Guide to Orchid Flowers
1.1 What is the meaning of the orchid flower and what do they symbolise?
Orchids are intricate and pretty enough on their own as a gift without any symbolisation. For that extra meaning, consider the following emotions which orchids can convey.
- Beauty, Elegance: Being an exotic flower cultivated for thousands of year, the orchid has a beauty to behold in its delicate shaped petals with heavenly scents.
- Sexuality: From the ancient Greek word for ‘testicle’ to the modern day representation of the vagina (the visual resemblance), orchids have a history linked between sex and nature.
- Thoughtfulness, Charm: Let someone know how special they are and how highly you think of them with an arrangement of orchids.
1.2 What occasions are best to give orchid flowers as a gift?
There’s just about an event or date any day of the year with orchids. With so many varieties, shapes, colours and sizes of orchids, a few examples include:
- Congratulations: Convey your thoughtfulness and commendation to your colleagues or families achievements with an orchid flower. A single orchid is powerful enough on it’s own, and more can always be added in a bouquet for greater effect, but keep in mind that orchids are on the higher end of the price range.
- Expectant Mother: Do you know a mother who is trying to get pregnant or has a baby on the way? Bless her with a lifetime of plentiful and happy children with Chinese orchids.
- Love & Romance: Let your partner, lover or crush how much you adore their beauty with a prized Cattleya orchid.
1.3 How long do cut orchids from a florist live for?
While all cut flowers should be handled with delicate care, orchids should be especially so. Not only do they not respond well to being handled, dry or rough hands can kick-start decay and wilt as orchids thrive in a moist, wet environment.
When handling orchids, simply wear wet gloves, or at least wash your hands without drying them.
Orchids thrive on in-direct sunlight and humid environments. Try to be conscious of where you’re positioning the arrangement of orchids – next to a heater or refrigerator
depends, moist environment, don’t keep dry, handle little, indirect sunlight.
Try to replicate their natural environment as much as possible. Spray their leaves and limbs with a fine mist in order to replicate the humidity which orchids typically love – be careful not to overdo it as too much water can droop the flower or be a catalyst for rot.
Keep in mind that this is general care tips for orchids, and each species has different environmental preferences.
1.4 What different type of orchid flower species are there?
The main types of orchids you’ll find are most popular from florists are:
- Phalaenopsis: An epiphytic orchid More commonly known as the moth orchid. Named after their loose resemblance to a wing-spanned moth. They come in patterns of white and purple and occasionally yellows.
- Cymbidium: An epiphytic orchid Arguably the most common orchid flowers grown and sold next to the moth orchid. They have the classical 5 petal orchid shape (as pictured above), are fairly easy to maintain and can bloom for almost half a year in perfect conditions.
- Dendrobium: An epiphytic orchid which unlike the Cymbidium which flowers one head per stem, Dendrobium orchids sprout multiple miniature heads per stem, similar to the freesia.
- Cattleya: An epiphytic orchid with a trumpet limbed resemblance to the daffodil flower. Unlike the smooth edged petals of its orchid cousins, Cattleya orchids boast a wavy texture and edge to their flower petals.
1.5 What conditions does the orchid flower need to grow?
Climate: Orchids tend to favor humid, moist environments with partial shade and plenty of nutrients.
Soil: Aim for slightly acidic soils ranging from 6.0-6.5 on the pH scale.
Planting: As the majority of orchids grow well above ground under the canopy in the tree tops, planting and growing them is an peculiar process. Find out more about growing Australian native orchids as well as a general guide for epiphyte orchids.
Fertilizer: Regular orchid fertilization is recommended, however try to avoid doing so during the flowering season.
Insects & Disease: A general insecticide is recommended when pest problems arise. Analyse the underside of your orchid leaves and petals and remove any offending scales, eggs, mites or bugs which hide and infest the flower away from our regular view.
Height at Bloom: Most types of orchids can expect to grow 20-50cm, yet like most flower species there are often extremes. The grammatophyllum orchids for instance can reach a whopping 5 metres in height.
Watering: Over watering is one of the most common causes of failing to grow an orchid, let alone just about any flower. Keep the environment moist and the plant regularly hydrated. It’s easier to fix an orchid which is struggling for water as the visible signs of drying and browning will be evident. The signs of root rot from over-watering however, will not be as obvious until it’s too late.
Please take note that the recommendations made here are generalizations, you should ask a florist or expert how to best take care of your specific type of orchid as conditions can vary.