Pleione Stormy 2 only at this stage Large budded bulbs
About Pleione Orchids
These rare and delightful little orchids are a cold climate pseudo-bulb native to the Himalayas, India, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Formosa. They are found at altitudes between 900 and 3000 meters where they are usually found growing in composted well drained leaf litter.
In their natural environment they are well adapted to coping with severe cold, with protection from frost. They are not an indoor plant and need to be grown outdoors in a cool shady environment such as a fernery.
The flower shoot emerges from the pseudo bulb in early spring, producing a startling orchid flower on a stems from 7 to 18cm in height. As the flower begins to die ,the pleated spear -shaped foliage emerges and grows to about 25cm.
There are around 19 known wild Pleiones from which a modest group of hybrids have been bred.
Bulbs are available in winter when they are dormant and should be planted as soon as they are received. They should be grown in a high quality well drained organic potting mix .
We use a commercial potting mix designed for Pleione Orchid. The mix contains seven parts weathered pine bark containing fines up to 6mm, one part course river gravel, and one part Peat moss. And to one cubic metre of the potting mix we also add 3kgs of DOLOMITE, one kg of GYPSUM, one kg of WETTING AGENT and finally 0.4kgs of CALCIUM NITRATE plus BORON. You would need to scale down these additives to suit your volume of mix.
They prefer to have a deep root run to accommodate their root system and to prevent them drying out too fast in summer. We recommend that the pot or container should be at least 12cm deep. For drainage we use a layer of 25mm scoria. On top of the scoria a 3-4cm layer of potting mix and then a layer of pelletised organic poultry manure such as Dynamic Lifter® that does not contain any extra additives or chemical fertilisers.
Finally fill the container almost to the top with another layer of potting mix. Then plant the bulbs on top of the mix, leaving about one third of the bulb above 'soil' level.
The bulbs will flower from mid-September to October depending on the variety, followed by the foliage. Take care not to over-water them until the leaves are established. Once grown keep the mix moist but not over wet.
At the height of summer we water twice daily in the morning and late afternoon until the water drains though the container. This prevents the build-up of certain elements in the mix that in some cases can cause premature die back in the foliage.
Pleione orchids are gross feeders and may be given a soluble fertilizer high in potash such as Phostrogen, about once every six weeks until the foliage dies down in late autumn. Do not apply on hot days anddo not use granular fertilizer, it will burn holes in the bulbs and foliage.
As the Pleione is a Pseudo bulb the bulbs you purchase will eventually die and new bulbs will grow and develop from the bottom of the foliage stems. Often bulbils will also grown from the top of the apex on original bulb.
When the foliage has died down remove any bulbils first and then bulbs may be removed from their pots and containers. Every care must be taken not to damage the new growth buds.
The potting mix or mulch should be carefully shaken off the roots along with the removal of last year's pseudo bulb which is now very dead. The roots should be trimmed back to within 3 cm of the base of the bulb with a pair of old scissors. Store the bulbs in a very cool pest free environment and definitely not in a heated house over winter.
As with most things grown in the garden, there are the pests. The pests include birds (who scratch the bulbs out), rats (who love the taste of the most expensive ones), and snails and slugs. Before planting we always dip our bulbs in an environmentally friendly substance called Neem Oil which gives protection against aphid and mite.
This product is available from Bunnings and can also be use as a spray for a whole range of insect type pests in the garden. The smell of the Neem Oil also acts as deterrent that warns off many would be insect pests.
Re-potting should be carried out in winter before the bulbs commence their spring growth. re-plant as per the original planting instructions. The bulbils can also be planted with the bulbs. And on the average these can take up to 4 years to grow to flowering size bulbs.