Hardy orchids

Think all orchids belong in tropical rainforests? Think again... See our selection of orchids to grow in the garden, cold greenhouse or porch

Calanthe striataCalanthe striata (syn. C. sieboldii)

A good, reasonably hardy species for beginner orchid growers, this appealing plant produces spires of glowing yellow flowers, above lush, pleated leaves. The leaves expand fully after flowers fade towards the end of April, and die off by September. Give plants a semi-shaded site in well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter, and mulch with composted bark over winter. Height 45-60cm (18-24in).

Calanthe Takane

Vigorous hardy hybrids between C. striata (see above) and C. discolor, producing charming spires of flowers in shades of yellow, cream and soft apricot, often with contrasting colours in the same bloom. Needs similar conditions to the above. Height 45cm (18in).

Cypripedium formosanum AGM

Beautiful slipper orchid with distinctive large pale pink flowers held above rounded, pleated foliage in late spring. Although native to Taiwan, it is hardy across much of the UK as long as its young growth is protected from late spring frosts. Sheltered woodland conditions of light shade and moist but well-drained soil should be ideal. Height 18-30cm (7-12in).

Click to enlargePleione × barbarae

Beautiful, early flowering orchid, suitable for a cold or cool greenhouse, conservatory, or even a windowsill. Although plants are best kept frost-free, they may survive outdoors in sheltered rock gardens. An easy to grow orchid in a pot; plants start into growth in late winter flowering in spring, foliage dying back in autumn. Use orchid compost with some added moss when repotting, while plant is dormant. Height to 10cm (4in).

Cypripedium Emil

Cypripedium EmilVigorous hardy hybrid slipper orchid with scented yellow and dark red flowers opening, usually, in May, atop slender stems up to 30cm (1ft) tall. It is said to be one of the easiest slipper orchids for garden conditions, slowly forming a clump, given a lightly shaded spot in soil that does not get to dry in summer or waterlogged in winter. Height 18-30cm (7-12in).

Pleione grandiflora

Pleione grandifloraDelightful white and yellow flowered species, needing similar conditions to that above, but best kept frost-free (about 5°C) until it starts into growth and then grown under cover so its flowers can be enjoyed blemish-free. Height to 10cm (4in).


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