a beautiful gift - Ground Orchid????

beth7happyOctober 24, 2008

Did you ever receive a beautiful gift, but have absolutely NO idea what to do with it???? Someone gave me a couple of ....pieces, is the best I can describe... I was told that it's a 'ground orchid'....looks like leaves and some roots to me. I have to DO something with it before it dies. HELP! Shade? Sun? ...under something or all by itself??? It's just lying on the patio in a box...I know that won't work!!!!!

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cindeea(FtMyers 10)

Do you have photos Bethie? Ground orchids like shade. Other than that I don't know. Either Zone 10 is too hot for em or I just don't know how to keep em alive unless they are epidendrums.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 9:16PM
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Chinese ground orchid is said to be quite hardy in our climate. Does need shade, though not deep shade. My Nun's orchid is a type of ground orchid and although it's in a pot, I leave it outside most of the year. North Fl gets too many really cold nights in the winter,so the pot allows me to bring it into the lanai when needed. It usually blooms shortly after Christmas - VERY early spring.
I'd plant your chunks of root in a pot with soil that drains well, water when the soil gets dry and feed minimally spring to fall. When it's big enough to recognize, it can be planted in the garden. Mulch heavily in winter. Give it 2 -3 years to get big enough to bloom. Most ground orchids put up a tall stem of blooms - I've had as many as 12 on one stem. Be patient, it will reward you handsomely. cora

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 10:45PM
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    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 8:35AM
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I don't know much about orchids, but that doesn't look like a ground orchid to me. It looks like a regular orchid, possibly even a vanilla orchid. I would just try to arrange the pieces with roots in a pot in regular orchid mix and root the piece with no roots in a spaghnum moss filled pot. Stake it up with a tiny stake and keep it moist and in bright shade.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 10:15AM
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Congrats you've got an Epidendrum radicans which is also known as E. ibaguense. Here's some information:

A reed stem Epidendrum, which normally grows up to three feet tall. This species is very easy to cultivate. The plant branches freely, and throws out lateral growths and aerial roots rapidly. Best grown on where support of the rambling canes and numerous lateral growths can be provided. Tolerates wide variety of temperature and environmental conditions. In temperate climates, can be grown outside, where it rapidly forms a hedge mass.
Epidendrum radicans bears a densely flowered head of red/orange flowers, with yellow throats, on a inflorescence which arises from the top of the cane. The flowers open sequentially and are very long lasting.

I've just dropped them on the soil (yes dirt) and let them do their own thing - I'll post pictures. I've got them around my garden in full sun and mostly shade. Both work. Nice gift!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 11:17AM
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cindeea(FtMyers 10)

OH YIPPEE Beth, you will love these guys they are so easy. I just landed a bunch at Ricky's swap. They come in all different colors too!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 5:19PM
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I have a purple epi I bought at a big box. It got pretty scraggly looking in the pot, all the canes that had bloomed were dying back and it didn't have room to send up new shoots. So I just stuck it in the ground a few weeks ago in a really well drained spot with morning sun then bright shade. It's been sending up new shoots ever since. It wanted space. And dirt. I'm hopeful it will bloom again, now that I've given it some room.

I also have an orange epi that was given to me as a housewarming gift. I didn't plant it in the right place (can't really see the orange blooms backed by the cream colored house) but it has sent up a lot of new shoots and rebloomed for me a couple times. With no care. They are really easy. I'd bet with a little care, I'd probably get more blooms. I'm just not sure what sort of care they'd like. Anyone know? Orchid fertilizer?


