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The Serapias lingua is a genus of orchids widespread in Italy and in most of Europe and the Mediterranean area; S. lingua is an autochthonous Italian species, it is a terrestrial orchid, which develops fleshy bulbs, from which erect stems, quite thick, pale green, often in the apical part they take on a pink color; the leaves are ribbon-like, with the base wrapped around the stem, light green, wrinkled. In spring, at the apex of the stems, some pinkish flowers bloom, presenting a long red or purple labobate, pubescent, dominated by a striped helmet, consisting of two sepals and a tepal gathered to form a small cavity, which sometimes serves shelter for pollinating insects. The other species of Serapias have flowers of this particular shape, the colors change: S. meglecta has a pinkish-orange color; S. vomeracea is lighter, with a whitish-green cap.
These orchids are not very common on the market, and they are rare species in nature, which it is good not to take from the places where they grow spontaneously; in any case you can find specimens produced by nurseries, which are grown outdoors, in a partially shaded place, or in any case shaded on the hottest days of the year. Direct exposure to the sun's rays could burn the plant's leaves and flowers, damaging the growth of our language Serapias. They are plants that do not fear the cold, in winter generally they go in vegetative rest, and the aerial part dries up.
As for watering, the Serapias lingua can easily withstand short periods of drought; from March to September we intervene watering the substratum only when it is quite dry, avoiding to soak it excessively. Otherwise water stagnation and the appearance of root rot could occur. During the cold months we avoid watering because the lower temperatures allow the plant to grow without particular irrigation.
The choice of cultivation land is fundamental for the good growth of the serapias. The soil is in fact the main source of sustenance for plant species, which is why it is advisable to choose an ideal soil type based on the specific cultivation requirements of our plant. The tongue serapias prefer loose, soft, rich in organic matter soils; we can use a mixture consisting of leaf mold, sphagnum peat and a few pieces of shredded bark. It is possible to give the plant liquid fertilizer dissolved in the irrigation water so as to help the plant in its growth process.
Reproducing these plants could be a real satisfaction. The multiplication is not particularly difficult but it is good to know the best methods to obtain excellent results. The multiplication occurs mainly by division of the tufts of bulbs but also by seed it is possible to reproduce these plants.
Serapias language: Pests and diseases
Generally, these plants do not fear the attack of pests or diseases, if the cultivation conditions are adequate. Be sure to provide adequate watering and avoid water stagnation.