Other British Native Orchids
This grouping of
native orchids have differing cultural requirements. The Epipactis genus
grows in wet meadow areas, sometimes flowering in several centimetres of
water. E palustris must be planted in alkaline soil as it is intolerant of
acidic conditions. It can be planted in a wet alkaline meadow or in the
surrounds of a garden pond. In this situation it may be necessary to add
oyster shell to the soil in order to create alkalinity. It can be grown in a
pot but must not be allowed to dry out in the summer.
similar to Dactylorhiza in that they have a hand shaped tuber and are easy
to grow. The plant goes dormant fairly quickly after flowering and does not
start to re-grow properly until early in the spring. The different species
have variable requirements regarding alkalinity but they are tolerant of
many different soil conditions. They can be planted into a meadow, rockery
or pot. In a rockery or pot the owner can enjoy the strong scent produced by
these Fragrant orchids. Compost for pots should be free draining but can
contain a reasonable amount of organic material. The same mixture as for
dactylorhiza would be fine. Mature specimens will develop additional tubers.
The Platanthera species have a long single finger tuber which grows in a
similar way to the Gymnadenia. Depending on the species they grow in full
sun to semi-shade, with the p bifolia being more tolerant of acidic
conditions that p chlorantha. These are both ideal for naturalising in a
meadow or with p chlorantha in a woodland setting.
The Himantoglossum is
a native of southern England, requiring poor alkaline conditions. Because of
its size (1 m plus) it is probably best grown in a large pot in a free
draining alkaline compost. It is summer dormant producing maximum growth in
the early spring. Some people have successfully grown them in the garden and
in lawns in the south east of England.
The Neottia or Twayblade is a
rhizomatous plant which grows in many different places. It does well in a
woodland situation or a rockery. Its flowers are not particularly
conspicuous so it does not really make a good show plant.