Aplectrum hyemale Growing
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  #1  
Old 11-20-2011, 12:47 PM
that-smith-kid that-smith-kid is offline
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Aplectrum hyemale Growing
Default Aplectrum hyemale Growing

Hi! First post

So I'm new to orchids (I've never grown one), but have a large collection of carnivorous plants and have been growing them successfully for about a year now.

My dad was hunting and he brought home an odd little plant he found in the woods that he thought I would like to see. He unrooted it quite well and brought it home. It had a single leaf sort of like a Hosta's, and had two bulbs.

After a little research I found out it's an Aplectrum hyemale, the Adam-and-Eve-Root orchid. It's a cool little plant, and I would like to add it to my indoor collection. However, I can find very little information about growing it. So I thought perhaps an orchid forum might be able to help

Anyways, I have a terrarium for some of my milder-climate carnivorous plants that sits near my window, stays somewhat low in temperature (50s-60s F), and is on a 12-hour flourescent light photocycle. Will this be suitable for Aplectrum? From what I understand they are a winter-time plant.

I also read they like low-nutrient soil, so I was wondering if my standard carnivorous plant soil mix of 50:50 peat moss : perlite would work well, or if I should just use normal potting soil.

I water the carnivorous plants in this terrarium with reverse osmosis water that is fertilized with 1/4tsp Miracid per 1 Gallon water. Will this do well? Or should I use unfertilized water?

Anything else I should know about trying to grow it? Although it only has one leaf, it's a beautiful little leaf, and I guess this would be a good way to start incorporating orchids into my collection of plants

Thanks!
that-smith-kid

Last edited by that-smith-kid; 11-20-2011 at 12:54 PM..
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2011, 03:49 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Aplectrum hyemale is a difficult species to cultivate if it was collected inappropriately and carelessly from the forest!

Terrestrial orchids in general are notorious for being difficult to grow in cultivation due to one major factor...

Many species generally don't produce very many roots. This applies for Aplectrum hyemale.

This particular species also has fleshy roots that do not penetrate too deep into the ground, and can spread much wider than the leaf is long, if you know what I mean (Please ask if you don't). They can easily be damaged if your father unknowingly dug too close around the plant.

If the roots are badly damaged upon collection you are hard pressed to grow it in the long term. Although it may not be an impossible task, it will be a long, hard, and tumultuous ride.

Digging too close to the leaf itself can also be a problem as it could possibly slice into one of the tubers (they are stem tubers, not root tubers, btw). A damaged tuber is a dead tuber, they are not forgiving like potato tubers can be. If there were multiple tubers joined together, do not even attempt to separate them. This could cause potential problems with energy transfer issues later down the road, particularly when you don't know the plant's life history.

With all that said, if you happen to have obtained a relatively intact and healthy specimen, they are not impossible to grow.

While it is true that many terrestrial orchids do utilize symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi, this particular species doesn't appear to be very heavily dependant on this symbiosis.

They grow in shade to bright shade.

These are cold - intermediate growing species. There is documentation of this orchid being able to grow in areas where there is a considerable amount of frost. It is not necessary to recreate this type of freezing environment to successfully grow this orchid in cultivation.

Dormant tubers can tolerate a considerable amount of heat. Mine has survived our warm summers that can shoot up to a little over 100 F. However, the caveat being that I have mine in clay pots that keep them somewhat cool.

They are for the most part winter growing/summer dormant.

The single leaf starts growing underground as early as late summer. By fall, it will have emerged from the ground. As winter approaches, the leaf is usually fully unfurled and fully formed.

Blooming season is in the spring after the leaf has died back.

Do not water this species much during the summer at all. Once a month is kinda pushing it for this species. It is prone to rot if they are over watered during dormancy. Once it starts rotting, it's as good as dead.

During the winters they should be grown evenly moist. Make sure the soil drains well. They are prone to rot if water sits in the pot and the soil remains soggy for extended periods of time.

Contrary to what you state, they more often than not are found primarily growing in rich top soils in woodlands, often with lots of calcium. The soil pH should be slightly more alkaline.

Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 11-20-2011 at 04:27 PM..
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  #3  
Old 11-21-2011, 07:26 PM
that-smith-kid that-smith-kid is offline
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Aplectrum hyemale Growing
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Thanks for the awesome reply!

