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Chinese Ground Orchid

Bletilla striata

A deer-resistant, woodland beauty, Chinese ground orchid has small pinkish-purple flowers for weeks in spring. The petite blossoms reflect the plant name and look like orchids growing along thin stems that stand 18 inches tall. A great plant for rock gardens or the front of part-shade borders, Chinese ground orchids spread slowly to form a carpet of foliage.

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Light:

Part Sun, Shade

Type:

Height:

1 to 3 feet

Width:

6 to 12 inches

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Special Features:

Zones:

6-9

Propagation

Colors of Chinese Ground Orchid

Unlike many spring blooming bulbs, Chinese ground orchid retains it foliage until it is killed back by frost. This trait makes it great for carpeting soil near the front of a flower border. The broad, orchidlike leaves are a complement to fuzzy lady's mantle foliage, finely cut astilbe leaves, and hosta leaves. Plant Chinese ground orchid near the base of black snakeroot or Rodger's flower.

How to Grow Chinese Ground Orchid

Chinese ground orchid thrives in organically rich, moist soil that is drains well. A part-shade location is ideal, although Chinese ground orchid will grow in full shade. Chinese ground orchid grows well in light, humus-rich soil such as found in the forest. Mimic this nutrient-rich environment by augmenting the soil in the selected planting location with a 4- to 6-inch-layer of well-decomposed compost.

See more shade-loving perennial plants!

Plant the cormlike bulbs of Chinese ground orchid 4 inches deep in spring. Water plants well  throughout the season because regular moisture is essential for good growth. When planted in optimum growing conditions, Chinese ground orchid will spread to create a colony. Plants are marginally hardy in Zone 5 and benefit from a thick layer of mulch in winter.

Don't know which zone you are in? Find out here.

A true orchid, Chinese ground orchids have a long vase-life. Harvest stems when one or two blooms are open. Plunge in a vase of fresh water. Replace the water daily, and the other blooms will open in following days.

Plant Chinese Ground Orchid With:

Hosta
This plant hardly grown 40 years ago is now one of the most commonly grown garden plants. But hosta has earned its spot in the hearts of gardeners -- it's among the easiest plants to grow, as long as you have some shade and ample rainfall.Hostas vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shape leaves almost 2 feet long that can be puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged -- the variations are virtually endless. Hostas in new sizes and touting new foliage features seem to appear each year. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plaintain lily, blooms with white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slug and deer.
Astilbe
Astilbe brings a graceful, feathering note to moist, shady landscapes. In cooler climates in the northern third or so of the country, it can tolerate full sun provided it has a constant supply of moisture. In drier sites, however, the leaves will scorch in full sun.Feathery plumes of white, pink, lavender, or red flowers rise above the finely divided foliage from early to late summer depending on the variety. It will spread slowly over time where well-situated. Most commercially available types are complex hybrids.
Lady's mantle
Lady's mantle looks great in the garden and in a vase. Its scalloped leaves catch rain or drewdrops, making them look dusted with jewels. The chartreuse flowers appear in playful, frothy clusters above the foliage. Lady's mantle is ideal for softening the edge of a shaded path or creating a groundcover in dappled shade.
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