Guest Author - Susan Taylor
Mother's Day is coming up and what better gift to get her than an orchid? Orchids are one of the best gifts to give because of their allure and mystique. Their distinctive color, shape and history have made them a gift that will be received with awe. One of the most common comments I've heard is "I've always wanted to grow an orchid…" Why don't you give your mother one so she can try?
Orchids are in fact one of the best buys you can make for any holiday, especially if you pick a Phalaenopsis. These lovely orchids come in an amazing rainbow of colors for almost any décor and often will bloom for up to six months depending upon the variety and parentage. What other kind of blooming plant will do that for you? No cut flowers will do that; other blooming plants only last for a couple of weeks. Phals will provide a lasting display that will please and provide enjoyment for a long while. They are one of the staples used in flower arrangements in hotels and other areas where floral arrangements are part of the décor.
Another favorite is the Cymbidium especially in the northwestern United States where they can be grown outside year round and will bloom consistently year after year. They provide wonderful flowers on larger plants for an eye-catching display. Cymbidiums need cooler temperatures than most other orchids which is why they do well in the northwest; new warm growing varieties are available for southern growers.
For sheer number of flowers and delightful fragrance, the Oncidiums take the prize. One of the most popular is Sharry Baby which has a chocolate fragrance and can have hundreds of tiny blooms at one time.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, orchids have become the second most popular plant in the country after poinsettias. Their popularity has grown as the availability has increased and the price has fallen as a result of improved cultural practices. You can find them at most nurseries, hardware stores with indoor plants, and general purpose stores that also have indoor plants. Take a look and see where near you they are available.
There are also many, many reputable vendors selling and delivering orchids. I'll include a listing at the end of this article of vendors I've done business with who provide quality plants. If you're not sure what to get, talk to the vendor, describe what part of the country and the conditions that the plant will be living in. They will be able to help you decide on the perfect gift -- to bloom now and hopefully for many years to come.
Here's the listing of vendors I've personally used and recommend:
Carter and Holmes
First Ray’s Orchids
Oak Hill Farm
Parkside Orchids Nursery
Quarter Acre Orchids