Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nervilia plicata

This is probably one of the more common Nervilia in cultivation. It took me some time to figure out how to grow these terrestial orchids:
1. Pot in a light well draining and aerated mix. Light loam with some peat/humus and perlite/pumice is fine.
2. Water generously during the growing phase when new leaves appear.  Stolons and runners will also be produced. Small new white tubers start to form underground.
3. Reduce watering when the leaves start to brown or die back.  The underground tubers harden. Interconnecting stolons dry up.
4. Water once a week during dormancy.  The mix should be marginally moist. How much moisture can a 1-2 cm diameter tuber holds over 8-12 weeks?
5. With good care, you should be able to double or triple the corms each year.

The leaves are quite variable.  The photo above and below are those of the same clone growth in 2008 and 2009 respectively.  

It is a very widespread species with a range from Deccan, India all the way east to New Guinea and extends north to southwestern China and south to northern Australia. The recorded localities are concentrated in the tropical monsoon belt. So far, i have not come across it in habitat. It surely blends in with leaf litter in deciduous forest.

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