The Orchid family or the Orchidaceae are a diverse family of flowering plants with blooms that are often scented and noted for its structural variations. Some Orchids have only single flowers whereas most have an inflorescence.
Orchids grow all over the world except Antarctica and the driest deserts. Do you know that over 30,000 species of orchids inhabit the world and with cross breeding humans have created 150,000 hybrids? Orchids are also supposed to be ancient plants with evidence of them having existed from the age of dinosaurs. This makes them one of the oldest flowering plants.
In India, orchids are abundant in the state of Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya. The Dendrobium variety is the highest selling flower in the Indian cut flower industry.
For orchids to grow well, a harmonious relationship between temperature, light and humidity is a must! Orchids must produce energy in the form of carbohydrates during the day when the temperature is high and store that energy at night when the temperature drops. This temperature fluctuation is necessary for orchids to bloom. Without a day-night fluctuation of 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit, the plants will grow plenty of healthy foliage but may stubbornly refuse to flower.
What are the different types of Orchids?It is commonly divided into 5 subfamilies: Cypripediodeae, Vanilloideae, Orchidoideae, Epidendroideae, and Apostasiodeae. Subfamilies are further divided into smaller tribes, which are then divided into subtribes and grouped into genera.
The genera of orchids which are commercially important are Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Oncidium,Vanda, Mokara, Arachnis and Cattaleva
What is the socio-cultural significance of an orchid flower?This exotic flower has an aura that is unmatched in the world of flora. The name orchid itself comes from the Greek work ‘ orchis’ meaning the male anatomy. An ancient writer, Theophrastos, gave them this name because he thought that that’s exactly what their bulbs looked like.
Did you know that the orchid is one of the most symbolic flowers in history?
They have long been associated as an irresistible object of desire. Throughout various cultures and time period, orchids symbolize love, fertility, luxury, innocence, strength, perfection and elegance.
Orchids hold diverse meaning all across the world. The ancient Greeks of course believed it to be a symbol of virility. England considers orchids to be a sign of wealth whereas Japan holds it dear as a sign of royalty!
In parts of Philippines they play a significant role as protectors of forest. Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, believed that honest and virtuous people were just like orchids because they were both perfect representations of culture.
What do different colours of orchids mean?
Being a much wanted flower in bouquets, it is necessary that we understand what each colour of orchids mean, so that we convey the correct emotion!
- Purple – Royalty, admiration, respect
- Pink – Femininity, grace, joy
- White – Innocence, purity, elegance, reverence
- Yellow – New beginnings, friendship
- Orange – Boldness, pride, enthusiasm
When to gift orchids?Orchids are considered to be pricey possession and certainly make for very good gifting option.
- Great gifts for friends to celebrate their accomplishments.
- Supposed to generate positive vibes. They go well in situations that call for good wishes.
- Wedding bouquets and as corsages
- Ideal flowers for Easter and Mother’s day.
How to arrange orchids and pair them with other flowers?
Orchids all by themselves are very dramatic and do not need any other companion. To create a unique arrangement with orchids, a few accessories like antique bowls, baskets, cages, stones, some moss etc; are all that you need!
Simultaneously, here are a few suggestions to help you bring the right blooms together. For a stunning display try pairing orchids with –
- Cala Lilies
- Asiatic/ Oriental Lilies
How to care for Orchids at home?
Got a nice bunch of orchids home? Make sure they stay fresh for a long time by following these tips.
- To take care of cut blooms, begin by storing them with the stems submerged in water and the blooms above the surface of the water. The latter helps to avert spotting.
- In addition, when preparing these flowers for display, immerse them in cool water for about a quarter of an hour. Make sure you cut the stems in such a way that water can still be absorbed.
- Place the cut orchids in a clean container full of cool tap water. Add flower food.
- Remember to remove any leaves of the plant that are not above the surface. Avoid direct sunlight shining on the plants.
- Do not allow drafts of air to blow on the orchids as this may cause dehydration.
- After every two days, empty the vases and add fresh water.
- Mist the orchids with water every day.
How to preserve orchids?
We know that it is saddening to see your favourite flower wilt but now you can always store these flowers by drying them or pressing them.
- Remember the age old method of preserving flowers inside a heavy bound book? Orchids can be preserved in a similar manner.
- Another method is to dry these orchids using silica gel.
- Place the flowers inside an airtight container and cover the base with silica gel.
- Silica gel acts as a good absorbent and works well to remove the moisture. Make sure you place silica gel in between each petal, but take care to keep the shape of the flower intact. Now sprinkle generous doses of silica gel again. Wait for a few days until it starts showing the desired results.
Some fun facts
- Orchids have the tiniest seed in the world.
- There can be about 3 million orchid seeds in a seedpod.
- Orchid flowers grow upside down when mature.
- Some orchid flowers last merely for a few hours whereas others last up to six months to 100 years.
- The giant orchid, Grammatophyllum speciosum is believed to be the largest orchid species in existence with its bulb growing upto 2.5m
- The orchid Plztystele jungermannioides, which is believed to be the smallest Orchid in the world, grows a measly 2mm.
- Each orchid flower is bilateral symmetric, which means that it can be divided in two equal parts.
- Certain species of orchids are parasitic. They are not able to produce food using the sunlight and carbon dioxide like other plants. Instead, they obtain food from the fungi mycorrhizae, which live inside their root.
- People use orchids for numerous purposes. Substances isolated from orchids are used in industry of perfumes, spices and in traditional Asian medicine.
- Vanilla is one of the best known and widely used flavors. It is extracted from the pod of Vanilla planifolia, which is a species of orchid.
Orchids at “The Flora”
Orchids are available with us in a bunch of 8 stems that looks great in a medium sized transparent vase. Falling in love with orchids for its uniqueness? We have got you covered!