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I bought 2 pots of ground orchids almost three years ago. One had purple flowers and the other white. I liked them because I thought growing ground orchids would be easier than cultivating hanging orchids. I haven’t had luck with hanging orchids even if they seemed to grow just about anywhere here. Even my dancing-lady orchids haven’t bloomed, and it’s already been a year when they were given to me. These kinds of orchids just seem too delicate, and they really need your time and attention. Plus, they are pretty expensive, and they could die if you don’t take care of them properly. So, I opted for ground orchids, which were hardier.

Spathoglottis Plicata
Terrestrial orchids, which are also known as Spathoglottis plicata (commonly known as “Philippine Ground Orchid), look delicate but they are very tough and easy to propagate. Even with my inexperienced gardening skills, my ground orchids still offered me their gorgeous blooms every few months or so. I just watered them regularly, twice a day during very hot summers.

After a while, however, I noticed that the plants have become too overcrowded in their pots. I thought, “Maybe I should repot them to allow their roots to breathe.” So, I set a Saturday for that.

What I Did Wrong
I told an acquaintance that I was going to repot my ground orchids. She was pretty helpful in giving me instructions on how I needed to go about that task. I absorbed what she said because I thought she knew what she was talking about. She said, “You should cut off some of the roots to allow more to grow.” Okay. I know this seems stupid, but I took that seriously. So, even though it was a bit painful for me to snip those delicate roots away, I did. She was supposed to be the expert; and I was the green gardener. She even came over to show me how.

The Result of My Folly
My plants didn’t die. (Thank goodness!) But I guess it took awhile for them to recover from my cutting spree because they didn’t blossom for more than a year after my foolhardy job. My plants were just sitting there, day in and day out, not blooming. It just seemed to me that they were a bit cross with me for hurting their life source.

Anyway, after awhile, I decided that they needed another bout of TLC. So, about 2 to 3 months ago, we repotted the ground orchids in rich soil. We placed some in pots and we also planted some directly in the ground.

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Here are a few tips to planting ground orchids:
– If you want to propagate them, divide the tubers or bulbs. You can plant each of them in separate pots. I tried this and it worked. Before, I only had 1 pot each of both the purple and white ground orchids. Now, I have lots. I even gave some away to my neighbor yesterday.

– In case you want them to really grow big, try directly planting them in the ground. In my experience, the ones I planted in the ground grew bigger leaves and they had thicker stalks where the flowers are.

– Are you thinking of using fertilizer? Well, you can. For me, I used urine. Sometimes (usually when I notice that my flowering plants aren’t blooming), I collect my daughter’s early morning urine. (She’s 2, so she doesn’t mind.) Then, I mix this with a bucket of water. I use this in all my flowering plants, and it actually works. Do not use concentrated or undiluted urine because this can harm plants.

The Result
I am really happy that my ground orchids are blooming again. The whites are more abundant than the purples. My first purple bloomed a month ago, but it wasn’t able to fully blossom as its buds were infested with black ants. Thankfully, it bloomed again, and there’s even a bigger one waiting to open.

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