Common Onion-orchid

Microtis unifolia

orchids Orchids 🔎

Flowering Period:

September to November

Growth Size:

  • 15-90cm

Preferred Soil:

Very Variable


0 in Stock (Estimated)

Price Codes:

  • $8.00 (OP, Orchids in 15cm Pots)


With usually 10 or more plants per pot, theses plants are loved by snails. Snail bait is useful, but beware of poisoning your pets. Plants grow from tubers, usually between 5 and 15mm in diameter.


The common name of Onion Orchid is because the leaf is hollow, the same as the leaf of an onion plant. The tip of the flower stem breaks through the side of the leaf and lengthens, then many tiny green flowers open along the stem (rather like the flowers of a gladiolus). Oddly, the flowers nearest the middle of the stem open first, then opening upwards and downwards.



Plant in the ground or leave in the pot. In either case, an east- or north-facing position with dappled sunlight is ideal. The overhead branches will also help protect the plants from frost damage. A thin (1cm at most) layer of coarse mulch will help keep the roots and tubers cool over summer, and feed the plants when they are actively growing.


As these orchids die down to escape the summer heat:

  • Decrease watering in early November when the leaves should be yellowing.
  • Give a light watering (just enough to stop the soil from becoming bone dry) every couple of weeks until early March, then
  • Give a thorough watering to soak the soil.

Unless there is extreme heat, repeat this weekly through March, and leaves should appear during April.


With good growing conditions, the number of tubers (and plants) will double or even triple. If kept in pots, repot if there are more than about 15 plants in a pot. Put no more than 10 tubers in a 15cm pot, about 3cm below the soil surface, using a good quality native plant potting mix. (Other potting mixes have too much phosphorus, which is bad for most Australian native plants.)

Every May, spread half a teaspoon of native plant fertiliser on each pot or similar sized area of ground.

If plants are in the ground, tubers do not need to be lifted unless you want to put some in a different part of your garden.

Greenlink Sandbelt Indigenous Nursery
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Clayton South, Vic 3169
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