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Bletilla striata, Chinese Ground Orchid

Bletilla striata, the easy to grow, terrestial orchid belongs in your garden.

Plant these bulbs in dappled shade and moist, but well drained soil. Add mulch. Although Chinese Ground Orchids are easily cared for and somewhat drought tolerant, they will not flourish in dry conditions so try to water before they become dry.

bletillastriata

The blooms come in several shades of lavender, hot pink, yellow, and white. Each stem can have as many as 10 blooms!

After the flowers collapse, Dr. Dotty Woodson suggests cutting the seed pods off  because they don’t naturally germinate in our climate but will germinate in a laboratory situation. Remember our trip to Dotty’s orchid greenhouse?

If you are curious, throw the seeds in one of your pots to see if you can get them to grow and if they do, let us know.

The good news is they will multiply vegetatively,  so expect ever increasing clumps.

Have I mentioned the pleasing foliage?  It is longitudinally pleated  or striated; growing  upright about 1 1/2 feet high.  A variegated form can be found, that Dotty says is awfully pretty. In our climate, the foliage is deciduous.

The lavender Bletilla striata blooming in our spring garden and pictured a few days ago came from Jim.

And on a serendipitous note;  while some of our gardeners were on a scavenger dig, they potted up several mystery bulbs. Now that the bulbs are at our garden, some think it could be another stash of Chinese Ground Orchids!

Ann

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