Categories: Cool Growers, Dormancy, Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Watering
With dense clusters of little purple blooms, this looks like a hyacinth. On closer inspection, however, each flower reveals itself as a tiny, perfect orchid. Known as the Giant Hyacinth Orchid, this has been a very reliable bloomer in our garden, opening in late autumn and continuing for several months into winter.
This year’s incredible bloom consists of 30 spikes, each with many dozens of small flowers spiraling upward. I keep this plant outdoors all year. Since our move from San Francisco to Pacifica last winter, it lives in windier and more exposed conditions, but it seems to have adapted pretty well. It did suffer some sunburned leaves during a few hot days in October, when I should have moved it into shade. Despite the damaged leaves, it’s still putting on this great show.
Giant Hyacinth Orchids are native to cloud forests from southern Mexico through Central America, and down into Venezuela and Colombia. To grow them, give some full sun, regular water, fertilizer, high humidity, and winter dormancy. They can tolerate a wide range of temps, but need cool nights to bloom. Our local Anna’s Hummingbirds love the flowers, and pollinate many of them. The Giant Hyacinth Orchid offers spectacular color for our winter garden.