Hopefully soil and root-wise they should be fine. My dad found two nearby each other and he dug them out in about a 6-inch ball of dirt and mulch and put them in a bucket, and I simply potted them in the soil they were already growing in. If they were benefiting from any sort of symbiotic relationship hopefully I didn't disturb that.

I gave their soil each a couple spritzes of reverse osmosis water, just enough to make it moist, not soggy. My dad said they were growing in a bottom that stays wet most of the year, so perhaps they are used to a damper soil?

I'm also giving them fluorescent light 12" above them, trying to give them a fairly natural light cycle, turning the light on at sunrise and off at sunset. They're also receiving what little sunlight my north-facing window gets.

The only thing I've noticed about them is that instead of drooping, like I expected they would from transplanting, each leaf stood up and are now pointing upward at about a 45 degree angle. I'm not sure what this means in an orchid, but maybe their happy from the extra light their getting? Should I filter their light more, or perhaps let them have just the indirect sunlight from the window?

Thanks again! I was told by my friend who is an avid orchid grower that growing orchids from out of the wild is usually futile. I'm really sad that my dad did bring them in after I found out that they are far and few between in my area (Southern Illinois), and he had even managed to find a little colony of two! If I manage to make these guys happy, I'm definitely going to take their seeds (should they produce any seed pods) out to where my dad got them on a nice breezy day, and sow them. Hopefully I can help increase the population in my area of these odd, pretty little plants

Last edited by that-smith-kid; 11-21-2011 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:30 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

Thanks for the awesome reply!

Hopefully soil and root-wise they should be fine. My dad found two nearby each other and he dug them out in about a 6-inch ball of dirt and mulch and put them in a bucket, and I simply potted them in the soil they were already growing in. If they were benefiting from any sort of symbiotic relationship hopefully I didn't disturb that.
The way that your dad transported them is actually the most ideal way. Particularly for a terrestrial orchid that is being collected during growing season.

Most of the times, collecting an orchid that usually goes dormant during growing season causes a lot of disturbance to the plant, and may have severe consequences in certain cases in the long run, but not always.

In cultivation, any kind of repotting for an orchid that goes dormant, is usually done during dormancy in order to minimize disturbance. There are caveats to this guideline though - be aware!

The fungi may be larger than you really think it is! There are reports that state these mycorrhizal fungi colonies are in actuality as large as the forest itself!

Although there may be some disturbance, it may not be a life threatening issue for your orchid.

I can't necessarily say the same for the fungi that is in the immediate vicinity of the orchid's roots. But I don't think the mycorrhizal fungi in the forest was devastated just from this one act. So I'd venture to say, it's all good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

I gave their soil each a couple spritzes of reverse osmosis water, just enough to make it moist, not soggy. My dad said they were growing in a bottom that stays wet most of the year, so perhaps they are used to a damper soil?
Yes, they are used to a more damper soil - during growing season.

During the dry season (summer), it's a whole different story.

My advise would be to ask your father as many questions as possible that you think or feel is pertinent to help you get a clearer picture of what kind of environment they grow in.

I will add that according to what I've gleaned off my research, they are found growing in limestone forests. Meaning the mountains or hills they grow on are made of limestone. Your father may be able to verify this, idk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

I'm also giving them fluorescent light 12" above them, trying to give them a fairly natural light cycle, turning the light on at sunrise and off at sunset. They're also receiving what little sunlight my north-facing window gets.
I think that's fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

The only thing I've noticed about them is that instead of drooping, like I expected they would from transplanting, each leaf stood up and are now pointing upward at about a 45 degree angle. I'm not sure what this means in an orchid, but maybe their happy from the extra light their getting?
Mine does the same thing. It's normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

Should I filter their light more, or perhaps let them have just the indirect sunlight from the window?
I'd leave them alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

I was told by my friend who is an avid orchid grower that growing orchids from out of the wild is usually futile.
There is a grain of truth in what your friend said. The actual answer is a bit more complicated than that.

Remember what I typed in the beginning of my response?

That's the more precise answer.

In essence, it is possible to grow certain species of wild collected plants successfully for the long haul without a whole lot of complications. What your friend told you is not necessarily the complete picture.

One of the problems is how they were collected, the method of transport, and their treatment prior to cultivation.

