Bletia cultivars


Ground Orchid

Flowers are generally brightly coloured, but not large, occurring in small or large numbers.

Most are summer flowering. Leaves are long and narrow, and can be grass like. Some species can grow stems to around 1 metre (3.3 feet) long.


Landscape or container plat. Often used as a border or clumping under shade trees.


A good potting media is 1 part loam, 1 part well-rotted compost or leaf mould and one part chunky bark or charcoal. Repot as soon as new growth appears.

Water freely when putting on growth but give very little water when dormant (which can be up to 4 months or more).


Propagate plants by division after flowering.


B. catenulata produces large pink, blood-red, or purple flowers each to 4 cm (1.6 inches) wide, during the warmer months. It is native to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.

B. patula can grow stems to 70 cm (28 inches) or more. It can produce pink or magenta flowers all year, and is native to the West Indies.

B. purpurea
(syn. B. alata) is a deciduous terrestrial orchid (rarely epiphytic) with pink to rose-purple flowers borne on a raceme up to 50 cm (20 inches) high. Flower size and colour may vary. Stems grow to 1.5 metres (5 feet) long. It is native to Florida through Central America to South America. This species grows naturally in open fields or on rocky slopes, flowering mainly early spring but has been known to flower at other times of the year.

Plant Health

Not a lot of pests, relatively hardy of occasional colder weather but for best results, best to avoid temperatures much below 15 degrees celsius.


More info

There are between 25 and 50 species (Note: Reputable authorities are in conflict), of these normally terrestrial orchids, all native to tropical America. In rare instances, some can be epiphytic.
Bletia is related to Calathe, but the lip has a slightly different structure.

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