This post comes just in time as the orlaya has started to bloom!
Orlaya is also known as White Lace flower and lives up to its name. It works extremely well in bouquets and arrangements with the lacey flowers functioning as an umbel shape that provides beautiful texture. I grow multiple successions of it each spring because I can never have enough of it.
In summer 2021, I started orlaya seeds for the first time, planted them out that fall, and let them grow over the winter. We had very cold weather that winter. The orlaya was planted under a low tunnel with frost cloth. However, with the wind blowing that winter, the tunnel came uncovered multiple times. Only the most winter hardy plants survived. Orlaya was one of them. This plant, without fail, made it through the winter and produced beautiful flowers that spring. The only problem was that there just were never enough as I used the flowers in all the bouquets and arrangements that spring.
At the beginning of the summer, we ended up heading out of town for a week of family time. The orlaya that was left, the little bit of it, ended up going to seed. It ended up scattering seed all over the bed in which it was planted. The following fall, I saw little baby orlaya seedlings all over the bed. I was able to uproot the little seedlings and plant them in the flower bed where I wanted them to overwinter and, hopefully, get established for future seasons. The seedlings did really well and were able to be transplanted quite easily. I also planted seeds in late winter/ early spring. The seeds are just coming up now as small seedlings.
The goal this year is for the orlaya to go to seed and regrow in the same bed.
Care & Maintenance
Orlaya is considered a cool flower. That means that you can start seeds in mid summer and plant those out in the fall. The seedlings are cold hardy to Zone 6.
If you are planting seeds in later spring, the seeds will need to be cold stratified. This means that they need to be kept in the freezer for a few weeks before you plant them. Seeds should not be covered as they need light to germinate. You can direct seed or start seeds indoors.
You can provide frost protection to help protect the plant from wind and cold. However, up to zone 6, it does not need frost protection. I found that the plant stayed compact during the winter and took off once the weather turned warmer. I was able to cover it close to the ground over the winter.
To harvest orlaya, snip the stem near the base. Immediately place the stem into water. For the longest vase life, harvest the flower before it has fully opened. The more you harvest from this plant, the more it will produce, though it will slow down in the heat of the summer.
Other things to consider
This post is part of a year-long series on flowers and plants that we love and grow on the farm. Check out other flowers that we love.