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Bletilla

Phonetic Spelling
bleh-TIL-ah
Description

Hardy Orchid is a genus of six species of semi-hard, perennial, terrestrial orchid with short, slender stems and attractive blossoms that often open successively. The genus is native to Southeast Asia. The plant's pseudo-bulbs resemble corms and usually sit at ground level. The white to purple flowers emerge from the center of the year's new growth in spring and early summer. The genus name honors Luis Blet, a Spanish apothecary who had a botanic garden in Algeciras, a city in the Cadiz region of Spain, towards the end of the 18th century.

The genus have a reputation as the easiest orchid for a beginner to grow. Hardy Orchid does best in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade. Where the summer days are hot, some afternoon shade is essential. It is often grown in beds, borders, or pots. Plant corm-like pseudo-bulbs to 4 inches deep in spring. After flowering, continue to provide regular moisture until the leaves die down. This plant may not be winter hardy at USDA zone 5 and above and needs to be mulched in winter in colder climates. It will naturalize over time in optimum growing conditions by short rhizomes.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Watch for aphids, white flies and mealy bugs.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Dry Stream Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albostriata'
  • 'Albo Striata'
  • B. ochracea
  • 'First Kiss'
'Albostriata', 'Albo Striata', B. ochracea , 'First Kiss'
Tags:
#showy flowers#perennial bulbs#purple flowers#spring flowers#orchid#partial shade tolerant#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albostriata'
  • 'Albo Striata'
  • B. ochracea
  • 'First Kiss'
'Albostriata', 'Albo Striata', B. ochracea , 'First Kiss'
Tags:
#showy flowers#perennial bulbs#purple flowers#spring flowers#orchid#partial shade tolerant#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Bletilla
    Family:
    Orchidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern Indo-China to Temperate East Asia
    Distribution:
    Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Viet-Nam
    Bulb Storage:
    Store corms in moist peat at 32 to 35 degrees F (0-2 degrees C).
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Produces small cattleya-like pink-purple blooms in terminal racemes of up to 12 blooms. Blooms are 2 inches wide. Flowers often open successively.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Produces 3-5 upright, pleated, mostly narrow, sword-shaped leaves up to 12 inches long, sheathing at the base.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Slender stems with dilated basal pseudo-bulbs. Stems are short, erect, leafy, and enclosed by tubular sheaths at base.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border