Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Plant of the Week: Fragrant Ladies' Tresses Orchid

Most people are fascinated by orchids because they are often showy, have complicated life histories, and are not that common in nature.  While most of the native orchids can't survive in the garden setting, this particular species is fairly easy to grow.  The fragrant ladies' tresses orchid (Spiranthese cernua var. odorata) 'Chadds Ford' was introduced into the nursery trade in 1973 and gets its name from the vanilla smelling flowers (odorata) and Spiranthese which derives from the Greek words denoting spiral and flower (spiral flowers around the stalk).  This particular species has been tissue cultured for years and is widely available in the nursery trade.  It naturally occurs throughout much of the eastern United States although in Kentucky the variety odorata is very rare.  This is a great garden plant because it really has no disease or insect problems and flowers late in the growing season, just finishing up its flowering period now.  It likes partial shade and grows best when receiving morning sun and afternoon shade although it will grow in full shade.  It definitely likes rich, organic soil and it can be grown in a rain garden or other situations where the soil is moist but not water logged. The plants typically grow from 1 to 2' tall and can have a spread of about 12" and given enough time, it will form a nice cluster. This is a species that should be carefully placed in the garden because it does not like to be moved once it is established.  However, once fully established these stems work very well in cut flower arrangements and their pure white flowers can even be used in wedding bouquets and arrangements.  If you are putting this with a group of species that like moist to wet conditions, cardinal flower and great blue lobelia make great companion plants.

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