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Monday, July 22, 2013

Ground Orchid - Spathoglottis x parsonsii

Identifying its name is quite a feat. 
I'm amazed that there are so many versions of their names that I really cannot put a finger and say that this is it. Anyway regardless the scientific descriptions the closest I got was:
Spathoglottis X Parsonii. 

I believe it is a hybrid - a mix of two different species. Spathoglottis Plicata seemed to be the common ones where there are no dual tone colours on them - they are either all yellow or white to pink to strong magenta shades.

My Ground Orchid story begins right at the beginning of my garden blogging time where I purchased this plant and managed to keep it alive since 2008 (that's 5 years from now) 
It was tough - I almost killed it with over-fertilising it thinking that it would finally bloom.

It rarely bloom during those few years (3 years ago - I think)
and if it did - that would be one singular spike with few flowers lasting for a week or two. 
(I took the trouble to go through my entire blog to hunt down this orchid and found that I actually had avoided writing about it but up-loaded the pictures here and there)

Guess my frustrations shows beyond to the cyber world. 
I doubt anyone would had hatred it and might had dumped it but more than anything - this one is truly a difficult one to care. I had purchased two of this kind - Spathoglottis plicata and both died a slow death.

My success story begins two years ago when I had divided the plant into 3 different pots. One I had passed to my friend who is now finding it hard to keeping this one alive. 
(The last time I saw it in his house - the leaves had turned brown but not dried) 

So breaking its code of success and secrets is truly a hard nut to crack. I can tell you what worked for me. Hope it might give you the same results. (no promises of course)

1) Sunlight.
These need good bright sunlight to bloom. 
No Sunlight - no Orchids.
(Please not blazing desert hot sun on them - they might turn crisp before you know it)

2) Fast Draining soil.
Earlier the roots where staying strong in a compact deep pot. 
I had tear open / cut / break them up into clumps and plant them in long medium shallow pots and used fast draining soil instead of clay soil (earlier)
The plant had an initial shock but recovered very fast. 
With new growth came new flower spike. 

3) Fertiliser
I found that chemical based fertiliser seemed not to work well with me. I had switched to organic fertiliser and they seemed to handle to it so well. I would suggest them instead of those red granules ones - as I almost killed it when I accidentally applied a strong dosage on them.

4) Flower Spike
The Flower spike can last almost for 6 months so do take care of it not to prune them when they appear to be leggy. 
(unless you are not so keen in keeping those spiky florets) 
Once - the flower turned into a berry-like fruit. 

5) Burnt Leaves
Too much sun may cause burnt leaves on them. So that's the price you have to pay in getting those blooms. 
Too shaded = no blooms = well developed green leaves.
Too hot/bright sun = flower spikes = burned leaves & holes on them.

Once they start flowering, it would be a yearly thing and you would look forward in seeing those flower spikes lasting for months and that is a wonderful feeling in knowing that you had made a good decision in keeping this orchid in your garden giving a long-term rewards of blooming for months to come.

6) Pest
You have to watch out for whiteflies - they just love to infest underneath the leaves and spraying pesticide on them can proof very difficult. Somehow I find that ants are guarding them - collecting nectar from the flowers so I suspect that they are not giving up this plants easily for other insects to invade this one.

(Please don't get me wrong - some ants are also a pest - farming ones that they bring mealy bugs and scale insects with them - eradicating those is really hard as you are handling two different species at one time)

Do share with me your experience with this orchid. 
I would truly like to know your success story of what you did & didn't do and if it didn't go well with you 
(at least it would be a good thing not to repeat the mistake for others to follow)

These are the old pictures where the plant only gives out one spike within the year and barely last more than a week or so. This started blooming when I placed it to a brighter area. Very much earlier it was actually having a strong shaded area.

The good part is that the leaves rarely got burned and they beautifully looked like palm leaves. And that is the price to pay in keeping them in shade - they never bloomed. (last pictures)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cleared the Messy Garden

Finally I decided to put the Costus into a planter box spacing and just keep the big pots with Coleus as the mains. I had ditched the Angelonias as they seemed to be messy here.
Hopefully these will prove to be neat looking and beautiful for months to come.

I just kept one good looking blue Angelonia here. My Ground Orchids are blooming gloriously this season and few of other novelties that requires to make mention. I might come to that later in more detail as I need to clean up the internal side of my garden.
(my next week garden project - that is when I find the time) 

About Me

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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