Orchid (miltroniopsis) - Symbol of Love, Luxury and Beauty

The history of orchids is fascinating and it dates back to the Greek civilization and the name comes from “orkhis” which means testicle because of plants tuberous roots. Greek women believed they could control the sex of their unborn child with orchid roots.  They believed if the fathers consumed the roots, the child would be male and if the mother consumed the roots, the child would be female.  Orchids have long been a symbol of love, royalty, luxury, and beauty. They were considered an aphrodisiac during the Middle Ages and were also used as a remedy for several illnesses.  Also, orchids were used in certain love potions.

Source

Orchids in England - 1800s

During the 18th century orchid gardening and care of orchids became popular.  They were considered a flower for the wealthy and were first studied by Sir William Cattley, an English horticulturist. This genus includes 113 species of orchids gathered from Mexico, Costa Rica to South America. Sir Cattley showed the flowers to John Lindley, a famous botanist, who actually named this beautiful orchid as the Cattleya orchid.

Cattley A Labiata
Cattley A Labiata | Source
Source

Orchids in the US mid 1800s

In the United States orchids were first grown in Boston about 1838, in a small greenhouse by James Bott. When Mr. Bott died in 1842 he bequeathed his orchid collection to John Amory Lowell who built a larger green house and imported more specimens. While you might think at this point orchids flourished and became popular, that isn’t what happened. Mr. Lowell leased his property and the orchids were neglected by the tenants. Edward Rand ended up buying what was left and built his own green house. He was very enthusiastic and by 1856, he had the largest collection in the country. The orchids were ultimately donated to Harvard College and then to greenhouses at Cambridge Botanical Garden. Orchids continued to become more popular and interest grew around the country. By 1850, there were 400 specimens and orchids were being imported from Mexico and South America.

In the late nineteenth century orchids were being harvested in Europe without consideration of preserving the species and whole areas were devastated, especially in England. The exception was France as they were importing orchids by 1840, and were successful in their attempt to acquire and preserve an excellent collection.

Orchid Selection

source gardening savvy
source gardening savvy | Source

Aztecs - Vanilla Orchid

The Aztecs of Mexico believed the famous vanilla orchid represented strength. They drank a potion made using vanilla orchids for strength,

There have been so many advances in methods to reproduce orchids today; there are 110,000 different hybrids included in 25 to 30 thousand known species. This hubs discussion will be limited to the more well-known varieties. Orchids are the largest family of flowers in the world which is primarily due to their adaptability. Regardless, most harvesting of wild orchids is banned today.

The majority of orchid species are Epiphytes, and they grow on trees.  Other species grow around or on rocks forest floors and some grow in soil.  Most orchids have a pseudobulb which store water. Orchids are a favorite house plant today due to their exquisite beauty. 

Cattley A Purpurata
Cattley A Purpurata | Source

One of the more common types of orchid grown in the home are the Cattleyas.

Cattleyas are divided into two groups according to the number of leaves arising from the pseudo bulbs. They require a lot of light, even if you have to resort to artificial lighting and they grow better in warmer temperatures.  Cattleya orchids are the benchmark of orchids due to their popularity since the late 1800’s. As Epiphytes they like their potting material to dry out between watering, and they can even be mounted on a slab of wood or in a tree if you live in a humid climate. They come in a beautiful variety of colors.

Caring for Different Types of Orchids : Caring for Mini Cattleya Orchids

Phalaenopsis
Phalaenopsis | Source

Most Popular Orchid

Phalaenopsis (also called the moth orchid) are the most popular type of orchid as they have large, colorful long lasting blooms. They bloom twice a year, but their blooms may last for two or three months. They require medium light and like warmth during the day and cooler nights. They thrive well if they are kept slightly moist all the time. You can often buy them at a grocery store, and they are white or a pink-purple variety. In nature they grow on trees in a constantly wet environment.

Phalenopsis Orchids

Lady Slipper

Lady Slipper
Lady Slipper | Source

Paphiopedilum - Lady Slipper

Paphiopedilum are known as the lady slipper orchid. They are relatively easy to grown.  For the best results these flowers need to have their potting medium changed annually and every six months is even better.  The key to growing this species is allowing them to have a good root system. They need to be watered twice weekly and they thrive in a sunny window and it is important to avoid cold or warm drafts, such as vent heat.

