Ease to Grow: Moderate.
Native Range: Woodlands of Eastern North America.
Zones: 5-8 (4-9).
The Cranefly Orchid, Tipularia discolor, is an upland, hardy orchid with small, delicate, almost translucent flowers of cream, brown, green and purple. The fowers are inconspicous, but the winter leaves are large, oval shaped, dark green above with purple veins and raised purple spots. The underside of the leaves is dark purple. They add an interesting texture and color to the fall garden. Leaves die back by the time the flowers appear. Flowers are loosely spread on a tall spike. It is a summer bloomer that benefits from staking, and protection from the wind. Cranefly Orchids naturally grow in open, upland woods, above bogs and fens, usually in mixed woodlands. The soil is typical low nutrient, loose, well drained and humusy. It is consistently moist, but not saturated. There is frequently a layer of decomposing leaves on the soil surface. Light is shade or dappled sunlight. Seeds are very fine and can be a challenge to germinate. It is winter hardy, and should be protected from rodents during dormancy. Mulch with 4+" of pine needles in the Fall. Leave at least a 1" of needles after spring cleanup. The rhizomes can be stored in damp sphagnum at 35°F (2°C) in a refrigerator for 3 or 4 months. Water with rain/distilled water, they are sensitive to mineral buildup. Do not over water, and be sure to keep the soil slight moist during the peak of Summer and especially in the Winter. Keep soil acidic, provide good drainage, and do not fertilize. It needs summer shade and winter sun. It does well in beds and pots, and provides curious color and texture to the winter garden.
Our plants are not collected from the wild, and are propagated from root divisions of plants in our collection.
For Cranefly Orchids size refers to age of plants. Small (1 year), medium (2-3 years), large [floweringsize] (4+ years). Plants are shipped bare-root, wrapped in damp sphagnum moss. In it's dormant season, it will be shipped as a dormant root/rhizome. Photographs are representative of species, and not the specific plant shipped.
Height: 8" - 16".
Plant Type: Perennial, cold temperate.
Soil: Lady's Slipper Mix.
Soil pH: 5-6.
Light: Shade in the Summer, Full Sun in the Winter.
Use: Grows best outdoors in the bog garden or pots.