The Trick For Keeping Bletilla striata Alive Is In The Planting

Bletilla striata is one of those delightful small bulbs that are so seldom grown (and should be).

Commonly known as the Chinese Ground Orchid, this member of the orchid family is a showy little bulb.

Yes, it is an orchid but it is referred to as a deciduous orchid (loses its leaves in the winter like a tree).


If grown in the right setting (see below) the bulb is hardy in USDA zones 5-9

It is not likely totally hardy in zone 5 and will normally require a deep mulch as insurance.

It is a native to Japan and China where it is used medicinally.

bletilla striata

How To Grow

This bulb is a little particular about where it grows. It does not want sun and it does not want shade.

Think of it as a woodland edging plant where it thrives in part-shade.

It demands a full rich soil with adequate moisture. This is not a plant of the dry shady garden.

Bletilla, if happy, will reach one to two feet in height and produce scads of lilac-purple flowers (although there are shades) early in the spring.

Plant tuber very shallowly (just under the soil) in the garden setting.

Book cover spring bulbs

Container Growing

They can be grown in a container but if so, ensure the soil is not allowed to freeze rock solid as this will likely kill the bulb.

Plunging the container for the winter is normal practice to keep it as frost free as possible.

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