Pleione (play-oh-nee) Orchid                                                                      Leaflet 09

Pleiones are quite easy to grow but because they are orchids, most people assume that they need a lot of heat in the winter. In fact they do not as they rest for most of it and grow actively in spring and summer. In the wild they are found growing in the moss or soil layer on steeper slopes or cliff faces (good drainage) in the foothills of the Asian mountain ranges so are used to some degree of frost. Many people successfully grow them outdoors in the U.K and only protect them from excessive wet and cold with a glass sheet and straw (cold frame for example). They need a well drained compost which can be made from various mixtures of the following; Orchid bark/leaf mould/sphagnum moss/Perlite. A typical mix would be 10 parts by volume medium grade Orchid bark, plus 1 part coarse Perlite, 3 parts leaf mould and 2 parts sphagnum moss. You may also add some charcoal but it is not essential. Pleiones need re-potting every year and the following is a typical year in the life of a Pleione.




Bulbs are dormant so prepare them for re-potting by carefully removing from old compost, taking care not to damage new embryonic growths as you remove old leaves, remains of the previous years bulbs and trim the roots to about ½ in. Re-pot using shallow pots or pans and loosely fill to 1in from the top, then plant the bulbs to ¾ of their depth and firm gently. In a 5” diameter pot, place 5 or 6 bulbs around the edge and 1 in the centre. Alternatively pot singly. Spray with rainwater to help settle and leave in good light and gentle heat. Plant small bulbs in separate pots or trays.




Flower shoots will grow and develop according to variety so continue to spray with rainwater weekly until flowers have gone over but do not soak the compost until the bulbs are in full growth or the roots will die. New leaves will grow as the flowers die off, and develop through the summer into new bulbs. As this happens water and feed can be increased through May. Use a feed including trace elements e.g., Phostrogen at ½ strength at alternative waterings and switch to Tomorite (high K) in September.




In hot summer months place outside as they dislike very high temperatures, preferring a range of 10-25c (50-80f) if possible. Leaves will grow to perhaps 12”-15” and several new bulbs may develop from each old one. Pests are few but spray if necessary with weak soap solution or recommended pesticide. Extra sprays of water are beneficial on hot summer evenings.




Reduce watering as days shorten and cease at mid October. Allow to dry out and protect from sharp frosts.




Leaves will die and drop off so clear away and do nothing else until after Christmas.



This basic information leaflet has been produced by the Cheltenham & District Orchid Society.

If you would like further information, help or advice you can email us at Cheltenham Orchids