Monday, October 26, 2009

Chinese Ground Orchids

Posted by: Dawn

I really didn't know what a Chinese Ground Orchid was, all I knew about this flower was the fact it was marked down at Wally world for $3.50 a pot. Who can resist a bargain? I bought three pots. This was September of 2008, after this pretty flower had gone by. I could see remnants of a purple bloom but I really had no idea. I felt, all my life, how exotic it would be to try and grow orchids, I've heard so much about them.
Everything I read about orchids indicated "planting is above soil, or soil less", this is a beautiful flower that thrives with water mostly.

Well, I figured with three root bound pots divided into six clumps, how could I go wrong?
I had this bottom to a free standing humidifier that had gone bust. I thought it would make a perfect plant house one day, it also has wheels which is a plus. The above photo demonstrates what my foliage looked like after transplanting. Do you suppose I'd have a few living and thriving with these conditions?
You know....I thought if any one of these flowers survived I'd put them in my blue room which has an oriental feel to it. I still had no idea what these little flowers looked like.....maybe the pot will look awesome with bamboo shading glued up and down on the sides covering the bland black? A great idea but I just need to figure out how to waterproof the pot so I can wheel my orchids outside if they survived.
ANSWER: Here are my lovelies shortly after Christmas. Slowly, one by one each leaf turned brown which was nothing but an attraction to all my cats, what remained for greens were chewed on and suffered a beating at the paws of three felines!

I continued to be diligent with my watering and spent extra hours chasing cats away from the plants. I used my shears to snip any dead leaves that showed up.
By Valentines day I started to see a
everywhere. I lost one little sprout out of about eight and I never did figure out what happened, two out of the six clumps met their demise.

I've read different information on Chinese ground orchids. Some sources say they like being planted and can be hardy to zero degrees with insulation layered on top. I think I'll wait and see if I can foster more growth before I go planting these outside because I really just would like to see the flower!

My large pot spent the summer on my deck. We had to carefully tip the rain water out several times during the summer. The leaves started looking pretty good and look what happened after about two weeks of being back inside the house.

A flower bud....can you see the water drop on it?
Here is a photo of two buds together. It's hard to see the one in front of the plant but it has 2 buds. Eventually I will pull all of the dead growth. I've left some because it's bulbous and is still tied to the living plant.
This was my flower 2 weeks later. Further information tells the grower these flowers will bloom for 3 months and I suspect had I had more live I'd be enjoying a purple show until Christmas. These are also native to China, Japan and Taiwan.

One week later, I get a glimpse of the true orchid appearance, see the two lower leaves in comparison to the middle part of the flower, classic.
Can you see the water droplets on the outer part of the flower skin and on the other buds?
Upon closer inspection I found another flower.....
I tried to capture the prettiness of the purple. Here we see a photo of the same flower without the flash.
Another closer look.....just perfect nested between the fan of the leaves.
The upper view.....

Then another 2 weeks later all the flowers popped their heads out. I'm pleased to say that the final fact about this orchid is that they can have between 6 to 30 flowers on one stem. Stunning!
I'm also pleased to say.....I've grown orchids! In the Garden


  1. Dawn girl ! You worked so hard to keep these going .. I just know it was worth the effort ! You did a great job .. I wish they would be hardy to our grow zone .. the flowers are so pretty !
    Joy : )

  2. You have reaped the rewards of a diligent gardener for sure. Orchids are an area I have yet to tread...

  3. Hi guys, I have to take hubs to the oral surgeon today and will be back to pop in later on. I love these flowers, the second flower is ready to burst and the first one is just going by.

  4. They are most pretty Dawn. Like Darla orchids are an area I have not tried yet either though the flowers inside during the winter would be most welcomed. Do the orchids smell?

  5. They look good Dawn! I've never grown orchids before, I'm not much of a house plant person.

  6. You are one patient gal! :-) That was a lot of effort, so great to see those beautiful blooms rewarded you so well.


  7. Worth all that effort, Dawn! The blooms are indeed beautiful.

  8. Well done!! What great blooms. I know you are excited to have such success, I love it!

  9. Good for you--and I can see where the orchids get their name... wonderful purple, close to the ground. P.S. My cats must not be paying their dues, because they never get any of those "you should be eating plants" pamphlets set out by the Cat Union, lol!

  10. Lovely but a lot of work. My friend's father is a big orchid grower and I've watched all the chores he does to keep his orchids in top condition.

  11. Beautiful Dawn. I love that color. I was given one a couple yrs ago that was in bloom at the time. It had 2 stalks on it the next yr. Now it's just sitting there. Per your instructions maybe I can get it to bloom again.

  12. Wonder, Dawn! I love bletillas! I killed mine though, for some reason my bulbs rotted before they come up. I will give them another try. All I do is kill real orchids and those ARE expensive. I love they way the the ground orchichids look. Gorgeous!

