Pleione formosana 

The Peacock Orchid


Pot size -- You may either grow the bulbs individually in small pots (3 inches / 7 cm wide), or as a group in a larger pot, with 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) between each bulb.  The bulbs are shallow-rooted, so the pots do not need to be tall, however they do need drainage holes.  Each bulb forms 2 or more new bulbs every year, eventually forming a dense mat of bulbs.  They don't mind being crowded.

Growing medium -- Pleione likes humus-rich soil that is very well-draining.  For example, a mix of 1 part potting soil to 1 part perlite.

 Fill the pot with soil and water it very lightly - just enough to make it lightly moist, like a wrung-out sponge.  Push the bulbs slightly into the surface so the bottom half is buried.  The bulb will remain dormant until late winter (February/March in the Northern hemisphere), and until that time, keep the soil lightly moist (but not soggy).  When growth begins in late winter or early spring, start increasing the watering.

Sunlight & climate - During the growing season of spring & summer, give the plants filtered sunlight or morning sun + bright shade.  This is a forest plant, so protect it from strong afternoon sun. 

 The temperature should be at least 40 F (2C) during periods of active growth.  The plants appreciate some humidity - over about 40-50% is recommended.

Watering & feeding -- Aim to keep the soil surface evenly moist while the plant is growing, but don't keep it soggy.  Never let the soil dry out completely. 

 If your water is very "hard", meaning high in minerals, it's best to use bottled water or rainwater. 

 Feed about 6-8 weeks during the growing season with a slow-release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer.

Dormancy care --  The leaves will begin to die back in autumn.  When this happens, stop fertilizing and reduce watering. 

 The bulbs flower best with a chilling period in winter that is below 60F (15C) for at least a few hours per night.  This is easily done by pulling the bulbs up, drying them off, and putting them in a sealed container in the door of the refrigerator (above 36F / 2C).  Mark your calendar to remove them in 8 to 10 weeks. 

 Outdoors, you may leave the bulbs in the soil if they can be kept from freezing and also kept dry.  If not, simply pull the bulbs and store them as mentioned above. 

 The bulbs should be repotted into fresh soil every 2-3 years, although you may do this yearly.

Have fun growing them!


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