Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bletilla Orchids

A small genus of hardy orchids including 2 landscape plants grown in temperate regions around the world.

Bletilla ochracea
Native to Japan and eastern China, this clumping Orchid grows up to 2.7 x 2.2 ( rarely over 2 ) feet. Its basal and stem foliage is lance shaped and up to 17 x 3 inch. The leaves are striate and heavily pleated.
The flowers are light to dark yellow, from May to June.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 preferring medium shade on moist well drained soil. Grows very well in the southeast and Mid Atlantic U.S.

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Bletilla striata ( Chinese Ground Orchid )
Native to eastern China and Japan, this easy to grow perennial reaches a maximum clump size of 3 x 4 feet though usually remaining under 2 feet in height. Some records include: 2 foot spread in 5 years. Looks great in shady gardens esp. with large boulders.
The long, pleated leaves grow from the soil and are up to 24 x 5 ( rarely over 18 x 3 ) inches in size. The semi-evergreen foliage is deep green.
The reddish-pink to rose-purple flowers, up to 2 inches, are borne on racemes during late spring into early summer.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 in partial shade on cool, moist, humus-rich, fertile, well drained soil.
Clumps can be divided during early spring. Early spring is also the best time to install new plants.

* photos taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos taken on April 14 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on June 1 2014 @ Maryland Horticulturalist Society garden tour, Ellicott City
* photo taken on May 15 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 25 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 24 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Apr 24 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA


Some cultivars include:

'Alba'
White flowers, otherwise similar.

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


'Albostriata'
Thin white margin on leaves.

'First Kiss'
White flowers.
The foliage has a thin white margin.

Kuchibeni'
Very similar to species.

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC


Bletilla yokohoma
Reaching up to 15 x 16 inches in size with green leaves and lavender flowers, otherwise similar.

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