Bletilla striata 'Albostriata' - CHINESE GROUND ORCHID Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils that do not dry out. Plant pseudobulbs 1-2" deep in spring. Apply winter mulch in USDA Zones 5 and 6.
Last summer I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Bletilla striata, the Chinese ground orchid, and how easy it is to grow in the Pacific Northwest. I was at a nursery and noticed a clump of pleated lily-like foliage in a garden border. Tough, little, orchids. These terrestrial beauties grow in the ground, unlike their fancy tropical cousins who prefer to hang from trees in humid forests.
The name of this Hardy Ground Orchid in Japanese means "amazing lipstick," referring to the strong pink flush around the lip of its small white, Cattleya-like flower. Like its other B. striata cousins, this one is easy to grow in the lightly shaded garden or in containers and is long-blooming. As clumps of 'Kuchibeni' expand gradually, the effect is sensational, especially massed under deciduous trees. All Ground Orchids need a heavy winter mulch in Zone 6.