Most orchid collectors can be very careless and use some very inappropriate methods of collecting. They don't always do their homework. They're not always aware of what actions leads to what kinds of results. Or if they do, they just don't care - "money talks, b.s. walks" is the mentality. Therefore, they don't make an extra effort to formulate a procedure that minimizes damage and stress to the plant upon collection, in order to maximize the probability of the plants' survival in cultivation.

The other part of the equation is...

In cases with orchids such as Aplectrum hyemale, for example, most growers don't even know where they came from, how they grew in the wild, and what other "intangibles" are associated with the health and well-being of the plant. That's how failures in cultivation happen - not enough info. And sometimes this info is extremely difficult to come by because some people purposefully hold it back for whatever reasons they may have.

Then there are actually those species of orchids that nobody can realistically cultivate for any length of time. One example would be a group of orchids collectively called "Coral Root Orchids" (genus Corallorhiza). Most species within this group are either highly dependent on their symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi or 100% fully dependent on their relationships with mycorrhizal fungi. Due to this, plants such as these should be avoided by any level of hobbyist at all costs.

Of course, there is also the fact that some orchids even though they are cultivatable, are just difficult to grow for a number of reasons.

I hope this somewhat adequately clears up the air about this subject to some degree.


Special note: The reason why many people have a difficult time with orchids still being collected from the wild is not only because of improper collecting practices, but it is also because of the possibility of over collecting. Certain orchids are far more prone to this kind of destructive activity than others. One good example would be Phragmipedium kovachii. This orchid's collection locale was once kept a tight secret. Somehow some people found out where they grew. Because these orchids command such a high price and are so highly valued and coveted by orchid collectors, the wild populations in some choice locations were nearly stripped clean of them.

Wild collecting orchids should be done with extreme care, with sustainability always in mind. Do understand that many orchids in general are usually not speedy growers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

I'm really sad that my dad did bring them in after I found out that they are far and few between in my area (Southern Illinois), and he had even managed to find a little colony of two!
You don't have to be. I understand why he did it.

Wild colonies are usually not found in extremely large numbers naturally for this species. The most you'll probably find would most likely be somewhere in the order of 10 individuals spread quite a distance apart, and that's if you're lucky. Usually, the colonies are sparse and spread out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by that-smith-kid View Post

If I manage to make these guys happy, I'm definitely going to take their seeds (should they produce any seed pods) out to where my dad got them on a nice breezy day, and sow them. Hopefully I can help increase the population in my area of these odd, pretty little plants
Making seed is a whole different skill than growing them. It's not hard, but the reproductive organs on an orchid are different from that of other flowers, and it may confuse someone who has no training in it.

For anybody who is interested in knowing...

To my knowledge Aplectrum hyemale is not autogamous (aka self pollinating without the aid of a pollinator).

Growing orchids from seed is not a simple matter either. I will leave this subject matter for another day.

Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 11-22-2011 at 12:24 AM..
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2011, 12:00 AM
that-smith-kid that-smith-kid is offline
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Aplectrum hyemale Growing
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I have no desire to try to grow these guys from seed -- I've flasked orchid seeds only once, with the help of my AP Bio teacher (read: my AP Bio teacher did the flasking :P). Just as a rule of thumb, I always sow the seeds of plants I cultivate in the place where I found them. Just something I like to do

Thanks so much for the loads of information -- the awesome response I got here along with what I'm learning really makes me want to dive deeper into orchids!
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:23 AM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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You're welcome.

Just as a reminder, I stress the limestone thing because you may have to occasionally supplement calcium in the waterings.

I wish you the best of luck with sowing the seeds back into the wild. Hopefully one or two out of the hundreds or thousands of seeds, will make it into adults.

Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 11-22-2011 at 12:27 AM..
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:06 AM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Forgot to mention...

I highly recommend not making seed of your 2 Aplectrum hyemale this coming blooming season, should they bloom at all. I would wait at least one more year or better yet 2 more years so that the plants may be able to have enough energy to produce seeds and grow a new tuber for the next season. I don't recommend taxing orchids out, it may not end well if you inadvertently did.
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Old 05-05-2020, 03:16 PM
Buyer4p Buyer4p is offline
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Aplectrum hyemale Growing
Question Tipularia Discolor

Thank you for the information on the Aplectrum Hyemale. I have purchased one and also the below specimen.


I would like to try growing the Tipularia Discolor outside in my garden. does anyone have any suggestions for growing this orchid?
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