Beautiful Orchid Pictures and Growing Tips

Orchids
Robin Sweetser

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Ready for a tropical interlude? Luckily, I only had to go as far as our state’s Orchid Society’s Annual Show to share some of the most beautiful orchid pictures for you—and picked up some orchid growing tips, too.

At this show, orchid growers have set up their displays and all the plants have been judged with many plants awarded ribbons. 

What a treat to be able to escape from the frigid cold while viewing these gorgeous flowers! 

I admit to being an orchid nut, having at least two dozen of them scattered around the house on every available windowsill.

I learned from one of the tour guides that, in nature, phalaenopsis would be sitting in the crotch of a tree with its flower stalk reaching out and blossoms hanging down, making them perfectly suited to growth in a hanging basket. They do not have to be staked upright to present their blossoms well. This tip has increased the number of plants that I can grow in a sunny window.

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I could spend the whole day at this show, every hour there are different lectures or workshops going on and  I always pick up some new tidbit of information during the guided tour.

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It is a treat to be with like-minded people and the age-range is remarkable; young boys and girls are asking as many questions as the adults and are totally enthralled with the flowers. Many are buying plants to bring home to add to their collections.

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Though right now my plants are doing well, I have to confess that I have killed a lot of orchids over the years. Too cold, too dry, too wet, viruses, scale, any number of deaths have been inflicted. That is why I have quit buying them. It is hard to resist the beautiful plants that are for sale at the show but I know my track record and can’t bear killing any more expensive plants. Plus they would probably freeze solid just getting to the car on a day like this. I have the best luck with ones from the markdown table at the grocery store or Home Depot. If they can survive the treatment they must endure in those settings, my house must seem like heaven!

Easy-to-Grow Orchid Varieties

Along with phalaenopsis, other easy-to-grow orchids are oncidiums; look for fragrant ‘Sharry Baby’, miltoniopsis aka the pansy orchid. Many of these are fragrant too, and my favorite are cymbidiums. They can spend the summer outside until frost threatens and like a cool sunny spot in your home where they will reward you with tall spikes of blooms all winter long.

There are many intergeneric hybrids that are tough cookies as well, taking the best traits from two, three, or even four parent plants. Some of the more commonly sold phalaenopsis are actually crossed with their cousin doritis, making an almost bullet-proof plant. Look for the letters Dtps on their tags.

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There is no better cabin fever reliever than a trip to a flower show. Treat yourself if there is one in your area. You’ll be glad you did!

About This Blog

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser's backyard gardening tips. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer's Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer's Market.

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