About the Chinese Ground Orchids (Bletilla striata)

(Question)

I recently bought 3 rhizomes of these beautiful orchids. I’m wondering if I can be plant them in my garden, like a perennial plant or I should plant them in a pot and bring them indoors for the winter. I live in North York (Dufferin and Wilson area). Also, what kind of soil I should use to plant them? Thanks and have a blooming spring- summer.

 

(Answer)

 

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

The Bletilla striata or Chinese ground orchid is a species of flowering plant in the orchid family, native to Japan, Korea, Myanmar and China. It will form a clump of 50 centimetres or 20″ tall and wide with pink flowers in the Spring and sword-shape leaves.

It is known to be hardy in the United Kingdom in shelter locations down to -10 degrees C. The temperature conditions in the Toronto however are significantly different and the temperature can drop lower than -10 degrees C and be significantly dryer in the winter months than conditions in Asia and the UK.

It would be our recommendation that you plant the rhizomes in a terracotta pot with organically rich, well drained soil.  The rhizomes should be planted about 4″ deep in the pot and keep moist though not wet. The pot can be placed in the garden in a part shade sheltered location with lots of light but without direct sun especially in the afternoon. Keep the pot out of the wind.  Transition the pot from the garden into the house in early fall before the risk of frost.

It would be a shame to lose the orchids due to a quick frost or unseasonable drop in temperature.

We also have a fabulous guide on orchids that will give you additional information. It is located at:

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/gardeningguides/growing-orchids-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/

Happy gardening.