The Serapias lingua is a kind of orchids widespread in Italy and in most of Europe and the Mediterranean area; S. lingua is an autochthonous Italian species, it is a terrestrial orchid, which develops fleshy bulbs, from which depart erect stems, thick enough, light green in color, often in the apical part take on a pinkish color; the leaves are ribbon-like, with the base wrapped around the stem, light green in color, wrinkled.
In spring, at the apex of the stems, some pink flowers bloom, with a long red or purple labellum, bilobed, pubescent, surmounted by a striped helmet, formed by two sepals and a tepalum, united to form a small cavity, which, at times, serves as shelter for the pollinating insects. The other species of Serapias have flowers of this particular shape, they change the colourations: S. meglecta has a pinkish-orange colouration; S. vomeracea is paler, with a green-white cap.
These orchids are not very common in commerce, and they are rare species in nature, which should not be taken from the places where they grow spontaneously, you can find in any case specimens produced by nurseries, which are grown outdoors, in a semi-shaded place, or however shaded on the hottest days of the year. The direct exposure to the rays of the sun could burn the leaves and the flowers of the plant, damaging the growth of our tongue Serapias.
They are plants that do not fear the cold, in winter usually go into vegetative rest, and the aerial part dries up.
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- They decorate terraces, balconies and garden corners.
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As for the watering, the the Serapias tongue can bear without any problems short periods of drought; from March to September we should intervene by watering the substratum only when it is quite dry, avoiding to soak it too much. Otherwise, water stagnations and radical rottenness could occur. During the cold months let’s avoid watering as the lower temperatures allow the plant to grow without any particular irrigations.
The choice of the growing medium is fundamental for the good growth of the serapias. The soil is in fact the main source of livelihood of plant species, for this reason it is appropriate to choose an ideal type of soil based on the specific cultural needs of our plant. The tongue serapias prefer loose, soft soils, rich in organic matter, we can use a mixture consisting of soil leaves, peat sphagnum and some pieces of bark shredded.
It is possible to give the plant liquid fertilizer dissolved in the irrigation water in order to help the plant in its growth process.
Reproducing these plants could be a real satisfaction. Multiplication is not particularly difficult but it is good to know the best methods to obtain excellent results. The multiplication takes place mainly by division of the heads of bulbs but also by seed it is possible to reproduce these plants.
Serapias language: Parasites and diseases
Usually, these plants do not fear the attack of pests or diseases, if the conditions of cultivation are adequate. Be sure to provide adequate irrigation and avoid waterlogging.