Guest Author - Susan Taylor
If youíre looking for an ideal gift for Motherís Day, give an orchid. The mystique behind the orchid has been around for years and they are a symbol of beauty, extravagance and special attention. Current trends in breeding and growing have finally made the orchid a plant that can be afforded by most for special occasions. And the best thing, if you choose something like a Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid, is that the plant will flower for up to six months!
The orchid I recommend would be a Phalaenopsis. This is because they bloom for a long period of time as well as the wide range of color choices available. There are varieties in pure white, white with colored lips (usually red or pink), and blushes. Then the tints move through the pinks to purples and reds. There are new varieties in yellows and golds as well as some that have dark veining on a yellow background Ė one of the best of these is Baldenís Kaleidoscope. And the most popular breeding at the moment is the harlequin Ė dark spots on the various background colors. It is possible to find a Phal to match almost any dťcor!
To pick out the perfect Phal, check the leaves to make sure that they are a nice medium green and not droopy. The texture of the leaves should be smooth and held out nicely from the center. Try to choose a plant that has one flower open on the inflorescence (stem) so that you know exactly what it will look like but will leave all the rest of the buds still to open. The buds should be plump with no sign of withering.
The best place to order is with an established orchid vendor, either local or on line. One of my favorite vendors for Phals is Normanís Orchids as well as our sweepstakes sponsor 1888 Orchids.
Many box stores are now selling plants and orchids have become the second most popular plant in the United States after the Poinsettia. If you do buy from them, be careful that the plant is in good condition and has not been over watered. Before giving it to your mother, remove it from its decorative outer cover and make sure that it is not sitting in water. If so, pour out any extra and allow the plant to completely drain extra water and then replace it in its container so it looks pretty.
Phals should be watered about once a week indoors. Remove the plant from the container, place it in a sink and run water through the pot until it comes out the bottom. Allow to finish draining and then put back in its container. Do not use water that has been through a water softener since that will kill your plant.