Habenaria radiata UPDATE 9/26/06

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Habenaria radiata

These are called Sagi-Sou in Japan, “sagi” meaning egret and “sou” meaning plant. Google them and you will know immediately why these are called the egret plant. These are orchids that grow in bogs and are becoming endangered due to the loss of wetlands and rice fields in Japan. In recent years, several cultivars have been seed propagated and sold including a variegated variety. I was going to wait and post photographs of these in bloom, but I think now is a good time. They may not bloom for me this year.

I have tried growing these for the past two years. The first year, they sprouted but failed to grow past a couple of inches. I had them planted in sphag which was too loose to provide enough moisture to the roots and I failed to give them enough light as well. This year I started the sprouts in a wet paper towel. Sixth grade science taught me something! After they sprouted, I planted them in African Violet potting soil, which has excellent moisture retention and is slightly acidic.

In the winter, these need a cold dry chill. Last year, I kept them in the refrigerator wrapped in slightly damp sphag. I don’t know if this was the best method, as some of the tubers failed to sprout this year. Can anyone suggest a better solution?


This is the tuber straight out of the refrigerator. I find it humorous that they are shaped like little eggs and bloom out looking like birds.


A week or so after being placed in a folded, wet paper towel in a warm environment, the tubers sprout.


I planted them sprout side up in the soil, about two inches deep. These little guys appeared a week later.


Here are the orchids about two weeks after poking through the top of the soil.



Here they are today, about two and a half months later.

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John, this post is beautiful... I love the progression photographs, especially of the sprouting seeds.
Thanks Tien. In case it is confusing, the Habenaria are in the green ceramic planter in the middle of the bottom two photographs. I also have a few growing in a S/H pot to the rear and left of the green pot in the photos. I just wanted to experiment a little. The plants in the S/H pot were planted much later than the plants in the green pot. But they seem to be growing much faster.
Well, I am giving them an artificial climate, so they are growing well. The photos I have seen put them somewhere in between 8" and 12" before they bloom. (The blooms average an inch long from what I hear, that's how I came up with this figure).

The spike is of course much taller than that. So I don't know.
I just googled the plant john and the flowers are totally amazing. Get those bad boy blooming! I wanna see pictures. Then you have to tell us how you grew them so we can follow in your footsteps :poke: :D

Btw - what is that you have in the fifth picture bottom right?
The plant in the bottom right, picture five is a dwarf form of Sedirea japonica called 'Seigyoku Maru' purchased from OL. It bloomed this year and then put out a new leaf.
Spike-watch Update:

The buds have started to develop!


The plants have reached about a foot in height. And all the tubers I planted have sprouted.


The buds are beginning to develop on the tallest plants, about six so far between the two pots.
littlefrog said:
How are the ones you potted in S/H doing?

Well, I didn't actually plant them in s/h. Or maybe I did, I am still hazy on what the definition of s/h is. The pot you see above has two inches of prime agra in the bottom and the rest of the pot is filled with acidic, african violet potting soil. I water until the reservoir is full and then stop. So if that counts, then yes I am growing them in s/h.

The ten or so I planted in the s/h pot have grown twice as fast and much thicker than the regular pot. The roots have started poking out of the soil and wrapping around the inside wall of the pot. Very neat roots, similiar to Neofinetia in texture. They don't taste the same though. :)

Next year, they are all getting planted in the same s/h pot.
Hey John, Do you know of a source for these? Looks like something I might be interested in trying.

I got mine from Von Bourgondien, www.dutchbulbs.com

I bought the first few in 2005, and more this year, but I didn't see them on the site when I searched just now. You might give them a call and see what they say.

Some of the bulb companies carry things seasonally. So this may be a spring item only. Not sure.
Mine are pushing past 12" this year. With the spike, I don't know how tall they are going to get. But they are less than a pencil's width wide. They remind me of small bamboo. Each "stalk" has sections seperated by raised rings.






The first bud started to break open this morning. I watched for a couple of hours as it slowly started to unfurl. Then, the minute I stopped watching, it popped open! Never fails. This is the first to bloom. The bud was the size of a pencil eraser, and the final bloom is the size of a quarter. The plants measure in between 13 and 17 inches tall. I have about a dozen more buds getting larger by the day, and I will post photos when I have more than one bloom open. I am talking to Troy Myers about sending in seed.

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