Roses may be the traditional flower of choice for Valentine’s Day, but from what I’ve seen at local flower shops, grocery stores, and big box stores, orchids are definitely gaining ground. Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp. and Doritaenopsis spp.) are the most widely available types, partly because they are relatively easy to grow, and partly because they last a long time.
Choices within moth orchids are expanding. Mini-moth orchids, such as those pictured at left grow only about 1 foot tall, so they’re ideal for decorating smaller spaces in the home. And with the smaller size comes a smaller price tag, making them an elegant but affordable extravagance.
If orchids are on your Valentine’s gift radar screen, perhaps you’d be interested in a heart-shape moth orchid. This requires an orchid with 2 blooming stems. While the flower stalks are young and pliable, the grower bends them into a heart shape with the help of a pliable stake and orchid clips. The deep purple example, below, demonstrates the technique. Another dramatic orchid display comes from cascade types. These full-size phalaenopsis orchids are trained to tumble and flow in a stream of color sure to delight your sweetie.
Those friends who follow me on Facebook may remember that last week I managed a photo shoot featuring orchids for an upcoming Better Homes and Gardens book on orchid gardening.
Sorry–you’ll have to wait a full year from now to see the finished product. But if you’re looking for gardening books for Christmas gifts this year for your gardening friends (or yourself!) check out our 2010 crop of titles, published in conjunction with John Wiley & Sons. This year’s titles are: BHG Perennial Gardening, BHG Vegetable, Fruit & Herb Gardening, BHG Rose Gardening, Dream Gardens Across America, and BHG Ask the Garden Doctor. All retail for $19.95, and are on sale through the Wiley website. As of next week, they should be available in bookstores as well.
I thought that you might like to get a sneak peak at some of the shots we took during the orchid photo shoot. We shot blooming orchids in most rooms of the house, demonstrating how easily they can create a spectacular display almost anywhere. Orchids bloom for months at a time, and require little care. Moth orchids, such as the I-Hsin Sesame at left, are widely available, and some of the easiest to grow. (Most moth orchids are in the genus Phalaenopsis, but many also have Doritis parentage, and may be listed as Doritaenopsis.) Here are a couple more moth orchid shots, taken in the living room.
Vanda orchids are more difficult to grow indoors because they need a lot of heat and humidity. But they make a gorgeous display if you have the right conditions. This one is hanging in front of a stained glass window in a bedroom.
We also took many “how-to” shots for the book. Here’s one in a step-by-step series on how to repot a vanda orchid.
We’ll be shooting hundreds more photos before this book project is done. I find that working with orchids is a great way to beat the winter doldrums and brighten up the holiday decor.