Orchids have evolved into one of the most popular house plants to own. Since orchids hit the mainstream, the world has become a much more beautiful place. Orchids are the latest, greatest trend happening in flowers because they are drop dead gorgeous, they are easy to grow almost anywhere and they have overcome stereotypes of being overly posh and expensive.
The Willow Shoreditch can say it best, “The varieties are endless, each one of them incredibly beautiful. Orchids demand your attention. They need to be cared for. It’s this fragile, exotic nature that makes them so seductive.”
As you can see, orchids are awe-inspiring.
“No other plant family is as diverse as the orchid family or as colorful, and no other houseplants offer flowers that can remain in bloom for months,” said Wilella Stimmell, Orchid Society of Arizona member and 30-year orchid grower.
There are more than 100,000 hybrids and 25,000 – 30,000 species of orchids alive today (Wilella Stimmell).
For the most part, orchids have a very tarnished reputation. The history of orchids is responsible for the orchid’s reputation. According to the Tacoma Orchid Society, orchid collecting began in the Victorian Era. Wealthy settlers in Europe would hire explorers to go search the tropics to find the most unique and exuberant orchids that existed. When the orchids would return back to them on ship, most of the orchids withered away from the long travel. The wealthy Europeans “built glass houses heated with coal furnaces,” to serve as a modern day greenhouse to keep the plants alive. When they would witness an orchid in bloom, Europeans would cause frenzy and send the next crew of explorers out to collect more. The history of orchids definitely adds an extra flair to the orchid excitement. Since the Victorian Era, orchids have come a long way.
People tend to think orchids are extremely pricey and that only people living in a luxury real estate magazine can afford them. Others believe that keeping a flower like the orchid alive would require endless, sleepless nights farming in a greenhouse lab. But the truth is you don’t have to visit a deserted tropical island to find one, you can just pick one up the next time you are at the grocery store. Common, everyday stores like Frys, Wal-Mart, IKEA or even Home Depot all carry orchids for $7 – $14.
Despite having complicated names, the breeds Phalaenopsis (fal-eh-NOP-sis) or Paphiopedilum (paff-ee-oh-PED-ih-lum) are the easiest to keep alive and in bloom. I have a collection of this breed all throughout my home and office. Watering this plant is simple because most of the time all that is needed is three ice cubes. When watering becomes a habit, ice cubes begin to remind you of orchids, making it much easier to remember to water. Besides three ice cubes, all the orchid needs is to be re-fertilized every couple of weeks, and that is it!
The reasons to join the orchid phenomenon are never ending. If you haven’t changed your mind yet, I am going to leave you with a picture of the Phalaenopsis Brother Sara Gold to gasp at.
Photo courtesy of Bitman.