Genus of about 20 fairly rustic orchids, originating in southern China, Nepal and Tibet, generally epiphytes or lithophytes, although some species are terricolous. They have fairly large, roundish pseudobulbs, from which long and narrow leaves, not very fleshy, branch off; in spring they produce very large flowers of bright colors, from yellow to purple, with very pronounced sepals, petals and labellum. P. maculata and P. praecox bloom in autumn; the other species, on the other hand, with the approach of the cold season lose their leaves, which spring up again.
These orchids usually like a shady but very bright position; always avoid that the sun's rays hit flowers and leaves, especially on the hottest summer days; it is also advisable to keep these plants in a very airy place. They do not suffer from cold, due to the fact that during the winter the plant goes into complete rest, some species, such as P. formosana, can also be buried outdoors if the winters are not too rigid; otherwise the Pleione they can be stored in a cold greenhouse. If desired it is possible to force the cold season by removing the pseudobulbs from the soil and keeping them in a bag in the lower part of the refrigerator, until February, this will produce a wonderful spring flowering; in this case, be very careful that the pseudobulbs do not dry excessively.
At the beginning of the vegetative period, February-March, the orchids Pleione they do not need a lot of water, which could cause the rot of the new roots, when the latter are blunt it is good to progressively increase the watering, until they are watered every 3-4 days, remembering to add small doses of fertilizer every week to the watering water . At the end of summer it is good to thin out the waterings, until they are completely suspended in autumn and winter, especially if the bulbs are kept off the ground. This is because the lowering of temperatures allows our orchids to grow optimally even without the need to be constantly irrigated.
The orchid p. formosana can be buried in the garden, in a well-drained universal soil; the other pleioni generally like a soil rich in humus, very well drained, possibly with a good quantity of coarse-grained material, such as pumice stone or small pieces of bark, you can use a normal orchid composition composed of osmunda or sphagnum fiber and bark . To obtain healthy and vigorous plants in a short time it is very important that the pseudobulbs are buried little, allowing the upper part to emerge from the ground.
Let's see how good it is to proceed for the multiplication of our splendid pleione orchids. The pseudobulbs are correctly fertilized and can be divided without problems in late summer, producing new pseudobulbs that can be planted separately in spring.
Pleione: Pests and diseases
As for pests and diseases that could affect the plant, we can safely say that these orchids do not suffer from particular diseases, even though they may be affected by root rot if the spring watering is excessive. If kept in the garden they are easily attacked by snails and by larvae that feed on pseudobulbs.