habenaria elegans


Habenaria, commonly called bog orchids, are a far ranging genus of orchid, one of approximately 800 described Orchidaceae genera within that large and diverse family. There are species in both tropical and temperate zones.


Habenaria species have small to large underground root tubers and erect stems 20 to 80 cm in length. Leaves are lanceolate or ovate, and are borne either along the stem (cauline) or only at the base (basal). When basal, leaves lie flat on the ground. Flowers are mostly green, white, yellow and green, or white and green, but a few exceptions have brilliant red flowers. The column is frequently complicated, with long organs sticking out of it (stigma processes, lateral rostellum arms, anther canals). The plant is a perennial deciduous, with the entire above-ground part of the plant dying back each year.


Habenaria are rarely found in collections of living plants.

Plants are best grown in deep pots (e.g. 20 cm depth, place tubers at 10 cm depth) in a well drained medium consisting of 50% river sand, 40% leaf mulch and 10% vermiculite. Plants are best grown in a temperate environment with 50-70% shading and excellent ventilation.

Regular watering should be given during the growth season, from spring to autumn. As soon as autumn cooling sets in reduce watering to once every two weeks. During cold winter months do not water. It is, however, vital to watch that the medium does not dehydrate completely. To prevent this drench the pot occasionally and allow to dry. Do not keep the medium damp. Only after new shoots emerge at the end of winter commence with watering once every two weeks for the spring season and once or twice a week as required for the summer season.

A slow release fertilizer can be applied during spring. Aphids can be a problem and should be watched for and eliminated.



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