28.10.10

The Ill-Named 'Ground Orchids"- part 1- Spathoglottis

One of the more prevalent of the terrestrial orchids in local cultivation is Spathoglottis. So often this group is lumped into the ill-named "ground orchid" group. "Terrestrial orchid" is more accurate than "ground orchid". While it is true that Spathoglottis are strictly soil-dwellers, I find the generality of the 'ground orchid' misnomer to be counterproductive. We have such great information resources here and on the Internet that we can and should use the proper terms. There are some terrestrial orchids which can also grow in trees, such as Cyrtopodium, Cymbidium, and Epidendrum, amongst many others. 








Spathoglottis are wonderful landscape plants but they do require some attention. Regular irrigation to prevent drying out, strong yet filtered light, deep organic soil with good drainage, and regular liquid fertilizing are all prerequisites for growing Spathoglottis successfully. Within the last 10 years there has been a renaissance in this orchid genus with a rainbow of flower colors available ranging from pure white to deep purple, including several types that are fragrant as well as colorful. Several tissue culture "bloodlines" have been introduced, allowing for highly consistent plants with desirable growth characteristics to be propagated en masse and at reasonable cost. These plants are increasingly common in retail markets and are very tempting for the first time buyer. Understand and tend to their special needs and they will grow productively for you.   

Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens
          

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