Cymbdium
Cymbdium | Source

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidiums have been making a much-deserved comeback in recent years, probably due to the newer varieties being smaller and more easily managed than older varieties. They can be moved outdoors in the summertime as long as they receive about 50% shade. They due well with copious pure water in the summer as salts in tap water can damage the plant.  Reduce water in winter months but don’t let the plant dry out. Cymbidiums are semi-terrestrial orchids. Grow them in loamy humus, so the thin roots are in the mixture.

Dendrobium
Dendrobium | Source

Two other varieties which are bit more difficult to grown indoors, yet commonly done, are Dendronian and Miltroniopsis.

Dendrobium has approximately 100 different species. They are prolific and diverse in size and shape. These are also epiphytes or air plants and in nature they grow on trees, on bare rocks at various elevations and great extremes in temperatures. They have well developed “canes” which are water storage organs and are an upright, leafy plant. There are several varieties available but typically they need good light with at least 50% sun and they thrive with hot day time temperatures, with a 20 degree drop at night, as temperatures that are too cool will cause leaf drop. They need even moisture during growth periods, and then let them dry out between watering after growth periods.

Dendrobium Orchids

Miltonorchds
Miltonorchds | Source

Miltroniopsis - the Pansy Orchid

Miltroniopsis (also know as the pansy orchid) are brightly colored, fragrant flowers that come in a multitude of colors. Good growing medium for these plants is shredded redwood bark, coconut fiber, Fir bark and sphagnum moss. Keep them moist but not wet. In the winter give them as much light as possible but in the summer keep them in about 60% shade. 

Stinky

Bulbophallum
Bulbophallum | Source

Orchid Trivia

Orchids come in a variety of colors but a white orchid symbolizes innocence and grace, therefore giving a while orchid shows your love is sincere and pure.

There is the Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis which smells like rotting meat.  This smell attracts a particular type of fly needed for pollination.  In the New York International Orchid Show in 2005, a 6 foot tall orchid of this variety won the Best in the show.  Its name was “Stinky.”

Orchids are a symbol of beautiful perfection due to the symmetry or the flowers and stems. According to Christian theology the spots on orchids are believed to represent the blood of Christ, therefore, you will often see them in Easter and Christmas flower arrangements. 

In Conclusion

Orchids are the most beautiful plant in the world; growing on all continents except Antarctica.  I remember my boyfriend giving me an orchid corsage for my graduation prom, and I was thrilled.  The varieties of orchids are numerous with a lovely selection of color and style.  Many orchids are easy to grow, so these plants are no longer just for the rich or those with the green thumb. If you enjoy having plants in your home and haven’t tried growing orchids, pick one of the varieties listed above that are easier to grow, and I imagine you will be pleased with the results.

Comments 54 comments

DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

We have several varieties of dendrobiums, phalaenopsis and cattleyas. Most of them do well most of the time. Every once in a while we lose one; but, all in all they are carefree and nice to have around, Pamela.


Partisan Patriot 5 years ago

Pamela

I heard in Kenya they believe eating Orchids makes one become a great Teller of Tales; a Spinner of Yarns; in plain old English, a Good Liar! Barracks mom must have consumed a steady diet of the plant!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Diamond, They really are lovely flowers and so many of the varieties are now a lot easier to care for compared to years ago. Thanks so much for sharing your comments.

Patriot, I know that they are consumed in many cultures and a teller of tales may be true. Thanks for sharing your comments.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

Great hub, Pamela. My uncle is a huge orchid lover, and I used to spend a lot of time in his orchid greenhouse when I was a child. Sometimes he would talk to them like they were his pets. So goofy.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Om Parapooyna, Maybe your uncle knew what he was doing as I've heard plants respond to music. I appreciate you sharing your comments.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Pamela, I have always loved orchids. They are so rich and luxurious lookings. How interesting that they used to think that eating the roots would determine the sex of a baby. Your pictures are beautiful.


shygirl2 5 years ago

Have you ever read the story 'The Black Orchid'? I wonder if there really is such a thing? Great hub...so how do you ever keep up with all their names...beautiful flowers though! :D


Steph Harris profile image

Steph Harris 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Thank you for writing this hub, my silly husband keeps buying me orchid plants for Valentine's Day. Hopefully, with the help of this hub, I will be able to keep this one alive, I managed to kill the last two he bought me.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

KKGals, I have always loved orchids also. Thank you so much for all your comments.

shygirl, I did read that book many years ago and I do know there are black orchids bur I never thought about putting one on my page. That would have been a good idea. Thanks for your comments.

