Platanthera ciliaris
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  #1  
Old 10-21-2018, 08:11 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:)'s Avatar
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Default Platanthera ciliaris

First of all, I want to get one thing out there, successfully growing Platanthera ciliaris is not easy. This is not a beginner's orchid by any stretch of the means. Please consider trying other easier to grow tuberous terrestrial orchids first in order to gain experience.

Platanthera ciliaris is a United States native terrestrial tuberous orchid. It naturally grows throughout much of the east coast of the US down to some of the southern states.

This orchid is not a true bog plant. It does not grow submerged in water much of the time. What it does do is grow near small bodies of water, (like small streams), where it will sometimes get a fair amount of moisture during the spring and summer months. During the fall and winter months, the plant still gets water, but it is much less pronounced.

It goes through a light dormancy period, where it does not experience a true dry out period. The soil they are found in is just damp during the "dry season". This is where failures can occur. If there were any problems I had with growing this orchid, this one's it.

The life cycle goes like so:

Spring: The green shoot grows larger and larger until the stem and leaves emerge.

Late spring: Plant initiates a flower spike on mature growths.

Late spring to early summer: It blooms.

Summer through early fall: Stem and leaves persist, but slowly die back. The underground rhizomes and tuberoids grow green shoots. Roots grow out of shoots.

Fall through winter: Plant can produce more rhizomes and roots. There is no growth in the green shoots.

I may not be 100% accurate with the plant's life cycle, but it is close.

When grown right, this plant can multiply by growing fleshy rhizomes that produce shoots that will eventually produce tuberoids.

They are apparently pretty tolerant of root damage and some minor tuberoid damage towards the tail end of the tuberoid, not where the shoot would grow out of. Should the roots get chopped off halfway, the plant will continue on as if nothing happened to it. If the tuberoid rots from where the shoot grows, it is as good as dead. If the tuberoid rots out, but enough of the tuberoid is left, and the shoot is intact, it will continue to grow. If the rhizome is intact with a shoot growing on it, it will continue to grow.

If the plant's stem and leaves are cut down to half its original size during growing season, the plant will still grow. Tuberoid size and production will suffer, however.

I have not attempted to grow this orchid warmer than 85 F before, so my disclaimer is, I don't know the actual high end range of this orchid's tolerance level. Nor do I know the extreme low end of the orchid's tolerance level. Suffice it to say, it is probably pretty safe to grow this orchid within the range of 45 F - 85 F.

It prefers indirect moderately bright to indirect bright light. I do not recommend growing under full sun. Full sun here in Southern California is extremely powerful, therefore, I don't advise full sun. If you are located in areas where the sun is not so strong, then you may have to play around with the lighting - just know this species does prefer a good amount of light.

I also recommend using RO/DI or rainwater for growing these orchids. Absolutely no tap water.

I use tree fern fiber for growing this species to keep moisture consistent while providing some air circulation. I've tried peat and the plants rotted out. I don't think I've tried using moss, so I cannot advise. I have not tried the more eco-friendly alternative of using shredded coconut husks, but maybe in the near future I will.

This plant does not need its mycorrhizal fungus to survive. It can do just fine without it.

Great Lakes Orchids used to produce these from seed, but I was told that germination rates are pretty low.

Here is what a relatively decent looking Platanthera ciliaris looks like.

It is about 4" across.
Attached Thumbnails
Platanthera ciliaris-platanthera-ciliaris-jpg   Platanthera ciliaris-platanthera-ciliaris-shoot-roots-jpg   Platanthera ciliaris-fe2a4af3-d8bf-4db6-a2da-c844333a3909-jpg  
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 10-21-2018 at 08:28 PM..
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2018, 07:38 AM
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Platanthera ciliaris Male
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The North American species of Platanthera are generally much more difficult than at least some of their European cousins. At least a few of them are readily grown on cardboard mush.
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