Cold hardiness of Spathoglottis? (Chinese Ground Orchid)

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I couldn't resist buying one of the Spathoglottis orchids that were available at Lowe's a few months back. It is continuing to bloom and doing well in the spot I chose for it: part shade, daily watering, in the ginger patch on the southside of my house.

I've been growing the Nun's Orchid (Phaius Tankervillae) for several years. They survive the winters fine and are one of the first things to bloom in the Spring. I also have a yellow ground orchid (not yet identified) that is Fall flowering and also has done well for me.

I'm concerned that the Spathoglottis picata may not be winter hardy here. The Plant Files list it as growing in only Zone 11, which is way south of me!! (but the PF Zone ranges are not always accurate since we can put anything in there when entering a new plant to the database).

I would be interested in knowing if anyone else has grown this ground orchid, especially if you live up toward the Zone 8b/9a area. It is a beautiful thing, and I don't want it to freeze to death this winter. If it turns out not to be winter hardy here, I'll trade it for some additional P. tankervillae or some other more hardy ground orchid.

Jeremy

Thumbnail by JaxFlaGardener
Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

I haven't tried that one yet.
I have epidendrum radicans which was out all winter here in zone 9 with no problem.

http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/66666/index.html

Lake City, FL(Zone 8b)

Hi Jeremy - Your plant is beautiful.
I've tried in Zone 8b in the ground and they did die back but came back. Not very well though - so I dug mine up, planted in a pot and will move to the greenhouse before the first frost. Even though you are in Jacksonville - I'm not sure what your yard looks like or how much protection you have. It looks like you have it planted by a concrete wall - which the concrete does hold heat. If you want to stay green all year why not plant the potted plant in the ground and remove during freeze or just mulch heavily and cover with a large pot during those cold nights.

Archer/Bronson, FL(Zone 8b)

Jeremy,

An interesting thought. I kind of assume when you live in zone 9, you buy plants in zone 9, especially if the nursery has the plants out in the "general population" (not counting orchids) then they would grow in that zone.

It does get me to thinking. I have a couple ground orchids here. I have had them about 3 years. They were in bloom when I bought them. They didn't bloom last year at all and only one has bloomed this year. They are both still alive. I also have a Nun's Orchid too and it does fine. My point about all this is, even in zone 10, they don't all perform perfectly.

It would seem if you baby it through the winter like you have successfully done with your other tropicals, they should do fine.

Molly
:^)))

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Thanks, juja. I'm glad to know the Spathiglottis can possibly survive most of our winters and return. Even though I will, for the first time, have a permanent greenhouse structure this winter, I've gotten very weary of keeping anything in a pot and providing winter protection by hauling the pots in and out of the greenhouse. I'm getting to the point where I don't want to do this for anything other than my orchids and a few large potted palms and the Ficus benjamina I've had for about 10 years. So, I think I'll leave the Spathiglottis in the ground and give it a good blanket of hay and pine straw in the winter and hope that we don't have one of our cold snaps where the temps go down to the teens or below.

And Molly, I don't always trust that what the mega stores sell as perennials are actually winter hardy in the area where they are sold. I've bought heliconias each year for the past two years and none of them return. The heliconias might grow a little further south and closer to the river and the higher temps that the river provides to the ambient air in winter, but I've given up on heliconias for my garden. From my observation, the garden manager at the Lowe's and Home Depot where I frequently shop are not exactly the most knowledgeable people when it comes to plants. I don't know if the mega stores require any prior plant knowledge to manage the garden centers or if people just promote up through the ranks and end up managing the garden center because that's where the job opening happens to be. One more reason, I suppose, to buy from the smaller local nurseries that have more of a personal investment and, most likely, more information about the plants they are selling; but the prices at the mega stores, especially the sale table at Lowe's!, keeps bringing me back to those stores.

Lake City, FL(Zone 8b)

Jeremy - those mega stores are in business to sell plants and very seldom do you find someone that knows what they are selling, plus most plants are either grown in south Florida or California and hauled in with generic labels- that don't really list much info at all - if the plants are even tagged. There are some great little nurseries around and I probably visited them all when I lived in Jacksonville. If you want a few favorites of mine - email me and I'll give you directions - some you may have to travel abit because one is in Mandarin and the other is almost at the beach.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Yes, Judy, please let me know your favorite nurseries around Jacksonville. I stop in to those I pass along the way in my travels around town (my old van goes into auto-pilot and I find myself suddenly, uncontrollably in the parking lot of nurseries whenever one appears on the horizon -- probably a familiar experience for all of us!).

I like Plant Ranch in Orange Park, right beside the RR tracks, but I'm not down that way often. I've been to Gecko's once and, despite their slightly high prices, I came home with some treasures (including my dinner plate flower sized hibiscus, "Dixie Belle" which is in bloom right now and always a show stopper). There is a small nursery, Pat's I think is their name, just north of Green Cove Springs that I used to frequent when I had a part-time job as a courier for auto parts between stores for Advanced/Discount Auto Parts. That nursery was on my delivery route. It was especially nice when they had their annual end-of-season sale to clear out all the plants and make room for the cut Christmas trees. At that time of year, everything they have is on sale for $1 !!, including the wonderful Monrovia and Jackson & Perkin shrubs and plants. I would load up my van with lots of new specimens and fill a lot of garden space for about $25.00! I no longer have the part-time job as auto parts chauffeur. I've asked, and they don't seem to have a mailing list so that I can stay abreast of when the clearance sale occurs (usually a week or so before Thanksgiving). Maybe if enough of us in the area get together and I let them know we are ready to swoop down on them to haul off everything they have, they might give me a call just before the clearance sale begins.