Steph, There is quite a lot of information on the internet but from what I have heard most people tend to over water them. Good luck with the next one and thanks for your comments.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Orchids are beautiful and I never realized before reading your fact-filled hub how orchid-challenged I was. Thanks for contributing to my orchid knowledge a thousand-fold, Pamela.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

drbj, I am so glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for your comments.


capncrunch profile image

capncrunch 5 years ago from New Orleans

Hello Pamela,

Thanks for sharing! Orchids are beautiful and unique. Everyone seems to like orchids. This is a well-rounded Hub and filled with fun facts and I like the history you described about this beauty!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

capcrunch, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Orchids are beautiful plants. I have never tried growing one however. My mother-in-law's favorite was the cymbidium when it came to corsages. There are so many beautiful varieties today! Beautiful hub and voting it that and up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, I got my first one as a gift about 2 years ago and so far it has done well and it has been easy to care for. Thanks for sharing your comments.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I am glad we don't have to be calling these beautiful plants testicles. Can you imagine us going around talking about how beautiful your testicles are and how much I love testicles?

On a serious note, I love this hub, I love orchids. Very informative and awesome hub. Vote up!

Cardisa


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Exquisite aren't they? They do tend to be a bit harder to grow though. Thanks for sharing Pamela.

The Frog


ColibriPhoto profile image

ColibriPhoto 5 years ago from Quito, Ecuador

Great article. We have over 4000 species of orchids here and you can't turn around without seeing their beauty. Thanks for the hub.


mdlawyer profile image

mdlawyer 5 years ago

Great, Pamela. Orchids, orchids. Very informative and entertaining presentation. Thanks for the share.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Cardisa, I like your sense of humor. Thanks so much for your comments.

Frog Prince, The are exquisite and I appreciate your comments.

ColibriPhoto, Over 4000 species is impressive to say the least. Thank you for your comments.

mdlawyer, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 5 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Hi excellent hub showing off these beautiful flowers with superb pics, they are one of myy favourite flowers even the wild species are impressive. The work you have put into this hub is admirable. Thank you for sharing.


Russell-D profile image

Russell-D 5 years ago from Southern Ca.

Pamela -- Google the Orchard park in Singapore; they have many varieties we know nothing about. A walk thru blew our minds and the odors where spell-binding. Did you know that Singapore is one of the largest suppliers of Orchards in the world, flown everywhere on Singapore Airlines. David Russell


quildon profile image

quildon 5 years ago from Florida

I just love orchids but I tend to over-water from what I just read. Thanks for the very helpful information.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

I did think they were temperamental, I had no idea about their long blooming season, nor about the miniatures. Maybe I'll try orchids yet!

Thanks for an informative hub. Enjoyed the vids.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

D.A.L., I agree that all orchids are impressive. Thanks so much for your comments.

Russell-D, I knew many orchids came from southern Asia but I did not know specifically about Singapore. I would love to visit there. I appreciate your comments.

quildon, The, better luck with the next one. Thank you for your comments.

RTalloni, Some varieties take very little care but others are temperamental. Thanks for your comments.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

I agree with you--orchids are the most beautiful flowers. I love them since I grew up with them--some grow wild on tree trunks and my backyard has a few of those. We grow them in pots filled with chunks of charcoal and bricks and some, we grew them in coconut husks. Great hub and totally informative. Rated up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Anginwu, It is nice that you grew up with these beauties all around. Thank you for your comments.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, they are very beautiful, I remember one of my friends neighbours used to grow them, I believe they do need a lot of care and attention, but are well worth the effort, lovely hub, cheers nell


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

This is such a comprehensive yet beautiful article, Pamela... the pictures are gorgeous... I will be sharing with my husband who has a "green thumb" with orchids, thank you so much...

Voted UP, USEFUL, AWESOME & BEAUTIFUL...!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Hi Pamela,

I love this one and I am pushing all the buttons.

We only have a small patio out the back but we have so many shrubs, vegetables, flowers growing in tubs and thriving.

