The dactylorhiza offerings can be split into three groups; native orchids for meadows and gardens; garden worthy orchids and continental species grown mainly alpine houses.
The genus is winter dormant with a finger tubers and a ring of roots just below the single bud. The bud starts growth in the spring and the flower is produced on a spike of variable height. As the flower develops so to does one or more new tubers attached to the old tuber which is rapidly shrinking as the energy is used up. Many species produce large quantities of seed.
Native orchids grow in a variety of environments but they are usually damp although not always. They need poor soils to thrive and often colonise areas such as quarries and other "brown field"" sites. They can be grown in the garden or pots. Pot grown plants require an open compost with variable water holding properties depending on the type. The "Marsh ochids" need more water than some of the other natives.
The "garden worthy" orchids are normally hybrids which exhibit hybrid vigour in that they produce large flower spikes and will multiply up very quickly. These can be grown in the garden or pots. They respond to a small quantity of natural fertilizers.
The continental species need free draining soil and in the main, should only be grown in an alpine house as they are intolerant of winter wet.
When purchasing from autumn to early spring plants will be in a suitable mix which is just damp. What is done with them on receipt depends on the reasons they have been purchased for. If conditions are suitable tubers that are going to be planted out can be. The growing point should be 2 to 3 cm below the surface thus protecting the plant from winter conditions. This applies both for garden plantings and meadow. If the tubers are going to be kept in the pots it is very important to ensure that the pots are not frozen as frost in the side of the pots would ruin the tuber.
Plants purchased in the spring can be planted out provided they have not started to develop a flower spike; again provided the conditions are right. This means neither too cold nor hot and dry.
Individual plants are sent out potted in a suitable compost that is free draining. Quantity sales for meadow plantings are sent out bare rooted ready for planting.