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The genus galearis has about ten species of epiphytic or terricolous orchids, originating in Asia; only one species G. spectabilis, is native to North America. They have large fleshy roots, from which one or two large leaves branch out, oval or lanceolate, thick and leathery, shiny, dark green or bluish-green, sometimes covered with a pruinose patina; the leaves can be 10-20 cm long and 4-8 cm long. In late spring they produce a long stem on which large flowers bloom, single or in groups of 8.10, of pink color, with a pure white labellum, in some species it has some fringes on the sides; under each single flower there is a long white or pinkish bract.
The galearis in nature grow in the undergrowth, in shady but very bright places; the total shadow leads to an unsatisfactory development of the plant. In general, these orchids do not fear the cold, although it may happen that during the winter they lose the aerial part, which will develop again when the vegetative growth begins, at the beginning of spring.
It is good not to expose this orchid to direct sunlight because the leaves could quickly show signs of burns. They can easily withstand temperatures around zero, but they do not like windy areas very much and are exposed to atmospheric agents, so it is better to place them in a sheltered place.
For a good growth of these plants, water regularly, avoiding letting the soil dry between one watering and another; for a good development of the plant it is good to keep the soil moist, but without water stagnations that rapidly cause root rot: you can water the galearis by immersion, then allowing the excess water to drain, so that the roots do not remain immersed in the liquid too long.
To provide the correct nourishment it is possible to intervene with fertilizing operations that must be carried out by mixing liquid fertilizer with the water of the waterings, preferably not calcareous, having the foresight to avoid supplying fertilizer when flowering is in progress.
To have a good substrate in which to grow these plants, use an orchid mix, to mix with sphagnum peat and leaf mold; if possible, before planting them, it is advisable to mix a small amount of earthworm humus to the soil.
The reproduction of these orchids occurs by division of the tufts, in autumn or early spring. It is important to take portions that maintain some roots so as to favor the subsequent engraftment. Place in a soil suitable for adult orchids and place in a cool and sheltered place, with a good degree of brightness.
Galearis: Pests and diseases
Generally these plants are not affected by pests or diseases having a good rusticity and resistance; they can, however, present root rot, in the case in which the cultivation soil is not adequate or has been exceeded with watering. Plants can also show signs of leaf burns if they are exposed to direct sunlight, especially when temperatures are quite high.