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Australian Terrestrials

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by ldkobzeff, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. ldkobzeff

    ldkobzeff Member

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    I recently was at a Small orchid show and had a chance to speak with someone from Andy's orchids, who informed me that certain orchids you can't cultivate, specifically Australian Terrestrials, because of the inability to reproduce the specific chemical/ biological make up of the soil..... Now its not that i dont believe him, i just dont want to come to terms with the fact that i may not being able to get and grow really cool looking orchids,:cry: so in a last ditch effort i turn to the interweb, DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE GROWING AUSTRALIAN TERRESTRIALS? :poke:
     
  2. Karen

    Karen Species nut

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    If you're going to the SF Orchid Show, there are some cool terrestrials that are grown in the area.
    Pterostylis species.
     
  3. ldkobzeff

    ldkobzeff Member

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    When is it? i may be going to the Santa Barbara one but SF is a little far for me...... (Im in Long Beach)
     
  4. Andrew

    Andrew Member

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    I'm by no means an expert but I've been growing a variety of Australian terrestrials for about 15 years. Australian terrestrials vary in their ease of culture. Some appear to be highly dependent upon fungi (and are therefore difficult to grow) while others adapt well to pot culture. I wouldn't consider any of them easy as even the easier species can go downhill if you have a bad year. Generally, species that tuber multiply quickly make better beginner plants as there’s less risk of losing the entire pot.

    As for what's growable, colony forming Pterostylis are generally easy growers compared to other genera, with curta, Nodding Grace and Dusky Duke being really good starter plants. On the otherhand, solitary Pterostylis like the rufa group and the bearded greenhoods are easy to kill and are best left alone until you know what you're doing. Microtis and the autumn and spring flowering Chiloglottis are fairly easy to grow (not the later flowering syn. Simpliglottis-types). Syn. Corysanthes-type Corybas are also fairly easy although they need shadier more humid conditions than other terrestrials. Moving beyond those, Diuris adapt to pot culture fairly well. Those with long-thin tubers (eg orientis, corymbosa, drummondii are the easiest of the genus to grow. The purple punctata group can be difficult to keep going and often start to fade after a few years. Thelymitra are a little harder to grow as they are very prone to rotting in warm weather but the nuda and pauciflora types and most of the hybrids grow well. I find the pinks (eg carnea, rubra, etc) a bit harder but they still grow well. I’ve tried the more colourful species like benthamiana and stellaris and failed every time. Caladenia are generally thought of as hard to grow (and for good reason). Caladenia latifolia and Leptoceras menziesii grow and multiply well but for the rest of them, I wouldn’t bother trying them until you figure out how to grow and multiply the easier species well. Genera like Prasophyllum, and Calochilus usually don’t survive long in cultivation except in the hands of extremely talented growers; not that you’re unlikely to find these offered for sale anyway.

    I expect sources in the US will be limited to a handful of Pterostylis species. There are a few European vendors, although the plants won’t be cheap. The terrestrial orchid forum operates a seed bank out of Hungary and they usually have some Australian seed available, assuming you can flask them. Nesbitts in Australia is probably the main commercial source for these orchids. Nesbitts will export and the plants themselves are cheap, however, Australian quarantine charges are expensive so you’ll need to place a large order to make it worth your while.
     
  5. ldkobzeff

    ldkobzeff Member

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    Cool, thanks for the Reply and ray of hope Andrew. The two i was really wanting to grow were Calochilus campestris and Diuris maculata, but from the looks of it these will be very hard to grow and to come by, but at least i know it is possible, and im only 22 years old so i have the rest of my life to experiment and learn how to grow these. But i definitely am going to look into getting some Pteryostylis and begin to experiment, and learn. Im soooooo stoked i can not even tell you.... and thanks again...
     
  6. Andrew

    Andrew Member

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    The Calochilus is probably one you'll have to enjoy from photos. I'm growing 3 forms of Diuris maculata. It's no Pterostylis curta but it does grow well in a pot. Finding it might be the hard part. Your cheapest option would be to get some seed from the Terrorchid forum seedbank. Seed and postage is free so you just have to get it flasked.
     
  7. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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  8. ldkobzeff

    ldkobzeff Member

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    thanks for the link ill definitely look into them but it looks like i might have to wait a little while b4 i will get them, since the only ship in the summer, and i dont think ill drive up to San Fran. just for orchids....