I’m looking for a Phalaenopsis that is orange with blue spots or blue with orange. I’m hoping for UVA colors. Is this possible? Andrew N.
If only orchid buying was like selecting wall paper or designer outfits – mix and match.
Both orange and blue are rare colors in orchids, even rarer in Phalaenopsis, and the odds of the combination defy calculation.
These tropical wonders are predominantly found in whites, pinky/purples, and yellow hues. The Vanda family boasts the stereotypical ocean blue flowers but most ‘blue’ orchids are really ‘bluish’ shades of purple, often called indigo. An artist’s color wheel can be useful in identifying the exact shade. When indigo is placed side by side with purple, it looks blue but when next to blue, it looks purple.
In the jungle, pollinators are attracted to blossoms for any number of reasons…enticing shapes, irresistible fragrance, or sexy color. Man-made hybrids on the other hand, are not bound by the same constraint of having to attract insects; their mission is to attract man. And man apparently wants something a little different.
Stripes and spots already exist due to the breeding influence of Phalaenopsis stuartiana from the Philippines but there has been no progress towards other popular patterns such as plaids, paisleys, or pentagrams. It would most likely take genetic engineering to fill this collegiate order but first we would try everything from air brushing to digital enhancement to drawing up colored water in cut flowers Carnation style…
I’m sure that if we put a team of researchers on this project, we could come up with something close within a decade - planting millions of seedlings from speculative crosses - hoping for that one in a million color combination. I’ll assign a task force to this. How soon do you need it?
I received a white Phalaenopsis as a departing gift from my job yesterday. It had been in the car before they gave it to me and the petals were already drooping. Is there any way to revive it? I tried misting it but that hasn’t helped. Laura M
It doesn’t take long for a blooming beauty such as this to lose its pizzazz when subjected to high temperatures. A hot car can reach 150 degrees F and that is no match for the delicate blossoms of an orchid that start to get restless at 95 degrees F. Twenty minutes in the direct sun will outright kill the plant by blackening the leaves beyond recognition. (The employer should have parked the car in the shade or brought the plant inside.) (yet another reason to be changing jobs)
Once the plant has suffered ‘heat stroke’ and the blooms are wilted, sadly the best course of action is to just cut off the flower spike. Ive never known of a floral display to get a second wind and perk up. Once they go down, they stay down. The bright side is of course that the plant is not dead or even seriously injured as long as the leaves themselves are not black or severely limpy…
The plant will return to its former glory next year….but tis worth the wait. It will have another year to get bigger leaves, stronger root system – in preparation for a grandeur display next year.