Soldier’s Orchid (Zeuxine strateumatics L. Schlecter )

Soldier’s Orchid
Soldier’s Orchid

Sunday the sun came out and the temperature climbed not just over 50′ but clear up past 65′. I was able to get out into the garden and pull a few weeks and found this plant in several beds. Thanks to the experts at The Garden Web Forums I found out this is a Soldier’s Orchid.

Native to Asia it is now found here starting in Florida, and working its way over to Texas. It appears in December or January, blooms a couple of weeks and disappears till next year. It will re-grow from the roots and appear in a different location next year.

Considered by lawn fanatics to be a weed, gardeners know better.

These orchids failed to show in 2008 but reappeared in January 2009.

Spider Plant aka Airplane Plant

This is a fun plant. Known as ‘spider’ or ‘airplane’ plant it has long all green leaves or green with white striped leaves. it sends out shoots in the spring with very tiny white flowers. Later these shoots develop baby plants which can be cut off and planted once roots form or left on the plant.

This plant is not picky about anything. It will grow in any window, and doesn’t mind if you forget to water it occasionally.

Tips of the leaves will turn brown if salt builds up too much, repot it in fresh soil and when you water it, be sure to let water flow through and out the bottom for a few minutes.

Worm castings

How ever would we get through January with out all the garden catalogs clogging our mailboxes? More catalogs arrived today and I decided it was time to buy the fertilizer.

I love putting worm castings in the garden. I discovered them totally by accident. I had this house plant that was green and healthy but never grew much. Then all of a sudden it caught up on several years growth in just a few weeks. When I took it down to water it I discovered a caterpillar had made his home in the plant. It’s a wonder he didn’t eat the plant.

Since then I put worm castings in the garden every spring.

You can find them online and in better nurseries. Be cautious, the quality varies greatly, buy from someone you trust.


Cymbidium orchids are usually lightly scented and come in a variety of yellows, whites, pinks, reds and purples.

Cymbidium orchids need lots of light so after blooming put them in a south facing window. Cymbidiums like a bit of cold weather ( ~40’F) and an occasional frost, so find a drafty window or door to place them by if you are growing the indoors.

Once you are sure that it will stay above freezing, transfer this plant outside and bring it in just after your first frost. Cymbidiums will handle temperatures down to 28’F and need some cold nights or they won’t flower.

I find these guys grow best in a dirt and bark mix, about half and half of each. Try not to transplant them often they are finicky and sometimes won’t bloom for a year after being re-potted. I fertilize them only when re-potting them. I fertilize in the spring and the fall for the outside ones.

Water, before they get dry, about once a week inside. Outside find a nice wet spot in the garden for them.

These may be divided when they outgrow the pot. Be sure to have at least three, but preferably more, bulbs per division. Plant the older bulbs near the edge of the pot and the newer bulbs towards the middle where they will have room to grow.

More Info:
Cymbidium Society of America