Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Species Orchid, Hardy Ground Orchid, Striped Bletilla, Urn Orchid, Bletilla
Bletilla striata

Family: Orchidaceae (or-kid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bletilla (bleh-TIL-uh) (Info)
Species: striata (stree-AH-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Bletia gebina
Synonym:Bletia hyacinthina
Synonym:Bletia striata
Synonym:Bletilla elegantula
Synonym:Bletilla gebina

44 members have or want this plant for trade.

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
White/Near White

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


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

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:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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17 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Mikeatle On Jun 19, 2011, Mikeatle from Erwin, TN wrote:

I had this little orchid gem growing in my East Tennessee garden for over twenty years. I planted it under a couple of dogwoods with some purple azaleas nearby. Apparently, it loved the spot because it spread over the years so that each spring there were dozens of flower spikes. The only problem we had with Bletilla was that it normally got a very quick start in the spring, sometimes sending up early leaves in late February. I always kept fabric row cover handy for covering it on chilly nights, which was really the only "work" required to keep the plant happy. When we moved, we did not take any of the Bletilla with us; however, I know that the new homeowners have kept it growing. In all, the plant has been happily growing in that semi-shady spot for close to thirty years.

Positive galberras On Oct 20, 2010, galberras from Woodinville, WA wrote:

My daughter grows these in hard clay and morning sun in Spanish Fork, Utah. They are buried in snow over the winter and kept moist in the summer and are very happy and beautiful. I agree that they have to be divided every 2-3 years. I had mine in a pot in Seattle, but my friend has them all over her yard, also in this area. They are very pretty and fragrant.

Positive amscram On May 7, 2010, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

From two or three tubers planted 10 years ago I now have a rather large stand of these in my garden - and they are showy! Visitors unvariably are drawn to them.

The only problem is that they start sending shoots up in early January (down here in the deep South), and they are frost-sensitive, which means that I have to cover them with blankets and whatnot on cold nights. This past January we had a few nights down to 20 degrees and even the blankets didn't help - thus, only about a third of the flower buds survived.

Positive autrevie On Apr 23, 2010, autrevie from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've been growing this species in different states (NJ-NC-LA-TX) for 30+ years. Bletilla striata appears to tolerate and re-bloom in a wide variety of climates and temperature zones. I now grow clumps outside in Houston, both in beds (amid ferns and bright shade) and in pots. It blooms here every March, sometimes even in late February. Bletilla striata alba also does well. Remember to fertilize!
Bletilla ochracea (the yellow species) is much less robust and I have had problems growing it here in Gulf coast. Perhaps it really requires cooler weather?

Positive leiannec On Nov 9, 2009, leiannec from Oakland, CA wrote:

This plant does well in both shade and part shade--seems pretty tough in this climate. Nice to see it come back every year.

Positive MonaBarcs On May 4, 2009, MonaBarcs from Livingston, TX wrote:

In my experience this plant is pretty hardy. I've had it over 6 years, it's barely in any soil and got nearly choked out by grass, and this spring it began blooming again. Last spring it did not bloom. I'm watering it twice weekly and it does seem to prefer to be in dappled sun rather than full sun. I'm about to seperate it and put it in better soil so it will grow better and hopefully spread.

Positive thida On Mar 27, 2009, thida from Fremont, CA wrote:

They do not like the dry hot California sun. I grow them in the shady spot along with other parennials Forget-me-not, Begonia, Fusia, Foxglove, and annual Immapatients in my SF Bayarea northern CA.

Positive bahakiwi On Aug 15, 2008, bahakiwi from Port Orange, FL wrote:

I have a tricky spot around our walkway where it gets part sun and it floods dreadfully. I have not found any plants to survive in it except for lilyturf so when I planted these flowers, I had low expectations. I did not amend the soil and to be honest, I have not checked on them since I planted them a month ago. Last week, I noticed some beautiful purple flowers on one of them and I could not believe it. Finally, some success and even better, it is an orchid, which are stunning. I don't know how they will stand up to our winters yet but it is doing great so far in the summer.

Positive jjoyner62 On Mar 30, 2008, jjoyner62 from Newport News, VA wrote:

Contrary to the above notation, Bletillas are easily grown from seed sown in much the same manner as gesneriads. Flasking, the usual method of sowing orchid seeds, is apparently not necessary for this genus. I've been having very good luck with raising seedlings almost to the bloom stage in three years since making the original crosses. I'm looking forward to doing much more hybridizing among the species, variants, and hybrids in my collection.

