Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Poor Man's Orchid
Schizanthus pinnatus

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Schizanthus (ski-ZAN-thus) (Info)
Species: pinnatus (pin-NAY-tus) (Info)

17 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By poppysue
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive evelyn206 On May 6, 2010, evelyn206 from Escondido, CA wrote:

I bought seeds for this at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. Have never grown it before, but all the seeds germinated and the plants are simply stunning. I have them growing in individual pots and also in combination with calibrachoas and lobelia. Beautiful, delicate flowers in ranges of pink and magenta. Great for window boxes or other places where they can trail. Will definitely grow this again. I garden in zone 9.5.

Positive LJeske On Apr 21, 2009, LJeske from Spangle, WA wrote:

In zone 5a/5b (Spangle, WA) seeds are sown inside an unheated greenhouse in early spring. Seeds are sown on top of soil with tray covered for darkness. Once seedlings appear, seedlings are set in diffused yet brightly lit areas. Plants grow well in shaded greenhouse or full sun. Foliage is greener and fuller in shaded area. Beautiful plant with continuous flowers for hanging baskets and window boxes. Seeds are easy to collect if seeds are allowed to dry, open and fall in to some sort of tray.

Positive Ursula On Feb 13, 2005, Ursula from Santiago
Chile (Zone 9b) wrote:

This beautiful Chilean Native meadow annuals are best sown directly in early Spring on a previously prepared soil mix of equeal parts of compost and river sand. They require full sun and moderate water.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 30, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Half-hardy Annual. Also known as Poor Man's Orchid. Bushy, upright annual with fern-like foliage and clusters of miniature, orchid-like flowers in purple, mauve-pink, yellow or white, with markings in white, yellow, black or red. Needs rich, moist soil and will flower best as a pot plant or a greenhouse specimen. Pinch tips of young plants to encourage bushy growth. Sow seeds in late summer for pot-bound flowers in late winter or spring. Susceptible to aphids. 'Disco' is a recommended hybrid variety on neat, compact plants in intricate, pretty colors.

Neutral wannadanc On Jun 24, 2001, wannadanc from Olympia, WA wrote:

Profuse orchidlike flowers in pink, rose, lilac, purple, or white, all with markings in various colors. Blossoms look quite showy against the ferny foliage, make long lasting cut flowers. Give well drained, rich soil in a wind sheltered site. Good potted plant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Baywood-los Osos, California
Escondido, California
Fortuna, California
Long Beach, California
Lewiston, Idaho
Barbourville, Kentucky
Stephenson, Michigan
Perham, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Chewelah, Washington
Cosmopolis, Washington
Spangle, Washington

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