Do you know that it only takes two steps to learn how to grow ground orchids? Spathoglottis and Epidendrum are one of the easiest ground orchids to cultivate in the UK compared to other orchids. However, it’s not enough that you trust the plants themselves.
Planting ground orchids is easy, especially in the polytunnel, where you can maintain their ideal growing conditions. By reading the recommendations and tips below, combined with this structure’s use, you can feel more confident that your ground orchids will thrive. Still, it’s also worth emphasising that you have to do your research on what ground orchid you have to check for species-specific growing requirements.
How To Grow Ground Orchids For Beginners
Step #1. Division and planting
When growing ground orchids, you have to understand first how do you propagate these plants. The most common way to start ground orchids is by division. It’s as straightforward as it sounds, where you will separate a clump to get new plants.
You can choose to plant in the ground or pot as long as the roots will have enough space. For the preparation of the soil before planting, you can amend it with compost and fertiliser. It’s also important to loosen the ground, and you can use charcoal for this.
The ideal spacing among ground orchids divisions is three to six inches in an area that is shady or has low light. The spacing is easier to achieve in the greenhouse, and as a bonus, you can protect the vulnerable young plants from potential rainfall. Light plays a significant impact on ground orchids because, with too much, the leaves turn into a copper colour, and blooming will also be problematic.
Step #2. Maintenance
You can then maintain your ground orchids by watering them every five days or more. Much like other orchids, you don’t want to overwater them and cause rot. Therefore, let the roots dry completely between waterings while also wiping the leaves if they’re wet.
As mentioned earlier, you need to know what ground orchid you’re growing as they may have specific needs. For example, spathogolottis orchids are heavy feeders, and you need to feed them every four months with a time-release fertiliser. They also thrive on tropical temperatures, so if your area is in a cold region of the UK, you need to maintain the polytunnel at 75 to 90°F.
On the other hand, epidendrum orchids are not as picky in conditions, and they don’t require often repotting compared to other ground orchids. They still prefer indirect light, but they are more rigid under challenging situations. Epidendrum orchids will thrive in temperatures above 50°F, and you can fertilise every two weeks and water once a week to keep them healthy.
When growing ground orchids, you should also assume that they’ll need deadheading. This practice will ensure a healthy and continuous bloom, and it also helps in the UK garden’s overall aesthetics. Once a ground orchid stops blooming, cut the stem at a node below the flower to do so.
Caring For Ground Orchids
Solution for root rot
The emphasis is necessary on using well-draining soil when growing ground orchids because it can easily lead to overwatering if the medium has poor drainage. While saving overwatered orchids is possible, it’s best to avoid the situation altogether.
More than using a well-draining medium, you want to check the surface of it first before watering. Adjust according to the external or internal conditions such as humidity and temperature.
Solution for freezing temperatures
As mentioned earlier, ground orchids generally thrive in warmer climates. If ground orchids are in the UK area below 40°F, they can go dormant, or you’ll notice the dropping of leaves. Therefore, it’s safer to grow them in the polytunnel or have one ready to transplant during winter.
Depending on how harsh your temperatures get, you might also get away with mulching for root protection. It would help to know your growing zone to plan on the calendar and anticipate the freezing dates.
Solution for common pests and diseases
There are different common pests and diseases, according to the American Orchid Society. They include pests like aphids, thrips, mites, mealybugs to conditions such as black rot, leaf spot, and bud blast, to name a few. However, don’t let this list deter you as they are manageable and avoidable with proper diligence throughout the process of growing ground orchids.
The best solution for them will always be prevention, starting with cleanliness and sanitation. You want to have a holding area for new plants that may be carriers and if you notice infected orchids, isolate them immediately. You can prevent these problems from getting worst by continually checking your orchids so you can address the issues quickly.
If you want to have spathoglottis and epidendrum, you must prepare for their growing requirements in the UK. Learning how to grow ground orchids is quite simple, and it only requires understanding how to propagate and plant them and their maintenance needs. The most common way to start ground orchids is from clump division.
Afterwards, choose a low light location with well-draining and fertile soil. Space the plants at 6 inches and ensure that you never overwater or leave the plant and its roots wet. You can also make maintenance more comfortable in the greenhouse, especially for ground orchids with specific requirements.