Philippine Ground Orchids

Spathoglottis, or Philippine Ground Orchids, are hallmarks of the tropics. This great terrestrial orchid family offers a range of colors and sizes for tropical gardeners. The best known member of the family is the species Spathoglottis plicata. Shown in the first photo below, its purple and yellow flowers are a common sight in moist tropical and subtropical climates, where it can be an invasive weed. However, this type is just the start of the show. The Spathoglottis family includes dozens of other species with dazzling color variations. In addition, orchid growers have created countless hybrids with electric hues and bold patterns. These photos show only a few choices.

Spathoglottis species growing wild near Hilo, HawaiiSpathoglottis hybridSpathoglottis flowers

Spathoglottis hybridSpathoglottis hybridSpathoglottis flower

Despite their name, Philippine Ground Orchids aren’t just from the Philippines. They’re native to a large area from India through Southeast Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea, northern Australia, and many Pacific islands besides the Philippines. They’ve spread to Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the Caribbean.

Spathoglottis hybridSpathoglottis flowersSpathoglottis hybrid

Spathoglottis hybridSpathoglottis flowerSpathoglottis plicata leaves

All of these photos came from Hawaii, including Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu, and Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden near Hilo. You may need to look closely to see that each photo shows a different variety. Some have subtle distinctions, such as inverted colors or modifications of the flower lip.

Many Spathoglottis hybrids have larger flowers, but there are also small varieties. They are found in shades of yellow, pink, purple, orange, red, and white. Many are fast growing, and can continue to bloom for months. Their graceful pleated leaves add to their charm, making them popular landscaping plants. I’ve seen Philippine Ground Orchids growing in full sun and in dappled shade. They enjoy regular water and fertilizer, but less during winter dormancy. Remove any seedpods to suppress their invasive nature in tropical gardens and in greenhouses.

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Photos, Warm Growers, Watering

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4 Comments on “Philippine Ground Orchids”

  1. jesse403 Says:

    Greats pics! Such beautiful flowers.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jesse K. Says:

    Greats pics and site.

  3. Amanda McEuen Says:

    what stunning flowers! I have never seen these before. I know there is a lot of orchid diversity in the world, but when I go to shows, it’s just seeing the same things.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Marcos Illar Says:

    The rain forest’s hold all of earth’s magical and most wonderful life forms i think:) its beautiful<3