Can Orchid Plants Grow in the Garden

Is there an orchid plant that I can plant outside in my garden. Will it come back each year or just be an annual?

There are “garden orchid plants” that do well planted outside. My favorite is the Dactylorhiza. It’s pretty easy to grow.

Purple and white Dactylorhiza orchid plant
Dactylorhiza Orchid Plant

Dactylorhiza Orchid Plant

These plants like full sun to slightly partial shade. They need a light airy medium in which to grow.

Adding any of the following to the soil helps the orchid plant grow: compost for hardy perennials, pumice, humus, lots of perlite, and bark is recommended. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Fertilize once a month when the sprouts appear in April with a plant food high in nitrogen diluted to 1/4-1/2 the recommended strength. Once the flowers appear at the end of may and June, stop feeding the plant.

In autumn, the leaves start to yellow and die. once the leaves have totally faded, cut the stems to slightly above the soil line. These orchids are very cold resistant

Over the years and following the successive growth and dormancy cycles, Dactylorhiza not only become stronger but also multiply, thanks to the annual appearance of new bulbs.

Winter Dormancy

During the winter, the plant persists in bulb form and develops new shoots in the spring.

Dactylorhiza orchid bulbs are very frost-resistant down to about 20 degrees F (-6C) and do not need special protection in winter.

The orchid tubers last only a year but are replaced by 2 new ones in the late summer. Dig up these clumps of tubers every 3 or 4 years and seperate them, so the orchids don’t become too crowded.