Guest Author - Susan Taylor
There has recently been a lot of breeding to produce blooms which are referred to as "Art Shade" in the orchid industry. Generally speaking, art shades are defined as colors from gold, peach, bronze, and reddish orange and many combinations including striping. The most commonly found orchids which are now finding their way to consumers are Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium and Cattleya Alliance hybrids. In the Phal family, the colors most common to find are pinks, yellows, golds, and peaches with many mixed colors and striping. Dendrobiums are found in all ranges including true chartreuse. Catts are now being bred in many of these colors and recently combinations of colors especially contrasting lips.
I could only find one link to show you some of the colors that are being produced and that is Pine Ridge Orchids which has a section on art shade Phals. I am not acquainted with the nursery itself, but the photography is very good. These type of plants are bred to be easy to grow and are generally smaller in size than many of the larger standard Phals. An excellent source for Phals of all colors is Orchids.com one of my recommended vendors. One of the most well known Phals in yellow and reds is Baldan's Kaleidoscope. This is a standard size Phal which puts on multiple spikes and in mature plants can be multifloral (side branched).
Cattleya Alliance breeding for art shades has been one of the newest areas and there are a number of exciting new varieties available. One of my favorites is the Sc. Crystelle Smith varieties. Different named ones will come in different colors. They are all good for growing indoors and are compact in size so they don't take up much space. A good source for small plants in these wonderful colors is Gold Country Orchids in California. The breeding on their plants has produced more warm growing plants than Crystelle Smith which needs temperatures only in the 80 degree range to grow well.
Most of the Dendrobiums being bred in art shades are destined for the cut flower trade, but many vendors now are stocking some of them as their popularity increases. Orchids.com, noted above, also has some very nice ones. They are available in all sizes from the large standards down to the delicate miniatures. There are a number of Nobile Dendrobiums also which have a dark center with peach and pink flowers.
Consider adding some of these enjoyable flowers to your collection for good color!