Now is the time to order Pleiones.

orchidnickDecember 2, 2010

The time to order these beauties is now. Fraser's Thimble Farm ships more of them in Dec than during the rest of the year. They are located in Canada but will take care of all the paperwork and your package arrives with all the legal documents. No import permit is required. Cities and Phyto sanitary cost $25, same for 1 or 1000 plants, so if you order only one plant it doubles or triples the cost, if you order more, the cost gets diluted.

Pleiones grow in the foothills of the Himalayas , make stunning displays but are not grown well by most people. 98% of them bloom in the spring and require the following care:

If you order some now, they will arrive in a zip-lock bag containing soil and one bulb. Place them near the front of the vegetable drawer of your fridge. They must not freeze which is why the front is safer. This is their home between Thanksgiving and Valentine's day. In mid Feb take them out and pot them up. Start watering and fertilizing as soon as a growth appears. It flowers first, then makes leaves which will drop in late summer/early fall. A cold greenhouse is not required, place them in a shady spot. After it goes deciduous water should be withheld and by end of Nov, early Dec, they go back into the veg drawer to repeat the cycle. By the spring you may notice a new bulb which will bloom in 2 years. You can leave it and make a nice display (SBOE has a large tray with about 50 of them blooming at the same time) or separate it and make new plants.

There are a few which bloom in the fall, I have Pleione precox and Pleione Madera (formosana x precox) both of which bloom near the end of the year. I grow them in cool enviroment and withhold water when they are deciduous. They are the exception.

Since I know very little about the different hybrids, I just asked Fraser at Thimble Farm to send me an assortment of easy, yet stunningly beautiful (wish) ones for a total of $200, all expenses included. He sent me 9 of them including Madera which has a flower forming. Madera is outside in a cool spot and may make it to the our Xmas meeting, the others are in the veggie drawer waiting for spring. The cost of shipping and documentation ate up $50 of the $200.

If interested, now is the time to order, either make your own selection or let him make it, giving him a budget. Try a few at first and if successful expand next Dec. Ahnuld (Our termed out governator) said he won't get any as he has to move his fridge soon.


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    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 8:46AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

It still puzzles me why these things are so darned hard to come by in the US. For we winter-indoor-space challenged growers, Pleione are almost perfect. They occupy no grow space for most of the winter while they are in storage, they bloom in spring and then can be placed outside for the summer. The flowers are drop dead gorgeous.

HereâÂÂs what I ordered today, but from a US source:

Peione confusa
Pleione Formosana
Pleione bulbocodiodes
Pleione Tolima (parents are speciosa x formosa)

I also wanted grandiflora and maculata , but they werenâÂÂt shipping those 2 this time of year. The 4 I purchased were the only other ones he had right now.

Total came to $92 plus $4.95 shipping. The search goes on.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 4:55PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

I'm very tempted to order a few just to try. Do they tolerate summer heat well? I had some formosanas that multiplied, but were potted up/watered too early and rotted....also, I am a little disgruntled that US nurseries are not as hassle free about plants coming northwards across the border.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 5:39PM
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Who did you order them from, Kevin? On summer heat, in Vancouver he grows them outside in the summer.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 6:41PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Nick - I already sent you this link for my source, but others might be interested.

Calvin - I doubt potting up too early would result in rot, but watering too early would or storing them in damp sphag over winter would. I keep mine in bone dry peat in the fridge and have never lost a single one. When I pot them up, I use a completely dry mix of sphag, bark and perlite. After potting, I water them once and not again until after they're done blooming because new roots don't start growing until this time. I may mist the top of the mix a few times while the buds are emerging, but I don't soak the pots.

They love being outside in slightly shaded conditions. Mine handle the heat of summer without problems as long as I keep them well watered.


Here is a link that might be useful: Asuka Orchids

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 3:35PM
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jamcm(Ottawa Area, Canada)

It's all about market size, Calvin - for US vendors, Canada is a small market and for most is therefore not really worth the effort (we're talking about well upwards of 100 hours worth of paperwork for them to be able to export), whereas the US is a huge market.

And I ordered a couple Cypripediums from Thimble Farms. Very late Fall is the right time for these guys/ladies too ;-)


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 8:21AM
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raehelen(USDA 7-8)

Hi, I just bought a couple of Pleione orchids this spring. They bloomed and I have had them outside on my deck tucked away in a shady corner. They have thrived. It looks like I have new bulbils forming...are the roots green? When you say you put them in the veggie crisper over you unpot them? Place them in some sort of medium in the bag? So, I assume the leaves will die off on their own sometime by late summer? Obviously, I bring them in before frost... Thanks for any help...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:16PM
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I let the leaves fall off, reduce watering and put them in the fridge between Thanksgiving and Valentine's day. Take them out of the soil, wash them off, dry them so they are damp and in a definite damp state lock them in a zip lock baggie with their tag. Fall bloomers have a different schedule but are not common.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 4:02PM
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