Orchid, Ground Orchid, The Striped Bletilla, Bletilla Murasaki Shikibu 'Alba'

Bletilla striata

Family: Orchidaceae (or-kid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bletilla (bleh-TIL-uh) (Info)
Species: striata (stree-AH-tuh) (Info)
Grex name:Murasaki Shikibu
Clonal name:Alba



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade



Good Fall Color



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Light Blue

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

San Diego, California

Jacksonville, Florida

Blackwood, New Jersey

Raleigh, North Carolina

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Houston, Texas

Murchison, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Newport News, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 26, 2015, jackjrabbit from Blackwood, NJ wrote:

Bletilla striata grows very well in the sandy areas of southern New Jersey especially when mulched with the leaves of deciduous trees each year. Leaves are helpful in maintaining good moisture in the summer, and protection from cold in the winter.

Be especially careful with the alba form which burns much more easily in the afternoon sun.


On Nov 18, 2007, sandiegojames from San Diego, CA wrote:

A pleasant little white orchid for the outdoors. The blooms are cattleya-like, fairly cupped, and quite small--maybe 1-1/2 to 2 inches across. Several are borne on stems that reach ca. 24 inches.

I grow mine in what's probably a slightly dry and overbright (full sun after mid-morning) location than they'd ideally like, but they bloom reliably each spring and have multiplied into a clump about 3 feet across. The plants share space with paperwhite narcissus. When the bletillas start to leaf up, I chop back the narcissus. When the narcissus start to show themselves, I chop back the bletillas. The plants would porbably prefer to ripen the foliage fully, but both plants keep coming back and bloom reliably.


On May 25, 2007, largosmom from Newport News, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I'm adding a photo of a mature clump of Bletilla striata alba to the plant files. It was taken at the nearby Norfolk Botanical Gardens where there were several nice clumps in the shade garden with the hostas. Very nice. I have a couple of stems just getting started in my own garden. The pinks have bloomed this year already, but not the white ones yet.


On Mar 11, 2006, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This white flowering variety of B. striata has returned and bloomed in my garden for about 3 years now. It is slow to multiply, but one or two new plants have emerged around the original single pseudobulb.

I have it planted in my ginger patch, so it is watered almost daily. Our sandy soil in NE Florida probably helps keep the B. striata 'alba' plants drained of excess moisture.



On Mar 10, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

Hardy easy to grow orchid which I grow in my zone 6 garden with average winter leaf mulch. The first year it came back it didn't flower but last summer (it's second year) It grew in size and put out about 3 flower stalks. Very Nice.

UPDATE Mar/29/08: Last summer this plant had doubled in size from the previous year, putting out 5 or 6 flower stalks!


On Jan 27, 2006, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Beautiful hardy orchids for the woodland or shade garden. The delicate, nodding white flowers last for several weeks in our gardens. Needs excellent drainage. Will establish large clumps. An excellent companion for Ferns.