When people think about special flowers, whether as a gift, or as an indoor potted plant for the home or office, or a special cut flower bouquet, a flower that likely comes to mind is the orchid. The common perception about orchids is that they only grow in exotic rainforests of the tropics. You may be surprised to learn that orchids grow in a wide range of places and climates, or that orchids are one of the world’s most common plant groups. Many of the orchids that are sold in flower shops, nurseries, plant centers, and specialty stores today, are grown in greenhouses.
Interesting Facts About Orchids
- According to information from the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, the orchid plant family is one of the largest known plant families. To put things into perspective, consider that there are two times as many orchid species as there are bird species.
- Some orchids grow in the ground, but most species are epiphytes – or air plants. They attach themselves to other things – like trees, rocks, or whatever is convenient. They aren’t parasitic and don’t take nutrition from the things they rely on for support. They absorb water from rainfall and nutrients from decaying plant matter around them.
- Estimates suggest that there are roughly 25,000 different kinds of orchids throughout the world.
- There are 1500 known species of orchids in Costa Rica, while 70 species exist in the United States, and surprisingly, four orchid species exist, grow and survive in Greenland, way north close to the Arctic Circle.
- The world’s largest commercial producers of orchids today are the Netherlands, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Vanilla that is widely used in cooking and baking actually comes from several species of vanilla orchids. Vanilla production relies on commercially grown plants to produce the world’s supply. If you ever wondered why vanilla extract or vanilla bean is so expensive, the reason is that every plant that produces those seeds and pods, does so because it was hand pollinated.
Important Information About Choosing Orchids to Grow at Home
Before you buy an orchid, make sure that you buy one that is suited to the light and temperature conditions you can give it. Orchids have very specific needs and temperature requirements, and unless you have, or can create the growing environment they need, your experience growing the orchid won’t be as fun or rewarding as it could be.
- Best Orchids for Low Light – Phalaenopsis (or moth orchid,) Paphiopedium (or slipper orchid.)
- Best Orchids for Eastern Exposure – Oncidinae – or Camanara Wildcat Miltonia, or Pansy orchid.
- Best Orchids for Bright Indirect Light – Oncidium, Brassia, and Phragmipedium.
Whether you’re looking for a gift for someone, or a beautiful plant to grace a dining table, console table or accent table, you can’t go wrong with a Phalaenopsis from Zeidlers. Choose the Deep Waters Orchid Plant, a single-stem purple plant, a single stem white Orchid in a Decorative Container, or the multi-stem show-stopper, the White Orchid.