faced flowers, the Monkey Face Orchid plant does exist.

Monkey Face Orchid live plant is an epiphyte native to tropical highland forests of South America with their unique looking flower resembling a monkey; hence the name. It grows over 3,300 feet, often making it harder to replicate in your garden.

But nothing is impossible! Read on to find interesting facts about Monkey Faced Orchid and ways to grow them at home.

Is Monkey Face Orchid Real or Fake?

Many gardeners who first see the Monkey Face Orchid live plant (Dracula Simia) may swear it is taken straight from a children’s fairytale book.

If you happen to Google it, you would be equally amazed by its unique-looking flowers.

An Orchid species from the tropical highland forests of Ecuador and Peru are real plants and can grow flowers at any time of the year.

These flowers have a unique feature, looking just like a monkey’s face, making them one of the unique flowers that look like faces.

monkey face orchid live plant
Monkey Face Orchid flowers have brownish-purple coloration and pouch-like shape with two prominent round petals resembling a monkey’s eyes.

The petals are often covered with fine hairs, resembling a monkey’s face, and the Orchid’s column containing the reproductive organs looks like a nose and mouth, completing the monkey-like appearance.

Therefore, the Monkey Face Orchid is real, first discovered by the botanist Carlyle A. Luer in 1978.

However, its scientific name comes from the Latin word ‘Dracula’ known as “little dragon,” referring to its long spurs, and “Simia” refers to the flower’s monkey-like appearance.

The Dracula species displays over 110 varieties, which may differ in color and shape but share the same adorable monkey face.

Are Monkey Face Orchids Annuals or Perennials?

Monkey Face Orchids are strictly perennials, and trying to grow them as annuals may fail to produce their signature ape-faced flowers.

The delicate perennial plant will quickly adapt as houseplants in USDA zones 9-11 and continue growing year-round. All Orchids are perennials and would come back every year after winter.

Remember, these plants naturally grow attached to other plants and mature only after three to seven years.

Therefore, you will likely see them flower only after half a decade! Once it begins flowering, it will bloom yearly for up to two decades.

Another way to witness flowering sooner is to propagate the established saplings instead of growing them from seeds.

How to Grow Monkey Face Orchid?

If you are up for the challenge, remember that growing the Dracula Simia variety successfully requires very particular living conditions when growing indoors.

They naturally grow in the cloud forests at 3,300-6,600 feet (1,000-2,000 meters), making them hard to grow in average home conditions.

While it is possible to grow them indoors, seeing a healthy plant and the likelihood of flowering will depend on your regular care.

Try replicating their natural habitat that experiences cool temperatures, high humidity, ample filtered sunlight, and consistently moist soil.

In that case, they are pretty high-maintenance plants and hardly appropriate for young or new gardeners.

However, they will grow about twenty inches tall in a correct home environment and display flowers after a few years.

Growing Orchid’s Seeds

You can grow them from seeds in a controlled lab environment, which may take 3 to 4 weeks to germinate.

But, regarding their seeds, you must be careful not to get deceived by online sellers.

  • The Orchid seeds are incredibly tiny with a dust-like appearance. 
monkey face orchid seed
Beware, anything bigger than a dust particle is not the Orchid seed.
  • Buy them as seed pods or by weight. Anything sold in numbers is fake.
  • Most Orchid seeds will only germinate around the presence of mycorrhizal fungus, which is not readily available.
  • Moreover, germinating the seed batches requires lab equipment like an autoclave, a laminar flow hood, and practical knowledge of sterile propagation technique.

Therefore, propagating them is the best way to go about it.

Propagating Monkey Face Orchids (Steps)

The only way to propagate an established Monkey Face Orchid is through division, separating offshoots, and planting them in Orchid-specific soil.

However, remember your Orchid plant must be a few years old to have sufficient multiple offshoots (side growths) for propagation.

Step-by-Step Instruction

  • Prepare by collecting necessary items such as sterilized knives or scissors, clean pots, and Orchid potting mix.
  • Choose one or multiple growths with a few pseudobulbs (thickened, bulb-like stem growth) and aerial roots to ensure healthy growth points.
  • Gently remove them from the parent plant using sharp, sterilized scissors or knives. Be careful not to damage the main shoot.
  • Trim away any damaged or decayed growth, including leaves and aerial roots.
  • Prepare an Orchid mix by combining sterilized bark, wooden charcoal, coco chips, perlite, and soil and sand.
  • Fill small pots with the Orchid potting mix and plant each sapling. Press the mixture gently around the roots to hold the plant in place.
monkey face orchid care
Place propagated saplings in a well-lit location with high humidity and provide ample aftercare to witness flowers.

After Care Tips

Here are some essential tips to keep your Monkey Face Orchid looking healthy and growing.

  1. Light: Always provide filtered or indirect sunlight and avoid direct sunlight to prevent burns.
  2. Temperature: They do well in a cool, damp, and humid place with an ideal temperature range between 42°F to 68°F (6°C to 20°C).
  3. Humidity: Maintain high humidity levels, around 60-80%. You can achieve it by misting the plant regularly or placing a room humidifier.
  4. Watering: Keep the potting mix or soil moist but not soggy, and allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between watering.
  5. Potting Mix: Always use a well-draining Orchid mix during potting and repotting that provides good airflow for the roots.
  6. Fertilization: Feed the Orchid with a balanced Orchid fertilizer diluted to half the strength every 2-4 weeks during spring and summer.
  7. Rest Period: Monkey Face Orchid enjoys a rest period during the cooler months. Reduce watering and provide slightly lower temperatures during this time.
  8. Potting: Repot the Orchid every 1-2 years or more, depending on its growth.

Monkey Face Orchid Live Plant for Sale

If you want Monkey Face Orchids at home, here are a few websites to buy them as seeds or plants.

SellerDelivery Time
Etsy(Seeds)3-5 business days
Seeds World (Seeds)3-14 business days
Orchids by Hausermann (Plant)3-4 business days

From Editorial Team


Harvesting their seed pods to retain seeds for propagation may be a good idea.

Although challenging, you can try growing them at home using a sterile growing medium and creating artificial humidity.

The Orchid seeds lack endosperm (nutrient-rich tissue), which may prevent most batches from growing, but it is worth trying!