Growing orchids in zone 6 easy? in a peat bog.

njbiologyMay 20, 2005

I live in zone 6.

If i design a 6 long x 4 wide x 2 deep lined bog garden and fill it with peat & sand, and keep out run-off, will it be fairly easy to grow a few varieties of orchids, or are they very difficult to overwinter and to just keep alive?

i have a spot that gets, i think, only 4 hours sunlight.

[if there are varieties of hardy and/or native orchids, what are some suggested varieties?]

thanks,

steven

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plantfreak(z9aKyushuJapan)

There are many actually. As you know, bogs are sunny places in general, so these plants want full on sun, but with lots of companion plants around them for support (but also not much shading). Species to consider would be: Calopogon tuberosus (also C. pallidus), Pogonia ophioglossoides; Platenthera species, especially ciliaris, blephariglottis, psychodes, lacera; and Spiranthes species. Those are the obvious ones to me, and generally the most available although you will have to dig to find them. Honestly, your bog sounds a little shady for many, but I think you could still grow them.

Others, much less common and currently not in the trade, would include: Arethusa bulbosa, Cleistes divaricata (big and beautiful), Cleistes bifaria (a small cousin), and the rarer Platentheras (nivea, integra, etc). None are commercially available as far as I know. Also, the more southern Platentheras may not be fully hardy in zone 6. Getting any of these will be difficult.

You could also try the relatively easy to get Habenaria radiata (AKA the egret flower orchid). It is a Japanese native and very beautiful. It grows well in wet boggy conditions in the summer but prefers to dry out in the winter. Simply pull up the tiny bulbs in the fall, wash them, place them into a freezer bag with some slightly moist vermiculite, and place in the refrigerator (35-40F) for the winter. Replant when it gets warm. An easy to find species from many bulb companies.

Good luck and enjoy the adventure! PF

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 6:02PM
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fredsbog

Good info PF. I have many of the mentioned species in my bog but four hours is not enough sun for a bog garden.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 9:39PM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

psychodes will take quite a lot of shade. So will most cyps but ph does become a concern with them.

Most North American orchids take some research on conditions and experience to grow. Most are also expensive and difficult to find. Why not try something like Bletilla (cheap and easy, normal garden conditions with good drainage) to start and see how successful you are?

I agree with fredsbog, 4 hrs is going to be tough. 4 hrs direct middle of the day sun and additional indirect sun and you could probably do the grass pinks, habenarias and pogonias. Trial and error, go slow or it could get expensive.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 10:28AM
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njbiology

can i leave them in the peat bog in winter - or must i over-winter indoors; i only want those which can remain outdoors

does anyone know if moth orchid, a white orchid, is winterhardy - it says on the label down to 40 degrees f.

if the orchid labels say something like down to 40 f, does that mean they wont make it being left in a peat bog for the winter in zone 6b?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 1:46AM
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sal_mando(z6a SW Ohio)

By moth orchid, do you mean Phalaenopsis orchids? They will definitely not survive winter outdoors.
Bob

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 1:10PM
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njbiology

oh - that one - yes ok thanks

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 10:39PM
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