Every once in a while, an orchid produces a floral display that stops people in their tracks. A Dendrobium boasting six long spikes, an Oncidium touting a dozen branches, or a lady slipper developing four blossoms. While all the popular genera are capable of this sort of fire power, it seems to rarely happen. Here are the factors that have to come together to make the perfect storm:
One of the secrets to cultivating orchids successfully in this part of the country is to put the plants outside for the summer. Night temperatures usually don't fall below 60 degrees F during the months of June, July, and August and the humidity is high. Epiphytes thrive in these rainforest-like conditions. What confounds hobbyists, however, is how to provide proper light levels.
Visitors who walk into four and five star hotels expect to be dazzled by the decor whether it's the architecture, furniture, or flowers. Orchids, with their long lasting blossoms and wide range of colors, rarely disappoint and have long been used in interior spaces. Recently, floral designers are using a new technique to show off their orchids. They are combining blooming plants with cut flowers to make over-the-top arrangements.
Orchids continue to get easier and easier to grow. Hybridizers have been working round the clock developing new and improved varieties particularly in the areas of Phalaenopsis and Oncidiums. Commercial nurseries have been implementing state-of-the-art cultural techniques in order to bring their crop to market as quickly as possible. The exciting news for the consumer is that today's plants provide years of enjoyment with only minimal care.
Nancy Reagan will be remembered in the horticulture world for her love of orchids. She had hybrids from three different genera honoring her – a Cattleya, Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis. Her favorite color was red and orchid breeders were able to create reddish purple hues for her flowers.
Re-blooming an orchid can be a momentous event. Some people take pictures and make detailed notes. Other people throw a party so their guests can see the blossoms. A select few take their hobby to the next level: they enter their plant in a local orchid show.
Orchids are full of surprises.
There are the ‘grocery store’ varieties, better known as phalaenopsis, whose long sprays of colorful blooms seem to last forever. Then there are the more exotic types with unusual flowers and fancy names like Lady Slippers and Dancing Ladies. The crème de la crème of the orchid world are, arguably, the cattleyas whose grand blossoms adorned royalty a century and a half ago.
Charitable organizations have long used orchids in their fundraising events.
Partygoers bid on lavish silent auction items which can fetch upwards of five hundred dollars each. Fancy bowls filled with blooming plants, a personal house call from a horticulture expert, and a one year membership in the Orchid of the Month club all garnish attention.