Positive Marilynbeth On Dec 10, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Love it! It's a joy seeing the beautiful 'purple' flowers every Spring. I started with one root around 1998 and left it alone and it has now multiplied to about 10 or 12 'stalks' coming out of the ground. It gets the morning sun and seems happy where it is.

Positive sladeofsky On May 27, 2006, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I originally had this plant in clay in a partly sunny sight. It barely grew. So I excavated the clay and replaced the top 8" with composted peat. Wow, what a difference! Now it blooms hardily and has spread to make a nice clump. I add my daily coffee grinds and some pine straw throughout the year to keep the organic matter high.

Positive EandEsmom On May 11, 2006, EandEsmom from Ashburn, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this plant, so pretty and a nice shade of purple when it blooms. I wish this plant would spread faster. I have it is part to full shade and it does great. I started with only one stalk 3 years ago and now it has several. A very underused plant.

Positive ladyannne On May 2, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A precious, delicate beauty, slow to populate, and always a joy to see in spring. It blooms for a lengthy time (over a month) but I wish it could multiply a bit faster. Neglect works fine here.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Mar 25, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted three varieties of this ground orchid last year ('hyacintha' - purple, 'alba' - white, and 'aurea' - yellow). One of the albas bloomed the first year. The others didn't seem to be doing well, but several of all three varieties returned this Spring and are multiplying from their underground rhizomes in near distance from the original plants, much to my delight! The hyacintha and alba are currently in bloom. The aurea has not yet bloomed nor shown signs of a flower spike. Some of the alba are the white varigated striped leaf variety mentioned here. I have these orchids planted amongst my ginger plants in semi-shade with almost daily watering. A few thousand of them would be very welcome!

Positive henryr10 On May 16, 2004, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Will also take some pretty good punishment.
Not a tender orchid at all.
Ours is planted in between Maple roots in average to poor soil.
Morning sun.
Has returned and flowered now for 4 years.
No Winter care given.

Tough, long blooming and quite beautiful.

Positive soilsandup On Mar 15, 2004, soilsandup from Sacramento, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A nice carefree plant. The purple ones that I have tend to be taller and generally more robust than the white ones. I have some in mostly shade, some part sun/shade, and some in almost all sun and they do well in all of those locations. You do have to thin every now and then but I never have problems finding people who wants some.

Positive wnstarr On Mar 11, 2004, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Edgewood, Washington
There is also a white variety, "alba". I have this and the purple variety growing next to the Koi pond. There is also a variety that has foliage edged in white. Multiplies fast but seems to do best if undisturbed and left to form nice clumps. Foliage is attractive even when the plant is not in flower.

Neutral Baa On Aug 5, 2001, Baa wrote:

Bletilla striata is a terrestrial orchid from China, Taiwan and Japan. The rhizomes form psuedobulbs half in and half out of the soil from which the leaves and flower stems appear early in the year.

Has lance like, ribbed, mid-green leaves. Bears bright purple-pink flowers.

Flowers between April and July

Loves leafy, moist but well-drained soil in light shade in a sheltered site. Needs to be dry in winter when dormant. May also need a winter mulch in regions that get regular frosts.

The main pests are red spider mite and aphid.


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

Huntsville, Alabama
Ashdown, Arkansas
Blytheville, Arkansas
Booneville, Arkansas
Albany, California
Amesti, California
Brentwood, California
Fremont, California
Fresno, California
Laguna Niguel, California
Long Beach, California
Martinez, California
Merced, California
Modesto, California
Oakland, California
Perris, California
Sacramento, California (2 reports)
Salinas, California
San Jose, California
Santa Barbara, California
Vallejo, California
Vista, California
Walnut Creek, California
Clifton, Colorado
Monument, Colorado
East Haddam, Connecticut
Daytona Beach, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
North Port, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Valparaiso, Florida
Hinesville, Georgia
Jesup, Georgia
Lula, Georgia
Carbondale, Illinois
Lawrence, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Belle Rose, Louisiana
Folsom, Louisiana
Madisonville, Louisiana
College Park, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan (2 reports)
Ludington, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Madison, Mississippi
Reno, Nevada
Montclair, New Jersey
Brevard, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Chesterland, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Claremore, Oklahoma
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Beaufort, South Carolina
Blythewood, South Carolina
Clarks Hill, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Elgin, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Erwin, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Coppell, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Gilmer, Texas
Houston, Texas
Humble, Texas
Livingston, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Murchison, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Spanish Fork, Utah
Alexandria, Virginia
Ashburn, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Anacortes, Washington
Bellevue, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Vancouver, Washington (2 reports)
Woodinville, Washington

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