Not a very large genus Pleione belongs to the orchid family. This genus includes approximately 20 species, most of which are terrestrial plants. Under natural conditions, they are found in the forests of Burma, Thailand, India, Laos, Taiwan, and also in the foothills of the Himalayas, Nepal and Tibet.
Such a deciduous plant, which has a sympoidal growth pattern, is rather short. Not very large pseudobulbs have a spherical shape, tapering towards the top. They are collected in fairly dense groups. Each pseudobulb is active for 12 months. From the upper part of the pseudobulb in the spring, 1 or 2 leaves appear, reaching a length of 10 to 20 centimeters. Such long-leaved leaves have a lanceolate or elliptical shape. Leathery soft leaves seem to be pleated along the central and lateral (located parallel to the leaf plate itself) veins.
With the onset of the autumn period, all the leaves of the Pleione wither and completely die off, and also at this time the flowering period begins. Long peduncles grow from the base of the bulb, while they are one-flowered. These home-grown orchids have fairly large flowers that can reach 10 centimeters in diameter. The central petals of the flower have grown together in such a way that they form an elongated tube with a distinct fringed lip, often painted in a contrasting shade. The remaining 5 long petals, having a lanceolate shape, are located in such a way that they form a narrow-beamed star, in which the rays located below are slightly apart.
Thanks to breeders, more than 150 varieties of Pleione were born, which differ in color and size of flowers. So, there are both varieties with multi-color flowers, and with monochrome. For example, in the Tongariro variety, the corolla is painted light purple, the inner surface of the tube is white, and there are also dark purple spots on it. The Shantung variety has deep yellow flowers, with one relatively large shapeless spot on the surface of the lip. Variety “Snowcap” has white flowers.
Pleione orchid care at home
This plant is usually grown as a garden plant. However, if certain conditions are created for him, then it may well grow indoors.
He needs quite intense, but at the same time diffused lighting. Requires shade from direct sunlight. For placement, it is recommended to choose windows of eastern or western orientation. On such windowsills, this orchid will receive a sufficient amount of light and at the same time it will not be hot.
During intensive growth, it needs moderate temperatures from 18 to 22 degrees. Pleione reacts extremely negatively to the heat.
After flowering ends and all the leaves fall off, the remaining pseudobulbs are transferred to a cool place for storage. However, you should choose a room in which the temperature will be above 2-5 degrees, otherwise this kind of orchid may freeze.
Experienced flower growers use various methods for storing pseudobulbs. So, a container with a plant can be rearranged in the basement, but only those that do not freeze through. You can also pull out the previously well-dried pseudobulbs, cut off all the roots, leaving a couple of centimeters from them, wrap them in a plastic bag or paper and put them in a regular refrigerator on a shelf designed for storing fruits. However, such pseudobulbs must be monitored. So, they should not dry out, and it is also not necessary to allow condensation to accumulate on the walls of the bag.
How to water
During intensive growth, watering should be plentiful. In this case, the substrate must be constantly moist.
For irrigation use only soft water. In the event that tap water is taken for this purpose, then it should be well settled, and if necessary, it can be filtered.
During the growing season, it needs slightly increased humidity up to 60 percent. To increase the humidity, systematic wetting of foliage from a sprayer is recommended. And you can also pour expanded clay into the pan and pour a small amount of water.
Feeding is carried out once a week from March to October. To do this, use special fertilizer for orchids.
After the foliage begins to turn yellow in autumn, fertilizing the soil stops.
For planting this plant, a special loose substrate is needed, which will pass air very well, and at the same time retain moisture. Such an earth mixture, as a rule, consists of fine bark, crushed sphagnum and biohumus, which should be taken in equal parts.
Pleione should be planted in a wide and low pot. Do not forget to make a good drainage layer of expanded clay at the bottom, which will help to avoid stagnation of liquid in the soil.
Transplantation is carried out 1 time per year in the spring. After transplanting, make sure that the tops of the pseudobulbs are not buried in the substrate. Approximately ¼ of them should rise above the soil surface.
During the transplant, faded, old, wrinkled pseudobulbs should be removed.
In spring, young pseudobulbs can be separated from the base of the mother plant and planted separately.
Pests and diseases
Mealybugs and spider mites can settle on the plant. After the pests are found, the orchid needs to arrange a warm shower, during which all the leaves are thoroughly washed. In this case, you should first protect the substrate from getting water from the water supply to it. If harmful insects have not been completely destroyed, then treatment with appropriate chemicals is carried out.
Very often, the plant suffers from a variety of rots that appear as a result of violations of the rules of care.