Pleione

Common name: Indian Crocus

This miniature Orchid is suitable for sheltered borders or containers in the southern regions of the UK.

In more northern areas best results can be achieved if plants are grown indoors, in a position of bright, filtered light or in a cold alpine house.

The 150mm (6") high flowers appear from January to May.

If grown outdoors, plant them 300mm (12") apart in a humus rich, leafy soil.

As previously mentioned they are not fully hardy and will need some winter protection from winter wet, e.g. a cloche.

Cultivation

Week 18: Pot up four or five pseudo-bulbs into a 150mm (6") half pot containing a mixture of 2 parts potting compost, and 1 part sphagnum moss (parts by volume), leave about one third of the bulb projecting above soil level.

An alternative compost can be produced by adding chipped bark or fine grit to any good general-purpose potting compost.

Shade the plants from direct sun between April and September, and ventilate the greenhouse daily except in frosty and foggy weather.

To increase stock, detach offsets from the base of established plants, and pot up singly into 75mm (3") pots of the compost described above.

Grow on in a cool greenhouse, potting on as necessary.

Every two years, re-pot established plants at the normal planting time.

Week 24: Apply a weak liquid feed fortnightly from now until September.

Do not over-water, or allow the bulbs to come in direct contact with water too early in the season.

To do so may cause brown tips and / or blotches to form on the leaves.

Water the plants generously when they are in full growth, using an overhead spray/misting during hot spells.

Reduce the watering by late summer when the foliage begins to die down.

Week 30-35: collect any bulbils that may have formed on the top of the plants and save them until planting out time, then plant them in pots of the growing compost to half their depth and grow on for two seasons.

Week 35: When the plants become dormant, place them in a shaded spot where the temperature does not go below 0-2C (32-35F)

At this point, you may wish to remove the bulbs from the soil and keep dry and frost-free before replanting in spring.





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