Chinese Pleione Culture

The Chinese Pleione species P. formosana, P.bulbocodiides, P.limprichtii, and P.speciosa, as well as their hybrids, are the focus of these cultural comments. As a result, the procedures apply to all of the plants that are described on my website.

Although these are the techniques that I use in the United Kingdom (UK), I am certain that there are alternative approaches to cultivating these plants, both in the United Kingdom and in other countries.

In a modest greenhouse with a temperature controlled at 2 degrees Celsius, I cultivate my pleiones (i.e. set to exclude frost). Some species of Pleiones cannot produce flowers until the winters are very cold, and it is believed that the colors of Pleiones, particularly Shantung hybrids, are improved when the temperature during the winter is lower.

When I take the dormant pseudobulbs out of their respective pots in the middle of January, the new Pleione year begins for me. After meticulously removing what’s left of the shriveled pseudobulbs from the previous season and trimming the roots to a length of about an inch, I next transplant the seeds. My compost has excellent drainage and is quite open; its components are as follows:

  • Bark for orchid potting in a volumetric proportion of 10 parts
  • 2 portions of sterile leafmould (or peat if you prefer)
  • 1 part coarse grade perlite.

For some species, such as P. forrestii, P. x confusa, and P. aurita, I add some moss that I have taken off the lawn (wood moss could also work, but sphagnum does not work since it retains too much water and dies soon when combined with the fertilizer that will be used).

The pseudobulbs are planted with just a half to three-quarters of an inch of space between them, ideally with the shoot or shoot facing the same direction (that way the flowers all face the same way). It is ideal for around one-third of the pseudobulb to protrude above the compost. When I pot up, the compost is often still a little bit moist.

When I start to notice