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Dactylorhiza Orchids

Dactylorhiza 'Harold Esslemont'

A group of fairly hardy terrestrial (ground-dwelling) Orchids Dactylorhiza species such as Dactylorhiza fuchsii and D. maculata provide a colourful addition to the garden in spring. Dozens of species for the collector, however it is the hybrids that are mainly grown.

One of the best cultivars is Dactylorhiza 'Harold Esslemont' pictured right.

Spring flowering with tall flower spikes varying in color from white through the pinks to deep purple blue varieties, these orchids can be gron in the ground, or in containers.

They are a plant that requires good light, a well moist soil and not much else. If grown in containers they will need repotting every year, and dividing at the same time.

In the ground they can be left to 'do their own thing', or you can divide them as set out below.



  • Dactylorhiza aristata (Fisher's Orchid or Key Flower)
  • Dactylorhiza foliosa (Maderian Orchid) is a popular garden species and once established is fairly hardy.
  • Dactylorhiza majalis (WesternMarsh Orchid)
  • Dactylorhiza purpurella Northern Marsh Orchid

In terms of garden species and cultivars

Dactylorhiz fuchsii and the darker flowered Dactylorhiza 'Harold Esslemont' are two of the best.