Guest Author - Anu Dubey Dharmani
Arundina graminifolia is a common perennial terrestrial orchid from the tropical Asia. In its natural environment Arundina graminifolia grows in open sunny areas. A large number of these orchids can be seen growing together. The local people of north-eastern India grow it as a hedge and is locally known by the name of ‘Banns ful’. Its common English name is ‘Bamboo orchid’. It requires warm to hot temperatures with humidity on the higher side. The orchid which I possessed could not survive a change in the climatic conditions, when we shifted from a hot and humid area to a drier climate.
Arundina graminifolia has large beautiful flowers, which grow near the tip of the stem and at a time it bears one to two flowers. Stems are erect, long and thin, looking like a small bamboo stem. These reach the approximate height of three to four feet. Leaves are light green in color and arranged alternately to each other on the stem. Arundina graminifolia is an evergreen orchid, which means it does not shed leaves during the lean season.
The flowers are large and rosy purple in colour, though Arundina from different regions shows a slight variation in the colour of their flowers, ranging from whitish to deep magenta. It blooms throughout the year. My Arundina flowered with a gap of about a month between each flowering.
For propagation: Being a terrestrial it has to be potted. It grows well in a mixture of soil and leaf mould. It fares well in open situations. A good way of propagation is by separating and repotting the kiekies. New shoots also come out from the base; these can be carefully separated and replanted in separate containers.
This orchid is susceptible to a number of pest and diseases. Pest like molluscs such as snails and slugs, attack the leaves and flowers. Aphids are also observed. I found the easiest way to handle molluscs was to encircle the pot with a line of salt. Slugs would not cross this line. For aphids, I found spraying a little kerosene every six months to a year on the leaves was more than enough to stop infestations; depending upon the frequency of rain. If it rains frequently than you need to spray more often. In case of fungal and viral infections prevention is the best policy. While watering keep the leaves dry, to avoid fungal growth. If there is infected plant, seclude it immediately to stop the spreading to other healthy plants.