Well it’s nearly Christmas so it is time to get going on those spring jobs in the greenhouse. The first job every spring for us is to repot the Pleiones and we will aim to have them all done by the middle of January.
We took all of our Pleione bulbs out of their old pots in November and now they look like this Pleione formosana bulb with the new growth starting to show signs of growing. Definately time to pot it up as this growth will produce a flower in March or April.
The compost we use at Writhlington is a mixture of course orchid garde bark, dried sphagnum moss and a little perlite. Their are other composts that work too but we like this open, free draining but moisture retentive mix. For display we place a number of bulbs in a 15cm half pot. For a good display we select bulbs that all have growths at the same state and position the bulbs so that all the growths will face the same way.
The compost is then eased around the bulbs leaving just the very tips exposed. The compost is tucked in firmly enough to stop the bulbs rocking or moving as this would damage the new roots when they emerge.
Smaller bulbs and tiny bulbils that will not flower this year are put in 8cm pots to let them grow on. Bulbils take two or three years to grow up to flowering size but are a great way to increase your Pleione collection.
The pots of pleiones will now be left on the greenhouse bench and not watered for the next month. Only very little moisture is needed until growths are two or three cm high (We will show in february). The pots will be kept frost free (in the temperate sub-tropical section) and the Pleiones allowed to grow slowly, although a few pots will be given a little warmth (min 10 degrees C) to get them to flower a little early for the RHS London Show in March. So it is time to sit back and wait for the flowers.