Orchids - Exotic and Fascinating

10 June, 2020
Beautify your home with spectacular orchids.
 

If you’re thinking about buying plants to add a touch of the exotic to a corner of your house, go ahead and buy orchids.

The originality of orchids captivated the inhabitants of the tropics. This is where most of them come from. Even though this is the case, hundreds of varieties are cultivated in Spain.

A curious fact is that there are species that live in different habitats. You’ll find some in the Arctic and some in the desert, in areas at sea level and on the peaks of the highest mountains.

Due to their high demand, it’s common to find orchids in nurseries and garden centers. Because they are very sought after, you can find them all year long. 

Orchids – land plants or epiphytes

Small purple orchids

Orchids grow in the ground from bulbs or pseudobulbs where they accumulate a reserve of nutrients. But many species are epiphytes with aerial roots that grow on top of trees, rocks or bushes. Interestingly, their nutrients are derived from vegetable remains and small animals that stay in the roots.

Their fame for being difficult to grow precedes them. Nevertheless, they have exquisite flowers that last one day or for several months, according to the species. Fortunately, there are hybrid orchids that are very hardy.

 

Basic care for orchids

Large orchid plant with no flowers

The temperature where they are kept should be between 59 F to 75 F degrees.  But it should never go below 50 F degrees or above 86 F degrees. That said, some species require a difference of 50 F degrees between day and night to flower.

When it comes to light, it should be intense, but indirect in winter and partly shaded in the summer. On the other hand, watering depends on the species, but this plant should always have good drainage and humidity. Also, you have to take into account that orchids don’t tolerate water from the tap very well. This is because calcium is harmful to them.

It’s ideal to water them with rainwater enriched with a liquid fertilizer especially for orchids. During watering, don’t forget that you shouldn’t wet the leaves nor the flowers of the plant, as this will quickly damage them. 

Some orchids that you’ll like

After what you’ve just read, are you interested in orchids? Let’s look at five varieties that you’ll love.

Dendrobium

Photo of red dendrobium orchids
 

Its name comes from the Greek word dendro, which means fingers in reference to its natural epiphyte. Describing this orchid, it has large flowers that can vary. But the ones which are sold are either white or pink with a dark spot in the center.

The natural habitat of the dendrobium variety can be very diverse. This includes the high mountains of the Himalaya and tropical jungles. Even desert climates have this variety.

The dendrobium grows very rapidly in the summer but takes a long break in the winter. During the spring it forms new sprouts at the base of the plant and the buds bloom.

To be healthy, the orchid requires intense light without direct sunlight and artificial light in the winter. Also, it needs a high level of humidity in the air and three or four waterings daily during the growth stage. You must fertilize it in April and September.

Phalaenopsis

Pink and white phalaenopsis orchid

This variety is also known as phal or the nocturnal butterfly orchid. It’s a bit demanding when it comes to care, with its beautiful and hardy flowers. More impressive, is that it blooms up to three times a year. 

Its favorite location is in a window that either faces east or west, shaded by a curtain. Also important is to water it once or twice a week with soft water, without calcium, and at room temperature.

 

These orchids come in transparent pots because they have peculiar green roots containing chlorophyll capable of photosynthesis. When buying one, at least one flower should be open and two or three if it’s winter.

Vanilla

Vanilla plant, type of orchid

 

The entire genus of orchids includes 100 species. Originating from Mexico and Polynesia, vanilla is the only edible orchid with fruit. It’s also a climbing species with long and strong roots that come from nodules.

As a plant from the interior of Europe, this orchid needs a humid environment and exposure to light. However, it can’t tolerate direct sunlight.

The flowers of the vanilla orchid have a short life. On the plus side, they are large and aromatic and are white, green, yellow, or cream. They open at dawn and close at sunset.

Cattleya

Large purple orchids
 

Probably the most well-known variety of orchid that produces very large, striking, and aromatic blooms is the cattleya. They have a soft vanilla fragrance. Also, all of these are epiphytes and bloom at different times of the year, according to the species.

These orchids need a relative humidity of from 70% to 80% and to face the south or the west. For proper care, you need to water them every three days and spray them daily when it’s hot.

Cymbidium

Cymbidium, small yellow and red flowers

This can be a landbased orchid or an epiphyte and is fairly common to have indoors. Being a wintertime plant, it lives from six weeks to 3 months. Also important, it needs direct sunlight and humidity and to be in well-ventilated areas. 

Cymbidium needs to be watered weekly when the temperature is somewhere between 59 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Then reduce the watering to every 8 to 12 days in winter, with temperatures below 50 degrees F.

It’s advisable to fertilize every 15 days from April to October. Orchids are a sure bet to give your home a touch of the exotic. You won’t know which orchid to choose!