Habenaria radiata

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Mon, 14 Sep 2009 15:12:48 PDT
Hi Steve, glad to see you’re interested in this neat little plant.


I know nothing about the subtropical Habenaria; I’ve seen pictures (very
very cool looking flowers), but that’s it. 


Habenaria radiata does seem to be hardy here. Although I said it has
survived the winter in the bog trays, the name “bog trays” might be a bit
misleading. These bog trays are trays (wood sides, screen bottoms) about 8’
x 1’ which sit at the edge of my waterlily pool on shelves which allow the
bottom of the tray to be submerged when the water level is high (sorry for
this awful sentence – I’m in a hurry). 


However, as soon as the water level drops, the trays stand high and,
sometimes, dry. I don’t monitor the water level much if at all during the
winter. The plants in the trays have to be tolerant of soil which is not
saturated at all times. 


From my experience with this plant, I would say that it can be wintered dry
and cool/cold or wet and cool/cold. In recent years I’ve found it easier to
simply dig out the corms in the autumn and store them in the refrigerator in
a zip lock bag with a bit of damp paper towel. They are so small that it is
easy to lose track of them. 


I’ve known Rhodohypoxis to survive the winter in these bog trays, although
they eventually disappeared. That might have been due to rodent predation
rather than lack of cold  tolerance – I’ll try that experiment again one of
these days. 


Habenaria radiata propagates slowly but surely; grow it for a couple of
years under protection and you’ll soon have a bunch of corms to experiment



Good luck and let us know what happens. 


Bonaventure, are you still with us? If so, Steve might benefit from your
input, too.    


Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/

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Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 


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