Pleione formosana

Pleione formosana alba
Pleione formosana alba

An orchid with a few names, Pleione formosana is also known as the ‘Windowsill Orchid’, ‘the ‘Peacock Orchid, and the ‘Taiwan Orchid’.

Whatever you call it, Pleione formosana is an easy care orchid that grows well in the garden as well as in containers.

These are a small growing terrestrial orchid originally from South East Asia. A cool growing orchid they are often grown indoors, however they can do well in the garden.

Flowering in spring to summer they need some protection from frost. Pleione ‘Formosana ‘alba’ is the white flowering species.

A few cultivars such as Pleione formosana ‘Oriental Splendor’ and Pleione formosana semi-alba ‘Cairngorm’ are said to have improved color.

Pleione Orchid Care

The main growing conditions relate to moisture, during active growth, spring to summer Pleione Orchids like to be kept moist when in active growth, in dormancy, Fall to Winter they like to be able to dry out a little.

One of the major requirements is a good quality free draining potting mix, although Pleione Orchids do like moisture they do not like water logged conditions.

When growing in containers or pots use a deep one, this allows for the roots to have room in a cooler environment.

Planting Pleione Orchids

Simply fill the container with the soil mix and place the bulb on the surface, push in firmly making sure around one third is above the soil level. Water in well with a liquid seaweed fertilizer and leave then alone until spring.

Do not over water, if you experience very wet winters, check that the containers are draining freely, if not move to a protected position. Protect from frost and snow as well.

As new growth emerges you can water as needed, but do not overdo it.

Fertilizer

Pleiones are used to a fairly rich source of food, so liquid fertilizer high in potash is an excellent choice once theta begin growth. Once a month from spring to summer. As with all fertilizers, water before using, avoid applying on hot days and avoid watering the foliage.

Avoid slow release or pelletised fertilizer as these can burn the bulbs.

After Care

If you look carefully you may see some little bulbs growing on top of the old bulbs, remember that the pseudo bulbs will die and replace themselves so we need to re-pot every few years,

Again dormancy is the best time, remove the plant from the container and gently remove the soil from the bulb and roots. Last years flowering bulb will be dead, however the new growth buds will be evident.

The old bulbs can be trimmed away, retain as much of the root system as possible, trimming any dead or damaged portions, and you are ready to replant.

Looking at Orchids in more detail

Pleione formosana varieties

  • Pleione formosana – Pink to Purple flowers
  • Pleione formosana alba – White flowering species

Other Pleione species include :

  • Pleione pricei
  • Pleione forrestii
  • Pleione limprichtii
  • Pleione tongariro

Propagation

All are easy by division of established clumps in early spring as new growth commences.