This one was a gem and I rate up.

Take care

Eiddwen.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Orchids are magnificent. Sadly, I don't have the patience to grow them, but I can still appreciate their beauty.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Nell Rose, Thank you so much for your comment.

marcoujor, I image you husband is quite knowledgeable about orchids in that case. I appreciate your comments.

Eiddwen, I'm glad you enjoyed this hub and I appreciate your comments.

POP, Thanks for your comments.


Cassidella profile image

Cassidella 5 years ago

Orchids are stunning in their beauty for sure. Generally, I think people do believe they are too fussy to care for but, after learning from your hub that the pretty phalaenopsis variety can live up to 30 years, it makes me think they might be worth a shot. Thanks for sharing Pamela!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Cassidella, I think they are worth a shot if you choose one of the easier to grow species. Thank you for your comments.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Beautiful info, Pamela and a great flower. They are "too" beautiful for me as I'm a daisy kinda girl but my sister has grown them for years. Lovely things they are!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Audry, Thanks so much for your comments.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 5 years ago from Michigan

Did not know there are thousands of varieties. They are very pretty flowers and seem easy to maintain. v/r


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, I learned a lot when I was researching orchids for this hub as I think they are such a beautiful flower. Thanks so much for your comments.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

An excellent hub about the most beautiful flower.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Hello, Thank you so much for your comment.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Beautiful and so much info about it that I did not know. Cool! RAted up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Denise, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.


Miss Lil' Atlanta profile image

Miss Lil' Atlanta 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Pamela99,

Oh I love these flowers; Orchids are by far one of my favorite types of flowers. I had no idea that there where so many different types though. That's amazing.

I was actually going to buy some Orchids to put in my front yard the other day, but I ended up just buying a few flowers in hanging baskets for in front of my house.

Now that I think about it though, I still kind of wish I would have gone with the Orchids. On the bright side though, I guess since I had no idea that it was possible to even have so many species of Orchids, maybe this year I can review some of the different Orchid species so that I'll know exactly what types of flowers I want to plant in my yard next year. :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Miss Lil Atlanta, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I'm not sure the orchids would survive the winter in Atlanta but you could but them is attractive pots and bring them inside when the weather gets too cold. I'm glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for your comments.


John B Badd profile image

John B Badd 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Very nice Hub Pamela. Orchids are one of the coolest looking flowers around. I worked in a garden center for a while and I always enjoyed seeing the different varieties come in. I like the speckled kind myself like the Paphiopedilum in your picture.

I will try to grow eventually. This years garden follies have me a little horticulture impaired, (I blame the heat but it was lack of attention that did the damage to my tomatoes ;)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

John, I just have one orchid right now but plan to get another fairly soon. I wanted to see how it survived and I've had it over a year now, so I am more confident. Thanks for your comments.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Great hub, Pamela. So much detail about these breathtaking flowers. Was your corsage cymbidiums? That's what I got for our prom our senior year...I had a yellow gown and the cymbidiums were very much like the one pictured. My goal this year is to have one or two orchids. I have never been courageous enough to try to mother them but think it is time to take the plunge. Voted up++++and pinned. Sending you Angels this middle of the night time :) ps


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Patricia, I did have an orchid corsage for my prom, but that was so many decades ago that I don't remember what type of orchid it was. It was beautiful though. I have two orchid plants, and so far they are doing fine. I think you should take the plunge. I put 3 ice cubes on the plants once a week and that seems to be the right about of moisture. Thanks so much for your comments. Love the angels and I'm sending some back to you this morning to start your day.


Karen Ellis profile image

Karen Ellis 3 years ago from Central Oregon

Don't forget to talk to your orchid plants. Send them love and light. Especially thank them for the calm beauty they bring into your home.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Karen, I talk to all of of my plants, but maybe orchids need a bit more love. Thank you for your suggestions.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Orchid (miltroniopsis) - Symbol of Love, Luxury and Beauty a lovely flower you have a special way with plants. The photos are awesome, Orchids are such unique plants


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

DDE, Thank you for your comments. I love orchids.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

My, what a great and beautiful collection of orchids. I love the vanilla one. Veery interesting background information.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Rebecca, I have always thought orchids were so beautiful. I'm glad you enjoed the hub and appreciate your comments.

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