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Thread: Bletilla in Zone 5 and Soil

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    Bletilla in Zone 5 and Soil

    Has anyone tried growing a Bletilla in zone 5a or in a zone close to that? Zone 5a is -20 F to -15 F. I'm tempted to try growing Bletilla striata and plant it in a flower bed. I see there are some Bletilla sellers that advertise their plants are zone 5. Others say zone 6 or 7- might be natural variation of cold hardiness.

    Has anyone watched this plant grow in alkaline soil? Did you see iron chlorosis? I have loam soil. I'm concerned I'll have to continuously put chelated sulfur on it to keep it well. Minerals in my water from the underground aquifer make the soil worse but I have a spot I can plant the Bletilla so it will be flood irrigated with ditch water. I've noticed some of my other plants are ok, or need minimal sulfur, if they're flood irrigated by water from the ditch.

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    I live on the line of zones 5 and 6. The only time I've had B.striata survive outside here was a freakishly warm winter a few years back. Another member here just had it come back in Zone 6 although, the area was heavily mulched. Zone 5 may not be out of reason with enough mulching.

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    Cthulhu138, thanks for the info. I hope those companies aren't exaggerating the cold hardiness of the orchids. Seems a bit unfair when companies advertise something as hardy in a particular zone but don't mention that works only if I heap a pile of mulch on the plant. Naturally piled up leaf litter or snow can warm up temperatures for plants in the winter. This reminds me of a creeping wire plant that local nurseries sell. The tag for the plant states hardy to zone 3. However, I see other nurseries selling the exact same plant with tags that say zone 5. I contacted the company named on the plant's tag and asked about their zone 3 rating. I was told it would survive in zone 3 if well mulched or covered with snow.

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    You could always try it in the ground and also in a pot to bring inside in the Winter, just in case. I can send you what should be a big enough piece to try both, of the alba from of Bletilla striata.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyS View Post
    You could always try it in the ground and also in a pot to bring inside in the Winter, just in case. I can send you what should be a big enough piece to try both, of the alba from of Bletilla striata.
    Thank you. I might mulch the Bletilla the first year.

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    The Bletilla survived Winter. I put ~2 inches of bark mulch on top just in case. More than a month ago, as temps warmed up, I uncovered the place I planted the orchid. A few weeks ago I saw a couple leaves coming up.

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    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    Congrats!
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