Description of the Playon orchid
Pleione is a genus belonging to the Orchidaceae family. They are native to China, Tibet and India. Pleione orchids grow wild in a wide variety of mountain environments at altitudes ranging from 600 to 4200 meters. They are found on almost bare branches and trunks of trees, on rocks overgrown with moss, and sometimes even in meadows.
Their introduction into culture occurred in England in the 19th century, but their popularity skyrocketed in the late 1970s. Since then, intensive hybridization has begun, with the aim of obtaining plants with a wide variety of flowers and forms, and with winter flowering. Currently, more than 350 hybrids have been registered, which have extended flowering from October to May.
Pleion orchids are both epiphytic and terrestrial plants. They are small in size, almost always with a single flower with a unique lip. The stem is born directly from the pseudobulb.
The color varies from white to purple.
Note! The aerial part of the orchid consists of pseudobulbs (3-4 cm high and 1.5-2 cm wide) that are attached to the roots and serve as a reserve of nutrients necessary for the development of the plant. Leaves and stems of flowers are formed from these pseudobulbs.
The length of the leaves reaches 10-15 cm. During the dormant period, the foliage falls off. Plants may bloom in March-April or September-October. By the beginning of flowering, an upright peduncle with 1-3 buds, up to 15 cm long, is formed from the base of the pseudobulb. The diameter of open flowers is 6-11 cm, which bloom for 3-4 weeks. The lip looks like a tube or spindle. After flowering, the leaves turn yellow and dry up, during which the plant goes dormant.
Playone orchid: care
It is not difficult to grow a plant in our climate (even as a houseplant). The easiest species to grow are Pleione formosana (the most common) and Pleione grandiflora, a Pleione x barbarae hybrid.
Pleione Orchids have few growing claims, but there are three general rules to follow for good care.
Playona should receive a lot of light, but should be protected from the brightest sunlight. Therefore, from the end of spring, it is recommended to place the plant in the light, avoiding direct sunlight, which can interfere with flowering.
Growing in pots
A bulbous plant from the genus of orchids is well suited both for growing in the garden and in a pot. They are relatively easy to grow indoors on a windowsill. They prefer a humid atmosphere and plenty of fresh air. It is good for them to choose a window facing east or west,
Additional Information! To provide a humid atmosphere, the pots should be placed on a saucer of damp gravel.
The watering of Pleione orchids must correspond to the life cycle of the plant, with a certain precision: in winter every 15 days, and in summer, during the hottest periods, even every 3 or 4 days. Changes in watering should be gradual, starting in September and February.
The transition of Playona from the growth phase to the resting phase is impossible without seasonal temperatures. They usually prefer a temperate cold climate and suffer from temperatures above 26°C. For this reason, it is advisable to grow this orchid outdoors with night temperatures above +12°C until the end of autumn when the temperature drops to +4-5°C.
Playone grown in pots needs an open and draining substrate, but at the same time it must retain moisture. It is recommended to use a mixture consisting of fine coniferous bark, dry sphagnum and agroperlite (another lightweight aggregate can be used).
- six pieces of bark for orchids;
- one part of coarse perlite;
- one part sphagnum moss;
- one part crushed peat.
It is good to choose a suitable pot that guarantees enough space for the roots.
Pleione orchids can be successfully grown outdoors, but care must be taken. The place for their placement should be carefully chosen. The ideal soil for growing Pleione is soft, rich and well-drained. It should be rich in humus in the form of leafy earth or peat, as well as coarse-grained or coarse perlite. Drainage must be excellent.
Plants grown outdoors should be placed in the shade under some plants or shrubs such as camellias or rhododendrons.
At the end of autumn, all pseudobulbs formed during the year must be collected, cleaned of the remnants of the substrate and dead tissues. Place them in paper bags in a cool place (4-6°C) where they will stay until early spring.
In winter they should be checked frequently and as soon as shoot growth is noticed, the bulbs should be taken out of the bags and planted, in containers, and left in place with low brightness, at a temperature of about 10 -16 ° C –
In spring, not all pseudobulbs bloom, but only those that have reached the size of an adult. They need a cycle of 2-3 years before pseudobulbs appear capable of flowering.
If conditions permit, they can be left in the ground, just make sure the planting site is dry and there is no risk of frost. In the latter case, the earth must be covered with mulch. In case of negative temperatures, they can be covered with leaves, straw or a layer of non-woven material.
Watering in the open field
It is important that the soil always remains moist during the growing season, while watering is suspended during the winter months.
In early spring, it is necessary to start watering, but moderately, as excess water can cause root rot. As the roots of the plant develop, watering should be increased.
Starting in September, watering should be done in the morning until the pseudobulbs are dormant so that the leaves dry out when the cold sets in.
For irrigation, it is good to use rainwater or water purified by osmosis.
Reproduction of Pleione orchids occurs by dividing pseudobulbs during the dormant period, when they reach their maximum development. Around the old pseudo-bulb, several “children” grow annually. Each maternal pseudobulb is capable of forming up to 5 new ones of different sizes.
Note! At the end of the season, the newly formed pseudobulb separates from the mother, which gradually disintegrates. In the garden, small bulbs should be lightly buried in the ground, without completely burying them.
As winter approaches, the leaves wither and fall, and the roots die off, leaving the pseudobulbs to survive at low temperatures in a dormant state. In the spring, when the temperature rises, the overwintered pseudo-bulb begins to shoot, and they give leaves and buds, the roots come out from below.
Winter rest at low temperatures gives plants the necessary resources for vegetative recovery.
Playone needs to be fertilized once or twice a month during the growing season until the leaves wither. Fertilizers are applied in small doses in the form of a balanced liquid product.
It is recommended to start with a higher nitrogen content to achieve good leaf development and then move on to a more balanced diet during the growing season.
Parasites and diseases
Attention to the needs of the plant will help to avoid the risk of disease, however, the Playon orchid can have some problems:
- dull leaves are caused by poor lighting;
- growth retardation can be caused by poor watering;
- leaf scorch can be caused by too much light;
- plants can also be attacked by scale insects or aphids, another formidable enemy is root rot.
With proper care and adherence to the watering regimen, the Playone orchid is not exposed to disease.