We are reader supported. This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

Can You Plant Orchids Outside? [It’s Not As Crazy As You Think]

Summer is here and days are warming up and you wonder can you plant orchids outside?

It’s not as crazy as it sounds so read on to find out about hardy orchids.

You can but probably not permanently. But there are some exceptions like the one below.

Can You Plant Orchids Outside?
Cypripedium yatabeanum Grows: Russian Far East to N & NC Japan, Aleutian Islands to SW Alaska

If you live in Hawaii, Southern Florida, and parts of California you may be able to grow orchids outside year-round.

Most of us can put orchids outside when the weather warms but will take them in once things start cooling down.

Can You Plant Orchids 0utside In The Ground?

Most orchids we grow are epiphytes that grow in tropical climates. They do not grow in soil but anchor themselves on tree bark.

They are air plants and take in water and nutrients from specialized aerial roots. Usually, they are grown in bark or sphagnum moss.

These orchids should not be planted in the ground but there are orchids that can live in soil. They are called terrestrial orchids.

Growing Terrestrial Orchids

Terrestrial orchids are not as popular as their epiphytic cousins but they can often be found online.

Some terrestrial orchids grow in leaf litter on tropical forest floors. But some actually can be grown in soil.

Orchids are a diverse group of plants that grow worldwide, and some do come from cooler climates.

The most well-known terrestrial orchid is the lady slipper orchid of the Cypripedium species. Cypripedium – Wikipedia

They grow from a rhizome deep in the ground so they can survive very cold temperatures.

They are incredibly hardy to zone 3 which can go 30° below zero. You would probably want to mulch them there though.

So here is an orchid you can definitely plant outside and leave in the ground all year.

There are other species of terrestrial orchids but not all are this hardy.

Here is another Bletilla striata (Chinese Ground Orchid) and it’s hardy to zone 7  or zero to 10 degrees F.

There are other terrestrial orchids you can plant outdoors but some may need winter protection like a layer of mulch.

Terrestrial orchids are very similar to other orchids with the exception of their lower temperature tolerance.

They like high humidity and moist well-drained loose soil. They also should not be in direct sunlight.

Most terrestrial orchids are woodland plants or they grow on the edge of the woods.

You want them to be in an area with bright filtered shade and good airflow.

An hour or two of direct sunlight might be ok for some of them but I would keep them in pots until you find their permanent happy place.

Can You Plant Orchids Outside? Final Thoughts

Most orchids are tropical and can’t survive the winter outside. But there are some cold hardy orchids that can.

Their flowers are very pretty but usually smaller than the traditional phalaenopsis orchids most of us are used to seeing.

They are called terrestrial orchids. Most can be grown in loose potting soil. Mine are in coco coir and are doing great. Read more:

Growing Terrestrial Orchids [Grow These Easy Orchids] – Hydroponic Orchids

Some grow in Siberia and Alaska and can withstand cold winters with no problem. Others are more tender.

Don’t rush out and plant them outdoors until you research their hardiness.

If you keep them in pots you can always bring them in to overwinter.

But if you actually bury them in the garden make sure they are frost-hardy enough to withstand the winter.

You will not need to protect the tops but you should mulch over where the roots are.

Some terrestrial orchids actually need the cold winter weather to initiate flowering the following year.

I would still recommend growing them in pots that you can move indoors during weather extremes.

But if you choose the right hardy orchids you can keep them outdoors and enjoy their beautiful flowers.

Read more: Are Orchids Hard To Take Care Of? Easy Growth Formula

This post contains affiliate links.