Bletilla striata: an orchid with a delicate appearance, but easy to care for

Bletilla striata: The incredible easy-to-care orchid

Orchids awaken mixed feelings in us. It is true that any of its many varieties stands out among the rest of the plants for its beauty, but they are not always easy to care for, especially for those who do not have experience with this species. Luckily, there is striata bletilla, which has characteristics that make it unique and that It is not so demanding in care as can be another type of orchid.

In addition, it spreads through rhizomes in the dormant season. Therefore, if you manage to make it through, you will be able to obtain several plants from one, and continue expanding your garden, or have a nice detail with someone special.

Bletilla striata: origin, characteristics and much more

Everything you need to know about Bletilla striata

The bletilla or urn orchid is a genus that is made up of several different species. All of them from East Asia, mainly China and Japan. Although most of the species that make up this genus are difficult to find in Europe, the striata variety is somewhat more common.

Other species of bletilla are:

  • Chartacea.
  • Cotoensis.
  • Foliosa.
  • Morrisonicola.
  • Scopulorum.
  • Sinensis.
  • Japonica.
  • Szetschuanica.
  • Yunnanensis.
  • Ochracea.

It is a highly appreciated plant for its exotic appearance and because, as we said before, it is easier to care for than other varieties of orchids.

Aspect general of the plant

The bletilla striata arises from a pseudobulb in which we find several narrow lanceolate leaves, elongated, and silvery green. The groups of stems can measure between 20 and 40 centimeters.

The flowers can be of different colors ranging from light purple and lavender pink. They grow in spikes that accumulate a dozen flowers that usually measure about five centimeters in diameter.

Its appearance is similar to that of other orchids, with three petals and three sepals, along with a larger central lip which may have some marks or stripes depending on the variety in question.

Depending on the geographical location, the bletilla striata usually bloom in spring or summer, and the flowers last for several weeks. As for the foliage, its leaves are deciduous, they fall off in autumn and sprout again in spring.

Bletilla striata care

What does the Bletilla striata orchid look like?

It is true that this variety is easier to grow than other orchids, but it also needs specific care to make it look its best.

Location of this plant

The bletilla likes light, but not too much. The appropriate location for it is one that is a illuminated but semi-shaded place, where it can receive light indirectly.

It can withstand direct sunlight early in the day or late in the afternoon, but little else. If you have it in full sun during the hours when it shines most intensely, it will not take long for it to burn.

Substrate for bletilla striata

As with other varieties of orchids, the bletilla needs a substrate that is rich in organic matter. To achieve this, you can add a little pine or coconut bark.

These elements will provide nutrients to the plant and increase the drainage capacity of the soil, preventing the roots from becoming waterlogged.

For a good result, try mixing three parts of fibrous black soil for each of peat, mulch and sand. Also, if you plant it in a pot, make sure to use a container that has holes that allow excess water to drain after watering, and empty the saucer.

Irrigation frequency

In the active growing season (spring and summer) look for water regularly. The substrate must always be kept slightly damp, but not soaked. As soon as you notice that the top layer of substrate is dry, it is time to water again.

In autumn and winter the plant goes into a rest phase and does not grow, so its watering needs are no longer so intense and it will be enough to water once every ten days.

Optimal temperature for this plant

This is a plant that can be had outdoors if it is properly protected in winter (we will see how later). But it is usually used as houseplant.

For it to start growing after winter, the temperature needs to be between 13º and 18º C.

Protection in winter

Learn how to easily care for your Bletilla striata

Bletilla does not cope well with low temperatures. If you have it outside, before the cold starts apply mulch or a layer of leaves on the substrate, to help the roots maintain temperature.

If you are in an area where frost usually falls, it is advisable that you protect the plant with a blanket. If you have it planted in a pot, it is best that when winter comes you put it directly inside the house.

Bletilla maintenance

You can prune dry or damaged leaves of the bletilla striata whenever necessary.. If you want to maintain your bearing, or see that it is time to transplant it, do it at beginning of spring, before the plant grows again.

The bletilla flowers when its roots are tightly packed, so transplants should be done carefully and not choose containers that are too large. The transplant should only be carried out when strictly necessary.

If you have not had time to transplant in spring, you can leave it until after flowering, between late summer and early autumn.

Also autumn you can propagate the plant. Take a sharp knife or cutter and divide the tuber. Don't forget to cover the cut part with sulfur-based fungicide powder to prevent the plant from getting sick.

Put the new plant in a normal compost and make sure to keep it moist at a minimum temperature of 10º C. Once you see that it has established itself, you can give it the rest of the care that we have explained in this article.

The bletilla striata is a resistant orchid that is not complicated to care for once you know four basic things to keep it beautiful. If you listen to us, you will surely soon be enjoying its beautiful flowers in your garden or inside your home.

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