The Exotic Orchid

ORCHIDS (Orchidaceaea)

Symbolizes refinement, thoughtfulness, mature charm and is a symbol of exotic beauty.

A potted Phalaenopsis Orchid

A potted Phalaenopsis Orchid

With an estimated 25,000 different types existing naturally and more being discovered each year, Orchids are one of the largest flowering plant families. Although they are commonly thought of as tropical flowers, Orchids grow naturally in almost all climates.

Over the centuries Orchids have been a symbol of love, luxury and beauty. In the Middle Ages they were used as a remedy for a number of illnesses. They have also been considered an aphrodisiac and a main ingredient in certain love potions.

It is important to understand, however, that not all Orchids are suited to being cut flowers. In addition, how long your Orchids will last depends on the variety and the use and care the blooms receive.

All varieties of cut Orchids have been specifically bred to be cut flowers. They are long lasting, open quickly, do not fade and do not bruise or spot easily. Some Orchids are thick and heavy, almost waxy in texture; Orchids of this heavier substance will generally last longer than more delicate blooms. This is especially true if you will be using single blooms in corsages, bouquets or boutonnieres.

Orchids are temperature sensitive, colder than 10°C will cause damage of flowers such as blackening and wilting of petals.

Some Orchids, such as Cymbidiums and Phalaenopsis, are highly sensitive to ethylene while some Dendrobiums are less sensitive to the gas. However, exposure to ethylene should be avoided. Avoid storing corsages in tightly closed bags as this will cause a buildup of ethylene. When processing Orchids, handle them gently as touching or damaging the pollen cap will cause a surge in ethylene production. Learn more on the effect of ethylene gas on cut flowers.

Here are the three most commonly found varities of Orchids in the cut flower market and potted orchids for sale.

Dendrobium Orchid

Dendrobium Orchid

Dendrobium Orchid

This Orchid is originally from Asia, the Philippines, Himalayas and Australia. The genus dendrobium is one of the largest of all Orchid groups there are about 1,200 individual species, and they grow in all manner of climates, from hot, wet lowlands to high-altitude, colder mountains.

The Dendrobium Orchid was established by Olaf Swartz in 1799. The name Dendrobium comes from the two Greek words dendron (meaning tree) and bios (meaning life). These Orchids grow on trees and are epiphytes, which mean they depend on the tree for structural support but not nutrition.

Available in a wide range of colors, most commercial varieties are manmade hybrids.  They are commonly used in bouquets, hair decorations, table decorations, corsages and boutonnieres.

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid

The Cymbidium Orchid is beautiful and was first mentioned in China during the Chin dynasty, way back in 265 AD. Cymbidium Orchids are native to tropical Asia and Australia. They are best known for their irregular thick petals that are hard and waxy, almost translucent with entire margins.  The center is often a contrasting color. These flowers are very showy.

The name is derived from the Greek word “Kumbos” meaning “Hole, Cavity”.  It refers to the form of the base of the lip.  The genus is abbreviated s “Cym” for the horticultural trade.

One spike may have up to 30 flowers, each one measuring from 10-15 cm. These flowers can look good for more than two months after being cut. They come in a wide range of colors, including reds, yellows, whites, greens and browns.

Cymbidiums bloom only once a year and the season of bloom can vary by species or hybrid. Do not remove or knock off the anthers, as this causes premature death.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis Orchid

This is an Old World genus of about 50 species generally found in warm lowland forests of tropical Asia east of Sri Lanka to Papua New Guinea and Australia. This species can be found on larger islands within this range, with several desirable ones found in the Philippines. Phalaenopsis are monopodial Orchids, meaning that the plants grow upward from a single stem, producing leaves and flowers along that stem.

A mature phal will be in bloom much of the year with graceful good-sized blooms. Many different hybrids have been made, including Doritaenopsis, which has a nearly identical look.  Phalaenopsis Orchids are available in several shades of lavender, cream, pink, white, yellows, burgundy and brown.  Phalaenopsis Orchids are sold by the stem or by the flower. Individual flowers can measure up to 10cm across. Most are imported from New Zealand and Holland and Vietnam.

In January of 2011 the worlds first naturally blue orchid was created. Read more about it here.


About Connor Lowry

I love flowers! I enjoy writing about them as well as gardening. Mostly I love finding new and unique flower gardening ideas I encourage you to post regularly on this blog, and send in guest blogs or ideas for new blogs as well. New and exciting blogs are always welcome I intend to post a lot of interesting facts and fun stuff about flowers, as well as info on many varieties of flowers.
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12 Responses to The Exotic Orchid

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  12. This was exactly what I was looking for, I appreciate the time you spent putting this post together. I’ll for sure be able to take some of this information and use it for my own purposes. Additionally, It kind of just reminds me how much I like the various types of Orchid flowers.


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