|Macodes Jewel Orchid ( terrarium plant)|
The commonest terrestrial orchid I see locally in Miami is Spathoglottis, a long name for a nice plant. They look so appealing in the garden center, and seem to fizzle out so quickly once you get them home and into the ground. It's an easy plant to grow, a little harder to grow well. It likes a bright spot with morning sun, plus a good rich well-drained soil, plus consistent moisture plus equally consistent fertilizer. This translates to planting under an open-canopy tree, plenty of organic material in the soil, regular watering , good mulch, and slow-release fertilizer such as Dynamite in the planting soil.
I hate to tell orchid growers this factoid, but orchids are just plants; they're not royalty. They need the same basic care as other plants do, with the exception of their potting medium, in most cases. Granted, there are some exceptional and flashy terrestrial orchids out there from mountainous tropical areas which will never grow as landscape plants here. I like the ones that come from lowland locales, such as the hard-leaved Reed Orchids. These are wonderfully adaptable plants which thrive in our heat and rain, propagate by simple tip cuttings, and can grow in or on just about anything. The Hawaiian growers are releasing dozens of new colors, as are some of the local growers who are tapping into a landscape-plant marker.
Nun Orchids have waned in popularity for no good reason; they're still delightful plants. They show up in nurseries and garden centers around March, in time for an Easter blooming. Like Spathoglottis, they like bright light, good, rich soil, and consistent moisture. A good general rule is to grow soft-leaf terrestrial orchids as you would grow ferns, and the two groups can be mixed easily. With so many options available for orchids in the ground and on trees, you can add yet another persona to your garden.