Pleione Potting Mixes

Jim McKenney
Tue, 31 Jan 2006 09:12:28 PST
Although I no longer grow Pleione, when I did they did very well in a
mixture of Virginia fines (ground pine bark in pieces about the size of a
Pleione pseudobulb or smaller) and peat. They were grown outside in shallow
pans which stood in another shallow pan of water. They got sun for several
hours in the morning and were in bright shade (i.e. open to the sky) for the
rest of the day. They were fed using a dilute acid-forming fertilizer. In
the autumn, before frosts, the pseudobulbs were lifted and put into ziplock
bags and then put into the refrigerator for the winter. The "before frosts"
part was important here because if frosted, the pseudobulbs, which grew on
the surface of the medium exposed to the air, developed small necrotic

Plants grown in the ground (even in carefully prepared mixes) did not do
well, nor did plants grown by any method I tried in heavy shade. 

So, why am I no longer growing them? Because they need vital attention at
the busiest time of year. They are ready to begin new growth too early in
the year to put them outside, so they have to be handled as houseplants for
a month or so. It's during this time that they flower. Then the new foliage
starts; if it's allowed to grow too much, it has to be very carefully
acclimated to outdoor conditions (sun).  There is so much else happening at
that time of year that the Pleione often didn't get what they needed when
they needed it. 

They are easy to grow (some of them at least).

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where Pleione limprichtii
survived a couple of winters here outside before it disappeared.

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