Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Arctic Orchid...Bletilla

With my recent posts about phalaenopsis...or butterfly...orchids, which are not easy orchids to grow for beginners, people have been asking me what orchids they can grow.

To start, especially if you live in a colder climate than me (Southern California), I'd recommend something like you see on this page...the bletilla orchid.

It's a terrestrial orchid, meaning it grows in soil, not on the side of a tree. It works wonderfully in moist to soggy ground. Think of that faucet you have in the back yard that always spills a couple of drops. That's where I planted mine and I never had to do anything to self watered, was next to the warm house, and built itself into a very thick, big, blooming clump.

It's hardy to 25 degrees. Lower if you cover the deciduous bulbs with mulch after the leaves have fallen off. If you have them planted in the ground, right next to the house, and you live in the lower 48, the heat from the house would probably be enough.

Shade lovers, they do quite well in the ground on the north wall of our house.

Got a moist patch of dirt on on the north, west, or east side of your house...fairly shady? This can go there and you're off to the races in the world of orchid growing. Just bury the bulbs about 2" deep, water in, and watch for results in the spring.

Available at many garden centers for a dollar a bulb, it's also a very cheap way to get into the hobby.

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
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