Orchid of the Month
I received a question asking if the hardy orchids found online for sale are actually orchids. The answer is “yes” – most of the orchids that are advertised as hardy orchids are real orchids. When I googled “hardy orchids for sale”, I found the Tongariro Hardy Orchid, Bletillas (Chinese Ground Orchids), and Cypripediums. I decided to order the Tongariro Hardy Orchid and feature that this month.
The botanical name for this orchid is Pleione ‘Tongariro’. These orchids originate in the Himalayas and mountainous regions of China. The Pleione genus is very small with approximately 20 native species. They have a sympodial growth habit, and most are terrestrial. The plants are only 6” to 8” tall and prefer a shady location. In colder climates, the orchid blooms in the spring when it produces its flower first from the dormant pseudobulb.
It has beautiful, pleated leaves which appear after it flowers. As it goes through its growth period, it will produce a new pseudobulb. At the end of the growth cycle, the old pseudobulb will die off and the new one will go dormant until the next spring. Pleione ‘Tongariro’ is not winter hardy in locations where winter temperatures go below -10 degrees F, but the pseudobulbs can be removed from the ground in the fall and stored in a cool location until the next spring.