Here is some orchid trivia: Did you know that vanilla comes from orchid plants? The vanilla “bean” is actually a pod that is produced from the vanilla orchid plant known as vanilla planifolia which is a species of vanilla orchid.
The vanilla planifolia is found in the West Indies and Central America. It prefers tropical climates that are wet and hot. The flowers of vanilla orchid plants are greenish-yellow and they only last for one day. If fruit is desired from the plant the flowers must be pollinated manually during the morning. To produce fruit the flowers must be hand pollinated as there is less than 1% chance that the flowers will pollinate on their own. Fruits are long pods that are produced only on mature plants. The pods will mature after five months at which time they are harvested and cured. The curing process ferments and dries the pods with minimizing the loss of essential oils. Vanilla extract is obtained from this part of the plant.
There are several different types of orchids and at All flowers and gifts we have beautiful phalaenopsis orchid plants that are great gifts for all occasions. Phalaenopsis orchids are thick leaved plants with arching sprays of elegant blooms. They range in colours from white, yellow and pink /purple tones.
Growing orchids is not difficult; here are some steps on how to grow orchids:
- Light – phalaenopsis orchids like low light and can thrive in an east window or a shaded west or south facing exposure. Orchid plants do not like direct sunlight.
- Water – the phalaenopsis orchid grows from a single stem and does not have a large water storing capability and as such has a low tolerance for drought. During the growth season water the plant when you see the exposed roots turning silvery white which would be usually weekly. During this stage try to keep the potting media slightly damp. When the flowering stage starts decrease the watering to every other week. In higher the humidity it is important to maintain a good air flow around the roots and leaves.
- Fertilizer – During the growing stage, fertilize the orchid plants weekly with an orchid fertilizer. Decrease the frequency to once a month during the winter and flowering stage.
- Temperature – the phalaenopsis orchid likes temperatures between 75 – 85 degrees during the active growth stage, but they can adapt well to house temperatures of 65 – 70 degrees.
- Blooming – Phalaenopsis orchids bloom typically in the late winter and early spring. They have long lasting flowers that are held on arching branches. The flowers of Phalaenopsis orchids can last for many weeks.
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