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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Plant of the Week: Showy Orchis (Galearis spectabilis)

This native orchid is difficult to grow if you do not have the appropriate growing conditions in the woodland garden.  It can be planted this time of year, bare root, and needs moist, rich, thick humus soil that are well drained in mostly full shade.  Plants that are dug from the wild perform very poorly in the garden, but those purchased from nurseries do well as long as the plant IS NOT DISTURBED once it has been established and if the appropriate growing conditions are met.  The soil pH should be slightly acidic from 4.5 to 5.5.  Blooming in April, this can be a real show stopper in the garden.  The lavender and white flowers are fragrant and more mature plants have larger numbers of individual flowers on a short flowering stem. The plant reaches a height of about 6" tall and each of the broad oval, dark green and glossy leaves can be up to 6" long.  This species does not have any significant insect or disease problems.  The primary pollinator is the bumblebee which lands on the lower white "lip" of each individual flower, which is a lower petal.  The lavender "hood" is comprised of joined sepals and lateral petals.  The name for this plant comes from the Latin "galearis" which means hood and "spectabilis" which means showy or spectacular. These orchids are expensive in the nursery trade so it behooves you to create the appropriate growing conditions before purchasing and attempting to plant these little woodland gems.  Because this species does not like competition, it is best grown as a specimen plant and allowed to develop a colony over time.  Therefore, companion plants are not recommended.

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