  13. Great job Dawn!! Those blooms are so pretty and that was a good deal also. With all the house plants I have had over the years I have never tried orchids. Maybe cause I do neglect my house plants. Frances grows a lot or different orchids.

  14. What a find and clever use of the humidifier! The flowers are delightful and must be a treat in December...I couldn't help but notice the snow covered yard outside the window! gail

  15. You rock! I am in awe of anyone who grows orchids, they seem so challenging. I love the color of these blooms.
    I have to master the marigolds first. :)

  16. Well done, they are really stunning, I have never manage to get the Chinese Ground Orchid to bloom again.


  17. What pretty flowers! What a great deal and look how many flowers you ended up with!

  18. Hi guys, Good to be home!
    Hi Joy, Thanks! I know I wish they would be hardy to our zone too, they say these are easy to grow outside.
    Darla, until alittle while ago I didn't realize the lady slipper is a orchid, makes sense and of course they are wild.
    Tina, nope, no smell. I'm surprised you don't do these, it's said to be hardy in you area. They are lasting a long time.
    How it grows, thanks!
    Dave, thanks! The house plants give me good greens for the stark winter.
    Cameron, thanks, now I'm thinking about the next year!
    Kanak, I tried to get the prettiness of the color but I think the airy feel of the orchid brings a special something to the flower.
    Janet, Yes! I was so excited to see buds, I'd almost given up.

  19. I may give it another look then. I've tried some orchids in the garden with no luck:( Maybe that is why I'm shy. Not so big on inside plants.

  20. Monica, Ha! Those kitties are slipping!
    Marnie, Yes they are a lot of work, they are pretty tho, I'd like some other colors but these are good for right now.
    Lola, I'm hoping next year will bring more flowers, more attention and some fertilizer might help.
    Mom, You did so well with your angel wing, I thought this might be up your ally. I'll split mine for you sometime.
    Gail, I thought the container was pretty smart of me and yes, snow! It's coming again.
    Rosey, Tee hee, I found marigolds are either hit or miss, when they hit for me they are wonderful!
    Tyra, I'm hoping for a greater amount of flowers next year but I know how it goes sometimes, my paperwhites have yet to flower again.
    Catherine, These were a good deal but as always you take a chance with the bargins, I'm happy with these.
    Tina, yes, try these. I know what helped (big time) was putting them outside, if I didn't do that I might of waited til next year to see flowers.

  21. Bletilla has really beautiful flowers. I first read about this orchid in Passalong Plants. I need to try them!

  22. I'd say the blooms were well worth the wait! Hope you have many years of enjoyment out of these pretty Orchids. :)

  23. Dawn, this is a great lesson in patience and perseverance! I would have given up long ago, but you've given me some inspiration to hang on to that amaryllis that seems to be dead in hopes it will come back this winter. I've never heard of Chinese orchids before, but they're lovely!

    Fortunately, my cats don't eat houseplants, but they enjoy knocking over the pots:)

  24. Dawn, these foliage look exactly like the 'perennial orchid' I purchased this summer...which is still in it's pot but said to be winter hardy for my zone(6). The description said purple flowers, too. Nice recap from her early stage to the great reward of her pretty blooms, despite the kitties ;)

  25. I consider it a great accomplishment to grow ANYTHING! Your flowers are always a pleasure to see.

  26. They are beautiful Dawn. I must say, I would have tossed them with the dead look but you hung in there and are now reaping the rewards! They are beautiful....

    Hope JOAT is okay and not in any pain...

  27. Sweetbay, yes, do try. I was really surprised when our wally world had them, course I really did not know!
    Racquel, Thanks! I hope they will multiply so I can share, hummm wonder what's the best fertilizer.
    Rose, I'd hang onto those amaryllis, who knows? and they are so pretty when they decide to show us!
    What's worst with the kitties? Me thinks with the upset stomache the mess ends up to be the same!
    Lynn, I'll bet they are the same thing, these are becomming common and said to be fairly easy growing once happy. Do your do well?
    Dot, I so agree!
    Skeeter, he's in some more pain because he's stubborn and let the pain medicine go but tonight he is resting comfortably, thank goodness! We bought a ranger 4x4 for #1 son so hubs didn't get a clue until the "newness" wore off, geez, boys with their toys! Hope the grades will hold, that's all I gotta say!

  28. I used to have a greenhouse full of tropical orchids, but ended up deciding it was way too much work. About that time I found the white version of the Chinese ground orchid and put them in a sorta-dry raised bed. They've bloomed and multiplied over the last many years. I'd say tough as nails, but we hardly ever get frosts. Since you have several, maybe you could use one for an experiment outside? They're definitely one of the most rewarding outdoor-friendly orchids if you can get them through the winter.

  29. Dawn, Just bought myself one of these and am looking forward to it doing good things for me-thanks for the info and I hope yours is still doing well.

  30. Your ground orchids look fantastic. I have a couple that have done OK with almost total neglect. Perhaps I should give them a little more TLC and see how they respond :)