Plants: Bletilla striata - hyacinth orchid

Posted by 22.03. 2008 17:01:10 (48768 readers)

Bletilla striata - hyacinth orchid

How about a garden orchid? If you like unusual plants look at this princess from China. It is a hardy plant that can be planted outdoors down to USDA zone 5. Typically orchid-like flowers are magenta or lavender pink, 4-5 cm wide, borne at tips of 15-25 cm long stems. There can be 6-12 flowers on each stem. It starts flowering in June and continues for about a month.

Leaves are the same height as flowering stems, mid green, lanceolate with distinct veins. Though an orchid, this plant is a perennial that dies back to ground level every year so it can emerge again from the pseudobulb in the spring. The longer you leave it in the ground the stronger it will get and will offer richer flowering.

It is quite easy to look after if you plant it well. It DEFINITELY needs well-drained soil. Even though it likes moisture it would definitely die in wet conditions in winter. The bulb should be about 10 deep in the soil that is a mix of good compost and sand. Sun is important to flower freely but avoid direct summer sunlight. It will need some fertilizing and occasional extra watering before flowering. Mulch it well for winter. Thus it will be hardy to -27°C (USDA zone 5).
Milan Havlis, Specializované zahradnictví
Chlumec 23, 382 32 Velešín, Czech republic

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