South Australian Terrestrial Orchid Culture Notes Part Four of Four Parts

Re-establishing Orchids

Replanting in bushland should be restricted to orchid species that grow or once grew in the local area. No hybrids please.

If planting out in the garden or bush, choose a location with good air movement and winter sun and a thin layer of surface mulch. Slashed native ground cover is good. Native terrestrial orchids cannot stand competition from weeds, grasses, slugs and snails and scratching blackbirds (all introduced pests). They will rot away in dense weeds or dense understory plants. If in a frost prone area they may need overhead protection from a shrub or trees. For plants in growth, dig out a hole a little bigger than the tube. Knock out the tube and insert the contents into the hole and backfill with as little disturbance as possible. Dormant tubers can be planted in a furrow, 50mm or more deep, and backfilled just like planting beans. Water in. The colony forming species will spread out and form patches of plants over a period of several years.

Orchid seed is like fine dust and can be mixed with fine dry sand to help spread it over a large area. Broadcast using a pepper-shaker over a suitable site. Results are dependent on the season and whether fungi are present. This method is slow to show results as flowers may not be seen for 5 to 10 years after seed is sown. More seedlings germinate if there are mother plants already growing.

Pot of Arachnorchis argocalla

A pot of Arachnorchis argocalla, 40 cm tall (Fungi Dependent)

To learn more about re-establishing orchids in the bush, visit the Vale Park Our Patch website to see the work being done by Heather Whiting and her team.

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