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Landscape Plant of the Month Spathoglottis plicata or Purple Ground Orchid

Spathoglottis plicata, is a terrestrial ground orchid that is native to Australia and is also found growing in other tropical and subtropical countries like Asia, Hawaii, Tonga and Samoa. In Australia, its origin hails from Cape York but is readily available to purchase from nurseries locally in South East Queensland. The Examples in the image above, were acquired by my wonderful Clients, Dennis and Nina, on return from a nursery visit around the Caboolture area. We planted them in the height of summer and they already had an abundance of flowers and were also clumping well. At planting, we separated each potted specimen into several more clumps and planted them around a new rock garden and they have continued to grow, flower and multiply magnificently. Most growing labels for these plants attest to these being planted in part shady areas but I have seen many examples tolerate full sun conditions as long the moisture is kept up. Spathoglottis comes from two Greek words (spathe) a flat blade used by weavers and (glotta) the tongue, referring to the shape of the lower lip of the flower, and plicata is from the Latin plicatus, means- folded or pleated, referring to the raised parallel veins on the leaves, which pretty much describes the plants characteristics in the image ‘supplied above’. Spathoglottis plicata, prefers a well-drained soil and flowers from spring to summer and sometimes year-long in warmer areas but may die down in the coldest of climates. These are relatively hardy landscape plants that will always brighten up that rock garden with their beautiful purple flowers which are held up well above their green strappy foliage.

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