Bletilla sp

John Lonsdale
Wed, 15 Jun 2005 07:07:55 PDT

There are a lot of misconceptions and much misinformation 
flying around regarding Bletilla species and hybrids. 
 They are indeed much hardier than generally supposed and 
also thrive in full sun here in SE Pennsylvania.  They are 
often touted as obligate shade plants.  In our zone 6b 
garden (minimum recorded by us was -2F) we have about a 
dozen clumps of various striata leaf and flower variants 
and the older hybrids (Yokohama, Coritani etc.) which 
number hundreds of shoots per clump, and thousands of 
flowers.  Clumps are a couple of feet across and very 
dense.  The colors are very intense.  They set seed 
regularly but I haven't seen any seedlings yet. I also 
have in the garden smaller clumps of the newer hybrids of 
the "Penway" series and they are also reliable.  Of the 
other species, B. ochracea seems fine, B. szetchuanica 
(sp?) faded away but that maybe because it is much smaller 
and less vigorous anyway.  The noses of these plants are 
not far below ground and I have failed to mulch them at 
all in the past couple of years, which have seen cold 

In late May and early June the Bletillas make a 
spectacular display, early in their season the large 
clumps of Iris tectorum they are intermingled with 
complement them very nicely.

I'll be uploading some of this year's pictures to my web 
site when I get the chance.



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