Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for a Ground Orchid

The Bletilla striata is known as the Chinese ground orchid or hardy orchid. This perennial plant grows on a tuberous rhizome and can be divided as the clump grows larger. Flowers come in purple, white, pink and amethyst red. Orchids bloom in spring and resemble corsage orchids. Growing 12 to 24 inches high, the orchids make tropical additions to borders and flower beds. Chinese ground orchids are hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 7.

Place the plant in a warm area with full morning sun and partial afternoon shade. Orchid plants can be planted and lifted out of the ground in fall in cooler climates, planted in containers or planted in buried containers that can be lifted in the fall.

Water the orchids every other day for three weeks after planting. Then cut back to twice a week throughout the first growing season. If the weather is especially hot or dry, extra watering may be needed. Check leaves for wilting.

Apply a general-purpose fertilizer in the spring once growth has started. Follow manufacturer’s directions on amounts to use.

Cut flower stalks when flowers die and allow the foliage to die back to the ground. In hardy areas, place 6 inches of mulch over the soil to keep the rhizomes warm for the winter.

Lift the rhizomes out of the ground in the fall before the first frost in areas colder than zone 5. Using a garden fork, dig at least 6 inches past where you think the rhizomes are so they don't get damaged. Allow them to dry out for a day and knock off the soil around them.

Place the rhizomes in a container with damp peat moss and keep in the refrigerator or an unheated garage for the winter. Plant back outdoors when all danger of frost is gone.

Garden Guides