South African Orchid

If you saw this unusual Stenoglottis orchid growing in its native home in South Africa, and it wasn’t in bloom, you would probably think it was an ugly weed. If you saw it in bloom, though, I’d bet you would be amazed at its masses of dainty purple polka-dotted flowers with fringed lips.

Stenoglottis flowersStenoglottis flower

Stenoglottis longifolia grows as a terrestrial orchid, with deciduous leaves and underground tubers that go dormant in winter. While it’s growing, it requires regular water and fertilizer. Flower spikes start to grow in late summer, and continue to grow for a few months, opening tiny flowers along the way.

Stenoglottis flowersStenoglottis flower buds

The thin, soft leaves don’t look like those of most other orchids. This picture shows a Stenoglottis orchid at the end of summer, with some leaf tips that turned brown during a heat wave, and flower spikes emerging from the base of the plant. The leaves completely die back in the winter to be replaced by fresh ones in the spring.

Stenoglottis leaves

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Intermediate Growers, Orchids in the Wild, Photos, Watering

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4 Comments on “South African Orchid”

  1. Hanley Says:

    The flower look so delicate. Very nice photos!

  2. nancy Says:

    so cute! they look like flowers from the wizard of oz

  3. guallurpipt Says:

    Hi! Wonderful site!

  4. kvavak Says:

    Hi! Wonderful site! Great job!