My inlaws were over last night and were shocked and pleasantly surprised to see the orchid that my brother-in-law gave me for Christmas is not only still alive (unlike half my houseplants) but is still in full, not fading, not thinking about fading, spectacular bloom. A whole stalk of vagina reminiscent blossoms in streaky purple and white.
Orchids have a bad rap. Ask your average flower enthusiast about orchids and you either get a look that is similar to a law student having been told they have to take the bar orally or a look of such disgust that you would swear that orchids are made of rotted fish. “Oh, I don’t keep orchids. They are so fussy.â€
Funny thing is, most orchids, at least the ones we mere mortals and non-enthusiast can get our hands on, are not that fussy. Actually, your average orchid found at your local Target, grocery store or Smith and Hawken store is more durable than your average cactus. Think about it… really. How much care can a plant really need if major corporations entrust its $20 – $100 health and well being to a 17-year-old kid behind a counter?
Buy an orchid just coming into full bloom and you buy a floral centerpiece that last longer than the average celebrity wedding and that needs less care than your average college student (sans the alcohol and dirty laundry).
While your orchid is in its glory, a bi-weekly watering with water infused with VERY little fertilizer will keep your average orchid happy, healthy and in full bloom for months. If you are feeling really ambitious, spritz it with some distilled water every few days, for an even longer display. They don’t even need that much light to hold onto their blooms.
For all of you men out there, an orchid makes an excellent substitute for the “I fucked up, please forgive meâ€ bouquet. The price is comparable to a dozen roses and the evidence of your groveling and love will last for 10X longer. Look for the ones that have most of the flower buds on the stalk still closed. That will ensure that she remembers for a good long time how much you love her, even if you were an ass.
For the rest of us, orchids make an excellent winter reprieve or a semi-permanent home dÃ©cor addition.
The reason that orchids get a bad rap for being fussy is because while it is super easy to keep them alive and super easy to keep the blooms around, getting them to rebloom is a whole other bundle of oatcakes.
After the blooms fade and the stalk is empty, getting them to rebloom is difficult. Well, not difficult, just more effort than the average plant requires. Getting orchids to rebloom, requires a balance of humidity, light and temperatures that the average house cannot provide, and thus your orchid becomes so travel needy that it needs its own soccer mom just to get it to all the places it needs to be in order to re-create that display that caused you to buy it in the first place.
ItÂ is probablyÂ just easier to dontate your spent orchid to an enthusist or a sucker who can coddle it back intoÂ bragging conditionÂ and buy a new one just coming into bloom. Better yet, you can join an Orchid of the Month Club, and look like you are absolutely brilliant at growing orchids (which everybody knows is a hard plant to take care of. wink. wink.) though in reality you will just be far poorer (Those puppies are not cheap).
For those of you in the Cleveland area, the ever excellent Cleveland Botanical Gardens has their Orchid Mania show going on right now. They will also have some orchid sellers on hand on this weekend. I will be going myself this weekend and i might pick up another orchid. While nothing but spring will cure my winter blacks, a building full of orchids will certainly make the wait for spring much easier. I will report back on what I see.