How to Care for Ground Orchids

Have you been afraid of growing ground orchids, as many gardeners say that the flowers are difficult to grow and care for? Then think again, as we here at Plantly want to help by providing you with some easy tips to get started. But before we get into all the details, it helps to know more about this unique, outdoor plant.

What is a Ground Orchid?

ground orchid

The ground orchids refer to the Spathoglottis species that make up a total of 40 orchids, each with a wide natural distribution. You find the ground orchid growing in India and the Pacific in diverse locations.

The tropical orchids, unfortunately, will not survive frost but love a warm yet wet environment. The plants are terrestrial and suitable for growing in ground beds or a tropical landscape.

Another extraordinary thing is they grow well in South Florida in the landscaping and containers. The flowers range in colors white, yellow, purple, pink, and other varieties. When you look at Spathoglottis species, many say they are shade lovers, and the Spathoglottis plicata, for example, is the Philippine ground orchid.

But ground orchids in Southern Florida can grow in full sun, but part shade to full shade is best. Furthermore, the plants grow to a foot tall and have a spreading growth looking like wildflowers.

The blossom display in the warm months with arched leaves looking pleated looks like palm fronds brightening up the garden. So, you can become a master gardener with the ground orchids. You can grow them massed as a groundcover, in front of a border, along walkways, or around a small palm.

Growing Ground Orchids

ground orchid care

You have learned that you can grow ground orchids in the garden or in containers. So, let’s dig up some dirt to care for this colorful plant you can grow as a perennial or indoor plant.

Soil for a Ground Orchids

When it comes to the best soil for your ground orchids, we will first look at container growing. Yet, growing your orchid in a pot is great if you live in a cold environment, as you can bring it indoors during winter.

potting mix

Furthermore, you can control your plants growing medium. We recommend using an organic medium with perlite or sand for added drainage. As your orchid grows shallow roots, the width of the pot is more important to consider than the depth.

coco peat

So, pick a bowl-shaped planter with enough drainage holes that are a bit wider than deeper. The width will help accommodate the growth of your ground orchid that spreads with rhizomes growing horizontally.

You can expect to transplant your ground orchids every three years but ensure that it has well-draining soil to prevent root rot. For garden growing, organic matter also helps, like garden loam with peat added.

Also, space your plants up to 18-inches apart, giving them room to spread out. When planting the pseudobulbs, ensure that it is above ground and not berried.

Light Exposure for a Tropical Orchids

ground orchid under full sun

The ground orchid can live in a range of light from full sun to light shade. For plants in the garden, it helps to choose a planting location where they will receive a few hours of sun each day. It helps to provide your orchids with bright indirect sunlight for indoor growing. The key is lots of light, allowing your plant to bloom.

Watering Ground Orchids to Prevent Root Rot

The orchid grows best in soil that is moist but not soggy, especially during the growing season. So, it needs well-draining soil to allow excess water to run freely from a container or away from the roots in the garden.

If you find your garden soil water-retentive, you can grow them in a raised bed. A golden rule is to water the orchid when you notice the top layer of soil dry and best moistened in the morning.

Fertilizing Ground Orchids

For the Spathoglottis to produce flowers, you need fertilizer to achieve the best results. It would be best if you did this regularly with this species. When grown in the garden, only feed your orchid if the ground is nutrient poor, and only do this at one-quarter as you would with other flowers.

compost with earthworms

You can add some compost into the garden and apply more around the plants at the beginning of the growing season. For indoor plants, you can provide a liquid nitrogen feed regularly or a slow-release fertilizer to encourage blooms.

It also depends on the species you have and the environment it grows.

Temperature & Humidity

Whether grown in the landscape or in a pot, the tropical plant needs a nighttime temperature of 60°F or a temperature range of 75° F to 90°F. If you live in an area with frost, these plants are not cold, hardy, and best kept indoors.

The orchid prefers a high humidity level between 60% to 70%. When grown in gardens, you can invest in a hydrometer to keep an eye on the moisture levels in the air. The important thing is to provide your flowers with air circulation between the foliage.

Furthermore, for indoor plants, you can place your orchids with other moisture-loving plants. Another great thing is to prune your orchids by removing dead growth or leaves.

Propagating Orchid Plants

The best way to propagate your orchid is through clump division. You can do this by separating your plants from the clump in the ground or a container. Ensure that you provide your new plants with space to grow. After the propagation, provide all your plants with nutrients to fertilize or use an organic medium.

Ground Orchids Varieties

There are over 40 species of Spathoglottis, and some popular varieties exist.

S. plicata

Spathoglottis plicata

The orchid you often see growing along a roadside in the tropical regions displaying bright white or purple flowers.

S. pubescens

Spathoglottis pubescens

The orchid grows native to Southeast Asia and India with yellow flowers.

S. cabaret

Spathoglottis cabaret

The orchid has an attractive spiky growth and purple with white splashes blooms.

Tropical Orchids Diseases & Pests

A primary concern with orchids is root rot; once it takes hold, the chance of saving your plant is minimal. But with the correct watering schedule and excess water drains, you can prevent this from happening.

Also, when dividing the clumps and replanting, do not plant them deep as this can result in rotting roots or crown rot. Other concerns are snails and slugs and prevented with a commercial slug trap.

The other concern is not to grow your flowers too close to other shrubs and always keep the ground weed free.

Where can You Buy a Ground Orchids Plant?

The good news is the tropical orchid you can find at some local nurseries or online. The other fantastic news is that you can find the orchid with us at Plantly.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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