Bletilla Striata - Hardy Garden Orchid

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Bletilla (Hardy Garden Orchid) is a late spring to early summer flowering perennial that is quite durable in a wide range of garden conditions. This hardy orchid even grows in the wild in semi-wooded conditions, in the shade of tall grass meadows and along the edge of forests. Bletilla is named after Luis Blet - a Spanish apothecary who had a botanic garden in Algeciras near the end of the 18th century.

About this Variety

Bletilla striata's blooms are reminiscent of the popular indoor house plant dendrobium orchid. Its cattleya-like pink, purplish or white blooms sit atop papery-textured, sword-shaped pale green leaves.

Highlights

  • Long bloom time
  • Deer & critter resistant
  • Somewhat drought tolerant
  • Great container plant
  • Grows well in partly shaded borders and rock gardens

Exposure:

Full sun to partial shade

Blooms:

Mid Spring to Early Summer

Height:

Grows 12-20" tall

Spacing/Depth:

Plant 6-12" apart, 2-4" deep

USDA Zones:

Grow as Perennial in zones 5-9. Grow as Annual elsewhere.

Growing Instructions

Plant Bletilla outdoors in spring after all danger of frost has passed. It is best grown in a full sun to partially shaded location - more shade than sun. The ideal soil is rich, porous and drains well but still holds enough water for the roots. If your soil is heavy clay and drains slowly, or very sandy and does not hold water, add organic soil amendments like peat moss or ground bark. Spread a 3-4 inch layer of soil amendment if needed and incorporate into the soil to a depth of 10 inches. Plant 2-4" deep and 6-12" apart. When planting a large quantity of corms in one bed, excavate the entire area to the recommended depth, add soil amendments if needed, set out corms and then cover corms all at once. Water thoroughly at planting. While actively growing, water frequently and thoroughly so that water will reach the roots. Mulch to keep the soil cool and to prevent the soil from drying out. Fertilize with a light hand after the first growing season in early spring.

Care Tip

Bletilla can be grown in containers and brought indoors during winter in zones 5 and colder. Mulch during the winter. Water regularly but do not overwater.