Ease to Grow: Moderate
Native Range: Woodlands of Eastern North America
Zones: 3-8 (2-9)
Showy Orchid, Galearis spectabilis, is a little known, but spectacular hardy orchid. Its flower spike typically bears 3 to 12 medium size (1/2") flowers with pink to lavender tops and white bottoms. The flower spur produces droplets of nectar which reward the long-tongued pollinating insects such as bumble bees, butterflies and moths. The pink or lavender hood is formed from three fused sepals. Two petals are tucked inside the hood and the labellum (third petal) is longer and white. It is a late Spring, early Summer bloomer, and flowers can last up to a month or more. Flower spikes benefit from staking, and protection from the wind. Two wide, oval, fleshy leaves rise from the base of the plant. In their natural habit, Showy Orchids grow in open, upland woods, above bogs and fens, usually under deciduous trees in partial to full shade. They rarely are found in full sun. 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 slightly moist during the peak of summer. Provide good drainage, and do not fertilize. It does well in beds and pots, and makes a charming addition to the bog garden.
Our plants are not collected from the wild, and are propagated from root divisions of plants in our collection.
For Showy Orchids size refers to age of plants. Small (1 year), medium (2-3 years), large [flowering size] (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 the species, and not the specific plant shipped.
Height: 4" - 10"
Plant Type: Perennial, cold temperate
Soil: Lady's Slipper Orchid Mix With Lime
Soil pH: 6-7
Light: Partial Sun to Dappled Light
Use: Grows best outdoors in the bog garden or pots.