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Fall Planting for Spring Blooms: Orlaya
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Fall Planting for Spring Blooms: Orlaya

 

O.grandiflora! You are the essence of effortless elegance. Orlaya’s snowy petals radiating around smaller florets in graceful umbels are the source of the lacy look and common name, laceflower. 

She’s floriferous, she’s timeless, she’s so much more than a fancy carrot. Airy Orlaya is also distinctly white, unlike her pretty but greenish cousin Ammi.

Since this branching annual prefers a long cool period to establish, Orlaya is an excellent fall planting choice for growers in zones 7 and up. Fall planting will give the longest stems and the earliest bloom, just in time for May weddings.

Fascinated by this versatile, fuss-free filler? Our new Orlaya Growing Guide has all the facts you need to succeed.

Farmer Bailey Orlaya Growing Guide

 

Meanwhile, in zone 6a, Wendy Brubaker of Morningside Meadows Flower Farm is currently harvesting excellent Orlaya 'White Lace' grown from one tray of Farmer Bailey plugs.

Working alongside her four daughters, Wendy has fall-planted Orlaya plugs for the past three seasons in the Miami Valley of Ohio. In those three years, she has evolved her methods, improved her stem quality, and increased her harvest–all without a high tunnel.

Read the quickie Q&A below for Wendy's fall-planted Orlaya tips. 


When did you plant out your Orlaya plugs?

Wendy Brubaker: We fall-planted one tray of Orlaya plugs (about a 20' row) in early October of 2023. We used 6-8” spacing and it does great. Not extremely tangled for cutting. No netting.  

Did you cover them over the winter?

WB: Yes, we covered them with heavy frost cloth over low wire hoops in December 2023 when it turned cold. I left the frost cloth on until March 2024. We did not have a heavy snow this year, but I would have considered removing the cloth if there had been more than 6 inches of snow.

How has your approach to this crop evolved over the past three seasons?

WB: In the 2021-22 season we did not cover them at all, and much was lost.

In 2022-23 we used light frost cloth and had less than stellar results; 2022 was also a colder winter than the previous year.

In 2023-24 we only had one cold snap below 0F… the rest of the winter was fairly mild. The weather in Ohio is unpredictable enough, and fluctuates between the negatives and 40F, so after trying several things as well as lighter cloth, we have decided the heavy frost cloth gives sufficient insurance and seems to allow enough light for the plants to develop.

Today is May 14, 2024, and you are currently harvesting your fall-planted Orlaya! Tell us how it’s going.

WB: Our plants reach waist height! We start cutting when the first central bloom unfolds completely. However, if you wait until several more blooms are open then it’s a much fuller bunch. Our Orlaya stem is approximately 2 feet long.

Hydration is a snap if you cut directly into buckets, then hydrate overnight. We store them in the cooler for a week, but I have older buckets for up to two weeks. That looks perfectly fine.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, your real-life insight into this crop is so helpful. 

WB: You are very welcome. Glad to help in areas of success.

 

All photos courtesy of Wendy Brubaker, Morningside Meadows Flower Farm. Follow Wendy on Instagram @Morningside.Meadows

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