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New Aquisition

This is a discussion on New Aquisition within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I bought a Pleione maculata 'bulb' this last trip. Does anyone out there know anything ...

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  1. #1
    Diane's Avatar
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    Default New Aquisition

    I bought a Pleione maculata 'bulb' this last trip. Does anyone out there know anything about growing these? What I have learned so far is they are the cool type of Pleione, not the "Alpine" type. Deciduous, Fall Bloomer. Any info appreciated!!!

  2. #2
    Hoa Tony Nguyen's Avatar
    Hoa Tony Nguyen is offline Senior Member
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    Nov 2005
    Pasadena and Costa Mesa


    That species has very beautiful flowers. I also heard that they are also temperature tolerant, i.e. they can be grown outdoor here in Southern Cal. You make a great choice.

    I found a few tips through internet search engines. You probaby have found a few yourself. Hope you might find them useful.

    Growing Pleione Orchids
    Pleione - pronounced - play owny; Alpine/Cool Growing
    3 - 7 C (39 - 45F) Alpine Types (winter)
    7C - 10C (45 - 50F) Cool Types (winter), Max 24C (75F) in summer

    Pleione are a small group of around 25 cool and alpine growing orchids mostly from China, Northern India, Thailand and Nepal and naturally grow close to the snow line at the edges of woods and forests. They are semi epiphytic and can be found growing on or around the bases of trees and in leaf litter. Closely allied to Coelogyne the flowers are large, delicately coloured and exotic looking.
    They are all deciduous and need a rest during the winter at which time the round squat bulbs should be stored either in their dry compost or removed for storage. The flowers of Pleione typically develop before the leaves.

    Light requirements
    Pleione like good light during the growing season and can be left out doors during the summer or grown close to the glass if grown indoors. During the winter resting period they can be placed on a shelf in the greenhouse or a cool room with diffused light.

    Watering requirements
    Pleione like moist compost during the growing season which is between February and October, during this time they should be watered every week (starting sparingly until established) using clean fresh water. From October through the following April the compost should be allowed to dry out completely.As mentioned earlier Pleione are deciduous and will require a rest during the winter.

    Feeding requirements
    The plants are moderate feeders and a balanced plant food can be applied from April to August at 1/4 the pack recommendation given every third watering. During late August and September you should change to a higher potash feed (again at 1/4 strength) which will encourage the new bulbs to ripen in readiness for the rest period. Feeding should cease by October and no more should be given until the following spring (March) at which time normal feeding can resume.

    Re-potting schedule and compost
    Pleione are naturally semi epiphytic and can be grown either in a pot or a shallow pan. The compost mix used should consist of equal parts loam, sphagnum moss and medium grade orchid compost, this will provide good drainage and moisture retentiveness. Pleione should be re potted every year in fresh compost either before flowering or just after, this depends on the variety grown but generally around January. The rounded bulbs do not need burying in the compost but should be allowed to rest on the surface of it or at the most just have the very base pushed slightly in to it for stability. Because they will have no roots at this time they may need some for of support until roots are established in the compost. Here are a few commonly grown species, if in doubt grow them in cool conditions rather than alpine.

    Name Temperature Flowering Colour
    Pleione formosana Alpine/Cool April/May Pale Rose & Cream
    Pleione forrestii Alpine/Cool March/May Primrose Yellow/red markings
    Pleione hookeriana Cool March/April White w purple/yellow blothes
    Pleione humilis Cool Sept/Oct White with Rose Spots
    Pleione maculata Cool Sept/Oct White, Blotched Lip
    Pleione praecox Cool June/Oct Rose/Purple, Paler Lip

    Pleiones produce numerous small bulbs around the base of the old bulb or around the 'scar' formed when the leaves fall, these should be potted up in trays and will be flowering size by the second year.

    Temperature; Most species and hybrids are frost resistant and withstand temperatures between minus 5 and plus 28 °C Except from a few autumn flowering species they do need a cold winter rest at temp’s between 0 and 5 °C for two to three months to get good results. They do not stand heat in summer, supply enough moisture at warm temp’s and if greenhouses get too warm, put them in a cool shady place outdoors .

    Light; One may give them full sunlight between November and February , and relatively cool shady conditions in growing stage, morning sun is beneficial though.

    Humidity; Critical is keeping plants dry in cold rest periods. As those plants are affected by monsoon rains in nature, they need abundant watering in peak summer. Watering need to be increased gradually as new growths start to develop. During growing season plants may not become dry, as the thin unbranched roots may be lost and will not be replaced afterwards !

    Compost; Very tolerant, most species do well with a compost of fine graded bark, pumice gravel or perlite and freshly fallen and cut oak and beech- leaves, more or less equal parts. Providing good drainage, one can use some moss or sphagnum to make it more water retentive. A cover of some kind of living moss has proved very beneficial for sensitive species .

    Repotting; Yearly, or each two years, in winter or in February latest, just before growing starts .

    Water quality; Rainwater is advisable , otherwise good quality tap water low salt and chlorine poor. Good oxygenic water is essential .

    Fertiliser; Not before new roots are well developed, somewhere in June for most species. One may use slow release grains up to 10 grains for strong growing hybrids or a good quality chemical fertiliser dissolved in spraying water .Good results are achieved with adding some fully decomposed manure to the potting mixes as well .

    Protection; These are very strong plants ,rarely aphides, snails and slugs can cause some trouble at the start of the growing . It is more a question of getting growing conditions well balanced , especially the relationship temperature and humidity.

    Have fun!!!!
    Cheers. Hoa.

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