Grass Leaf Orchid
Grass Leaf Orchid
Utyouran | 羽蝶蘭
This orchid is one of Japan’s natural jewels. Tiny, elegant, with an incredible range of colors and forms, this little beauty will take your breath away. As these plants are very new to the US market we are offering a mixed colors of white, pinks, and purples. In the future we hope to offer specific stable varieties of this diverse treasure. If you love miniature orchids, this is one plant that won’t disappoint.
Height: 15 cm (6 in)
Flowering: Late Spring (June - July)
Light: bright indirect, morning sun
Preferred Soil: kanuma
Sold as single dormant corm (bulb)
Plants sales are closed for 2018. We will be shipped again starting March 2019. See our shipping policy for more information.
More information Ponerorchis graminifolia
ORIGINS & GENERAL INFO
Also known as Orchis graminifolia or utyouran in Japan, these tiny terrestrial orchids are native throughout Japan south of Hokkaido, however they are rarely seen in the wild these days from over collection. However, our plants are sustainably grown and fairly easy to cultivation provided you follow a few guidelines. The Grass Leaf Orchid makes its home on rocky crags and cliffs, growing by clinging to rock faces or in the cracks of rocks in relatively low mountains. These are true miniature and the entire plant rarely exceeds 15 cm in height. The grass-like bright green narrow leaves number between 3-6 per growth and occur alternately opposite each other on a thin, yet strong stem.
Typically flower in late spring early summer (June and July). The flower stalk gracefully continues from the last leaf for a considerable distance bearing anywhere from 1 to 20 flowers. The flowers are small, no more than 2 cm on average. These breathe-taking flowers with a deeply trilobed lip, back flung, narrow sepals, and a hood-like structure present a range of colors from white to pinks and purples.
The Grass Leaf Orchid like a long growing season from late April to late October. They are a tuber-grown orchids. During the growing season they form new tubers as the old ones are being spent. If health, they can produce 3 for every one during a good growing season. These tubers grow at the bas of plant, not along the roots like Habanera radiate. These tuber or corms can be separated and left together to grow as a clump.
They like bright light, but not too much direct sun, and high humidity. Early morning sun is best. In very hot or dry climate shade cloths are recommended. Humidity is import at all times and consider using humidity trays in dryer climates. During the growing season, keep them well watered. If you used a soil like kanuma, you can water very frequently without much fear of over watering. Water generously through flowering (June and July), then back off a bit while still keeping them moist until dormancy sets in.
We recommend using organic fertilizer as there is less change of burning the plant. At Kusamono Gardens we fertilize with a combination fish emulsion and cottonseed meal. Occasionally we add in a diluted inorganic like Dyna-Gro. As with most plants, graminifolia can benefit from mycorrhiza. It is recommended to fertilized with a weak solution every few weeks, until September and then back off. By mid-November they should be dormant.
The Grass leaf orchid require good oxygen for their roots. The best soil mix to accomplish this is kanuma soil. Here at Kusamono Gardens grow almost all out terrestrial orchids in 100% kanuma. Kanuma is a Japanese soil and can be difficult to find and expensive in the US. We offer kanuma though our website, but it can also be found at bonsai and azalea specialty nurseries. If kamuma is not an option, there are a number of substitutes that we can use. I prefer pumice mixed with sphagnum moss in a 50:50 ratio. It allows for greater root aeration and still holds quite a bit of water. You can also use vermiculite, perlite or even sand. For sand, a larger grain size is better. I have even seen people used chick scratch or crushed granite. Ultimately the best medium will depend your unique growing environment and watering habits. In early spring, after last frost, the bulbs should be planted just below the surface, perhaps 0.5 inch deep. You can plant 3-5 bulbs in a 4-inch nursery pot. Some people recommend planting them pointy side up; however, I always plant mine horizontally so there is no confusion as to which side is the point side. If you have a cold frame you can start them early, but be sure to protect the newly planted bulbs from freezing, especially if they are in a pot.
Like most of our terrestrial orchids we recommend repotteing ever couple of year. The reason for this is to make sure the soil does not become too compact so there is good air circulation to the roots. Even if you are using an inorganic soil medium that breaks down slow, the pot can still fill with debris, fertilizer, and decaling organic matter for old roots. Some people remove the plants from their pots and collect the new tubers after the plant goes dormant. This can be a good idea if you have very wet winter, or live in an area where you need to force dormancy.
There are a number of ways to overwinter your Grass Leaf Orchids, but much depends on where you live. If you have mild dry winter, they can probably stay indoors. Area with mild but wet winters, such as the ones we have at Kusamono Gardens, plants can be placed under an eve or in an unheated green house. Warmer climates may need to force dormancy and store them in refrigerator for a couple of months.
Well a terrestrial and cold hardy Orchid, the Grass leaf Orchid should not be exposed to prolonged freezing conditions. Winter temperature should be above freezing with an average temperature of less than 10 C (50 F). Their cold hardiness is considered USDA zone 8 but probably zone 7 acceptable in most areas. Colder than that and they will needs be sheltered if potted or perhaps mulched in very deeply if in the ground. Please keep in mind that pot expose the plant to much colder temperature then in the ground were the earth helps keep them warm. Even placing your plotted plants directly on the ground as opposed to shelves can really help frost damage.
During dormancy, you can remove the new tubers from their pot and store them. Or you can simply dry the pot out almost completely, but sprinkle a bit of water on them from time to time so they do not dry out complete. Graminifolia tubers should be stored in a cold damp environment. 36-42 °F is ideal. DO NOT FREEZE. We store ours in a paper envelope in a refrigerator.