I've been thinking of starting a thread in this new "Florida Forum" to see if anyone wants to join me to visit small local nurseries and have lunch together. I'm intending to make my first visit to Maggie's Herbs, about 40 miles south of Jax nearer to St. Augustine, but well worth the trip from what I've been told.

Jeremy

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

JFG, Sugar has been down to St Augustine twice this last week playing tourist. Whatcha' wanna' bet she has already checked it out! LOL

Start a new thread..."If you start it, they will come"!
Pati

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I did start the thread ... you can see it as a new heading under "Florida Gardening." I hope I get to meet some of the other DGers from NE Florida and bring home a lot of herbs from the "field trip" to Maggie's nursery.

Maggie's husband happens to also be a local artist, professor at Palatka School of the Arts, that is an acquaintance of my friend, Marilyn, my junior high school art teacher that taught me everything I know about art and whom will be coming along with me on the trip.
I hope somehow there will be enough of a personal connection to get a discount on herbs!!


Jeremy

Lake City, FL(Zone 8b)

I do miss the nurseries of Jacksonville and surrounding areas, Magggie was great although it has been afew years since I've visited. I'm finding alot of great ones over here in the "country" :-) Gainesville has great ones! I luv the Gecko Gardens but like you said - they are proud of their plants. Another one is the Plant Ranch down Beach Blvd, but my favorite one is a little one tucked away in Mandarin off of Hood Road call "Let it Grow Garden Center" - phone number is 904-288-7899, great stuff that is hardy to Jacksonville, knowledgeable staff and great prices. Go with an empty van because I'll guarantee you'll fill it up.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I have it too! I love the ground orchid because it just keeps blooming. Then in my nursery travels one day, I came upon the yellow variety. This one was in the shade so I put it in my part shade garden and it is blooming it's lilttle head right off. Also, the leaves are not getting yellow like my purple that I have in pretty much full sun. In April I will tell you how they survived the winter. Next week, I will tell you how they survived Dennis.

Thumbnail by Happy_1
Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

A yellow variety of Spathoglottis! Another plant to covet!

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Jeremy,

Have you tried S&J on St. augustine? They are huge. Their prices are much better than Gecko's. I also like Trads on San Jose for some things. It's the usual grocery store for milkweed for the butterflies. I haven't been to Let it Grow yet or to Plant Ranch- I'll check that out.

Maggie

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I haven't heard of S & J, but will look them up. Trads I've been to with a friend that owns a landscaping business that hired me as part-time laborer for a while (Working for a landscape company is a great way to get free plants, by the way -- I hauled home lots of the "trash" that we pulled out of people's yards when they bought a new property and wanted to change all the landscaping to suit their own whims and ways. I would have continued with the job, but it was taking too much time away from my own garden!!)

If you need milkweed, come by and get some of mine. I have lots of volunteer seedlings coming up and some plants have seed heads bursting open now with the silk umbrellas ready to fly around!

I'm meeting up with my friend, Marilyn, to take her in for wheelchair repair on Powers Ave near University sometime next week. We will probably make a plant nursery stop, and S & J sounds like it would be nearby. Thanks for the recommendation!

Jeremy

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Jeremy,

Do you need a tree? They have a coupon for 20% off until 7/27. They may honor the offer if you ask about it. If not, you can have mine. They have golf carts to get around the nursery so if your friend can get into the cart it should be an easier tour. There were some muddy patches when I was there before all this rain.

The nursery is actually on Old St. Augustine & World Golf Village
7820 S.R. 13
288-8733
7AM to 6PM M- Sa
295S to Old St. Augustine, east, it's on the south side of the road

Is it too late to plant milkweed seeds? I got some closeout seeds at BigLots but thought I would have to wait until next year to plant them. No? I'd like to create a butterfly waystation.
This spring I redecorated our new house a bunch. Too bad I didn't know you then- I left plants at the roadside with little signs for whoever wanted them. One lady was thrilled. I'd dug up some huge elephant ears with lots of roots and she had acres to fill in. I was glad to see them go.
What's the plan with the trip to Maggie's? Do you know how many DG people we have here?

Maggie

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Hmmm. I was hoping S & J would be closer to St. Augustine Rd near Powers Ave, but it looks like it is more toward the south end of the road in the St. Augustine area. Marilyn and I may have to forego the trip to S & J on this outing, but it sounds like S & J is near enough to Maggie's Herbs that the two could be combined into one field trip.

I've not heard from any other Jax DG folks that they want to coordinate a nursery tour. Maybe if I choose a date when I plan to go, others may then find that they can plan for the get-together at the nurseries.

Jeremy

(Zone 9a)

Jeremy...

Have you gotten any seed pods on your spath?

Ever pollenated it by hand???

I did mine 2 months ago and it worked pretty good

Chris

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Haven't seen any seed pods, Chris. But the final flowers on the spathiglottis are just now leaving. It has been a great addition to my ground orchid collection. I do have some seed pods on what I think is Epidendrum fulgens (never got a definite I.D. for it in the I.D. or orchid forums). The process for flasking orchid seeds and raising the infants seems beyond my capacities for time and skill level currently. You're welcome to the E. fulgens seed pods if you want to give them a try.

I do have another ground orchid that just started blooming in a purple color similar to the spathiglottis, but the flowers are much smaller. I'm not sure of its I.D. I may have to search back through my plant tags or post a photo to determine which orchid species it is. My fall flowering orange ground orchid hasn't made any spikes yet. It may have been too shaded this year from surrounding gingers, but I'm still hopeful it will send up a spike.

Jeremy

Jeremy

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