    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 5:30PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Beth, I've had these for years and love them. I have them planted in outdoor beds. They prefer about 2/3 day full sun to look and bloom their best. These actually could do with a little more sun. They require very little and bloom for about 6-7 months for me starting in January-February and going to July before they look really tired. Nothing beats them for color, ease and disease resistance. Mine receive once weekly irrigation, little or no fertilizer, and the sunniest spot my yard can presently provide. Every year I try to expand my clumps by cutting off pieces and putting them in a pot with potting soil until established and growing (a few months) and then plant in the ground. They can even take full Florida sun, but get a bit bleached out in summer. 2/3 day full sun is about right. The more sun, the more compact and the less leggy they look, the more they bloom. The less fertilizer, the stronger they grow with no pests or spots. Tough plants. A favorite for me. Here's one of my clumps from last spring:


    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 6:47PM
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all the SUPER information! Thanks, friends! wondering: just made a 1.5' wide bed along a chain link fence...gets a few hours of late afternoon sun..maybe more in winder if the oak leaves to the east become sparse. I've planted some amaryllis in there...just single bulbs right now. The area only gets water if it rains or if we use the hose - sprinklers don't reach. Wondering if these plants might work with the amaryllis?? The soil is very gently amended...not real great yet - just some potting soil mixed into the sand. Any opinioins???

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 6:57PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Beth, I might try planting these in a pot with potting soil first till established, then transferring to ground. That seems to work best for me, anyway. Soil amending is always good, but not that necessary for these. Water either. I think sun is the most important of all factors. The more sun, the happier you will be with how they look and how they bloom. I wish I had more sun to give mine.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 7:41PM
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I have to agree, put them in a pot first and then transplant to the ground. I've got a huge grouping that gets full afternoon sun - and in the summer it's a little washed out, but otherwise, bloom bloom bloom. Here's an example:

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 9:15PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Have some further ?? Can anyone tell for sure the cutting is actually Epidendrum radicans?? Like all orchids there are dozens of kinds within the family and the major difference seems to be flower color?? They range from white to purple to bicolors but the yellow orange is runaway the most common and by far the hardiest IME. So can anyone actually identify the cuttings without flowers?? Often see the different colors in the box stores but I can't tell the difference when out of flower??
I have not found any situation where the yellow orange will not grow the big difference is the amount of flowers and the duration of flowering.
The best IME is in a trough with a a mixture of peat, perlite and tree fern in full blazing sun. Another is growing on compressed tree fern through the roof of the shadehouse where I mix them with Catts and and terete Vandas. .In both situations I get alot more flowers but a lot less growth as opposed to full shade where the growth is far superior.
I do find that when grown as an epiphyte they will not support themselves like the various Vandas. So require constant relocating the offsets.
So anybody know the trick to the ID of the family??
Thanks gary

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 5:11AM
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olyagrove(z9 Tampa, FL)

Gary has a good point. From the picture of the cutting, one can for sure tell it is a reed stem epidendrum; beyond that, to say whether it is a species orchid, or a hybrid, one would need to wait for a flower. Radicans is a good assumption, as it is quite widespread.
E. ibaguense is a different species from radicans...

Good culture notes:


    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 8:03AM
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So...here's what I did - this is a foreign soil to me! *smirk* Didn't want to go buy anything, sooooo...grabbed a couple of pots..think maybe they're azelea pots ...they look like orchid pots but bigger? Anyway..lotta drain holes. Tossed a handful of moss...a handful of orchid mix and a lil bit of potting soil...stuck the cutting into the pot and sort of half-covered some of the plant and some of the roots...watered and put it on the ground in a garden...gets morning sun..maybe til noontime. ???? Should I go change something? hope i don't kill these things....

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 1:42PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Beth, Gary and Olya are absolutely right. Although the probability that it is an orange flower with a yellow lip is the greatest, we cannot assume that. There are yellow, red, purple ones and everything inbetween by now, probably. However, the orange ones are by and far the most common and most prolific. My purple ones are more compact looking, still hasn't provided me with enough growth to share (after 2 years), and seems stubbier. They are all grown pretty much the same, and time will tell. Remember that sun is what will bring these blooms, so give them the most you can, especially in the winter. By the way, mine never show any duress during our winters. They love the cool weather. Your media is probably fine, I just use regular potting soil, but I would recommend more sun if you have it.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 4:58PM
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