Hardy Orchids from seed

I was looking at our patch of Bletilla 'Brigantes'...a hardy orchid hybrid between Bletilla striata and Bletilla ochracea and wondering what its offspring would look like.  I recalled that the late plantsman Don Jacobs grew bletillas from seed in his window sill, so I figured we'd give it a try.  If you've never handled orchid seed, it's a bit like handling tiny dust particles.  We harvested the seed before the pods cracked open and sowed them like we do our fern spores, and sealed them in a ziploc bag.  Sure enough, they germinated, and two years later actually flowered.  These are a sampling of the amazing variation from the 200 seedlings we potted.  We'll select a good representative sample of the variation including any unique individuals and plant them out in trial beds and watch how they develop.  How exciting! Read more [...]

Hardy Lady Slipper Orchids!!

Cypripedium, Lady Slipper Orchids, is a genus of woodland garden plants that are among the most desired of all native hardy orchids for sale, despite their often finicky requirements. Plant Delights Nursery is excited about our bare root shipment of responsibly grown, flowering size, cypripedium orchids we received yesterday.  These plants are nursery propagated and not collected from the wild. Fall is the best time for planting your hardy lady slipper orchid. Beds should be well-prepared and amended with compost unless you naturally have rich, organic soil. Dig a shallow but wide crater, spread the roots out flat (with eyes pointed upward), cover them with 1" of soil, and water in well. You should avoid planting your lady slipper orchid near aggressive groundcovers (such as ivy, vinca or Japanese pachysandra) or near the base of trees or large shrubs due to root competition. Check out this article on Cypripediums for more in depth information. Other Read more [...]

Cypripedium ‘Hank Small’ ladyslipper orchid

Cypripedium Hank Small4I remember when I discovered we could actually grow ladyslipper orchids in the garden, despite so many stories of them being impossible to cultivate.  The reality is that one ladyslipper, Cypripedium acaule is tough to move.  Otherwise, they’re easy.  I just took this photo of our clump of Cypripedium ‘Hank Small’…32 flowers this year!  I hope you will give these a try in your light shade garden.  A slightly moist soil is best, although this one is grown much too dry under a giant pine tree.