Terrestrial orchid native to North America; has rather small size, usually not exceeding in fact 30-40 centimeters high, including the inflorescence. The stem is covered with small white hairs that make it recognizable compared to other varieties; it has lanceolate leaves, some gathered to form a dense rosette and dry during flowering, others, more elongated, are drooping and persistent and, as you approach the inflorescence, become small oval bracts.
From August to November it produces a long ear covered with numerous small flowers arranged in a spiral, cream-white under each flower is a small green bract, and above it a small cap consisting of several petals and dorsal sepals, the labellum is folded down and is also white-cream.
Spiranthes orchids like sunny, or mid-shade locations. During the hottest periods of the year we recommend shading the plants to avoid scalding the leaves and possible problems with growth. It does not fear the cold, even if in places with a particularly harsh climate it is advisable to shelter it in a sheltered place, for example under a porch or a veranda, or it can be covered with non-woven fabric. It can also be grown in the garden and is suitable for wild planting.
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It doesn’t need many waterings, therefore to supply water every 10-15 days, remembering that it prefers the drought to the excesses of water. During the vegetative period, from March to November, add specific fertilizer for orchids to the water of the watering, at least once a month.
In winter, thin the watering until they are completely suspended, as the plant has a resting period until spring; before the arrival of the coldest months, it is advisable to remove the dried leaves and the inflorescence, which is by now almost exhausted, in order to guarantee an abundant flowering the following year.
This orchid, unlike many other species, loves a sandy soil, even if lacking of organic matter, therefore, it is not to be cultivated in a traditional orchid compost; the best substratum for the orchid spiranthes is, in fact, formed by a mixture of a part of balanced universal soil, a part of composting soil and three parts of sand; if desired, some coarse material may be added for increasing the drainage.
The spiranthes can be reproduced by seed, using in spring the fresh seeds, which are sown in a compound of peat and sand in equal parts, the new seedlings should be planted in autumn, or late summer, if you grow the spiranthes in the garden you can find new seedlings every spring near the old plants. In spring you can also proceed to the division of the heads of leaves, taking care to maintain a good amount of roots for each portion practiced.
Spiranthes: Pests and diseases
This orchid is very rustic and is hardly attacked by pests or diseases. In any case, it is advisable to follow the cultivation instructions described above. Ensure that the plant has the recommended doses of water, good soil and proper exposure and you will get a beautiful healthy and vigorous orchid.