Peacock Orchids, known botanically and sold as “Acidanthera”, are a rather rare sight in gardens yet are some of the most enticingly fragrant flowers one can plant. Their elegant white petals and maroon-to-purple throat are highly appealing to experienced and novice gardeners alike.
Acidanthera are very easy to care for, ergo their low maintenance is particularly appealing to people who would like to plant beautiful, fragrant flowers but don’t have a lot of time to care for them.
It’s important to note that this flower is not an orchid, rather it’s related to gladiolus and iris.
Of course it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Peacock Orchids’ growing requirements and visual advantages. When you look at your Acidanthera after you’ve cultivated them once or twice you’ll know if something is wrong, whether they’re ‘complaining’ of too-wet soil, or their need for lots of sun is not being met.
1. Make sure the soil you plant your Acidanthera in soil that drains well enough so that the flowers’ roots (or the bulbs upon planting) do not rest in water. Peacock Orchids hate standing water!
Also make sure the soil is at least 4 inches deep to allow for root growth.
2. Your Peacock Orchids will thrive in the sunniest location you can provide for them. The sun need not shine 16 hours a day, but the more sun the more fragrant the flowers will become. Partial shade is fine, however! With Acidanthera you can bring on the heat!
3. Do not put your Peacock Orchids with other fragrant flowers such as lilies. They are fragrant but you do not want the wonderfully clean fragrance to clash with other smells in the garden. Acidanthera can be paired with low-growing foliage such as hostas, as the stems reach 2-3ft and droop lovingly over their lower growing underbrush.
4. Use tweezers or another small instrument to keep weeds and other invading roots/plants from moving in on your fragrant Peacock Orchids. You don’t want to allow your fragrant Acidanthera to be stunted in any way.
5. The soil PH of your Peacock Orchids should be acidic to neutral (clay is fine!). You can get a PH soil testing kit from numerous gardening stores or online, ask your garden expert to recommend any substances needed to bring your soil’s PH into line if required.
6. Keep your Peacock Orchids away from strong winds if possible. Protection from the wind is handily achieved by planting the fragrant flowers in bunches of at least 5, and preferably 10 at a minimum. Acidanthera is definitely a group flower!
7. Your Peacock Orchids are perfect for planting in between rocks as a wonderful visual and scented display, and they can also be grown against heat-reflecting walls.
8. Don’t worry about deer gobbling up your Acidanthera, these wonderful, fragrant white flowers are known to be deer-resistant, as well as rabbit resistant.
9. Remember that your Peacock Orchids, while requiring virtually no care, are a living, breathing creation. So follow the simple guidelines laid out above and you’ll be rewarded by several weeks of lovely, scented blooms 2.5-3 months after planting.
10. Enjoy your Acidanthera with both eyes and nose!
That’s it! These ten tips for cultivating your Peacock Orchids will have you well on your way to growing healthy, sensual flowers that’ll have your neighbors enthusiastically looking (and smelling) on.
Internet Fragrant Flower Groups or library books can be a great source of information should you want to learn more about your fragrant friend!