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Pleione forrestii (photo courtesy of Marcus Harpur/Harpur Garden Images)
Pleione forrestii (photo courtesy of Marcus Harpur/Harpur Garden Images)

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Zone
Zones 5-9, 14-24
Partial Sun
Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Pleione

Orchidaceae
Orchids and bromeliads, Flowers

Dwarf orchids native to the high mountains of India and China. Many species, all deciduous. Each pseudobulb produces one or two narrowly oval, pleated-looking leaves; leaves reach 8 in.long in the biggest species. Flowers are large (3–4 in. wide) for the size of the plant and resemble small cattleyas; they usually appear just as thel eaves begin to show in early spring. Blossoms of P. bulbocodioides are purple with a white lip marked with reddish spots. Those of P. formosana are purple, pink, or white; the fringed lip has a yellow center with brownish red markings. Those of P. forrestii are yellow; the fringed lip has red markings.

Where frosts are rare and summer temperatures moderate, these orchids can be grown outdoors all year—provided they have perfect drainage, rich soil that is moist and well aerated, and some winter protection (shelter from excessive rain). Usually grown in rock gardens or in containers. For a good show, plant pseudobulbs close together. If planting in the ground, bury pseudobulbs, leaving just the tips exposed; or plant in a shallow pot and bury only the bottom quarter of each pseudobulb. Repot yearly before growth begins.

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