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Orlaya Grandiflora ~

Orlaya Grandiflora (sometimes called White Lace Flower or White finch) is one of my absolute favorite spring filler flowers. It's a very delicate-looking flower but surprisingly a very hardy plant. Every time I add a stem or two of Orlaya in a mixed bouquet, I feel as if people's eyes gravitate toward it first and I get questioned on what kind of flower it is. It's truly a gorgeous flower to add in mixed bouquets, wedding arrangements or even by itself on your dining room table. If you did a little bit of research before reading this blog post, you've probably come across a couple websites saying that it is not an easy to grow flower. I can confidently say that I disagree. I've never had an issue with germination, growing or even cutting Orlaya. I truly believe that timing is the most important factor for this flower. I thought I'd write a quick post on what growing method works for me in our climate.


Habits and Growing Conditions

Orlaya is considered a cool flower, which just means that it likes growing in cooler weather. In the Fresno/Clovis area (zone 9B), you'll want to plant these seeds some time in the fall so they can grow in our mild winter. When it starts warming up a little more in the spring, the temperature will trigger the plant to flower. Fall sowing = spring harvest. Last year, I sowed Orlaya seeds directly into the ground in mid-November and my first blooms were in late March/ early April. You can technically sow the seeds in the spring for a summer harvest, but you'll risk the stems and umbels blooming short and small. So again, I recommend fall-planting the seeds. Once Orlaya is in bloom, it will constantly produce flowers for you throughout the spring as long as you keep cutting! Most of us gardeners call this a "cut and come again" flower.


How To Grow

You can either start Orlaya seeds in trays or direct sow the seeds in the ground. Personally, I direct sow them. I’ve gotten so much better germination this way and anytime I can avoid hardening off seedlings is a plus in my book. Some people recommend chilling your seeds in the fridge for a week before planting them. I have done this and honestly, didn’t notice a difference in germination between the ones I chilled and the ones I didn’t. I would say chilling seeds is an optional step for Orlaya!

  • Find a spot in your garden that gets full sun (at least six hours of direct sunlight). I normally water the area first and let it drain well (wait a minute or two).

  • A rule of thumb for almost any seed is to plant the seed “a seed and a half” deep. Note that this is not as deep as many people think! You barely want to cover it with soil. Make sure no branches or rocks are in the way of your seed germinating. Water the seeds in gently (use the shower setting on your hose or a watering can).

  • One of the biggest problems people have with direct sowing is keeping the area moist enough. Check back at your spot daily to make sure it’s still moist and if not, water it! You can plant your seeds as early as you want as long as it’s in the fall season; however, I normally plant my Orlaya in November when it’s a little cooler than early October.

  • Orlaya seeds take a little longer to germinate than other flowers… but they should germinate around day 10.

  • Once the seeds germinate the plants are fairly easy to grow! Just water the soil whenever it’s dry. I recommend checking by putting a finger 3-4 inches down in your soil to make sure it’s not too dry.

  • During the winter, the plant will grow sort of lower to the ground and then eventually start growing taller when the weather warms up. Orlaya grows to around 30 inches tall.

  • Around 70 days later, you’ll get your first blooms! Yay!


When/ How To Cut

Just like every cut flower, you should always cut in the morning or in the late evening. This is when the flowers are the most hydrated and will give you the best vase life. I recommend harvesting Orlaya when the flowers are at least 70% fully open and the stem is sturdy. If you harvest Orlaya much sooner, you risk the flowers wilting. Sometimes when you cut the flowers under the above recommended conditions, they will still wilt. Do not panic. They just aren’t hydrated yet. As long as you have them in water, they’ll usually perk back up within the hour. Expect a vase life of at least a week. I’ve had a couple of florists that have put my Orlaya in a cooler and extended the vase life by another week and a half!

As stated earlier, Orlaya is a cut and come again flower in the spring season. The more you cut the more it produces/branches! If you stop cutting, you’ll notice the delicate white petals falling off (after pollination) and forming green star-shaped pods.

I hope these tips can help you grow beautiful Orlaya! As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

With love,


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