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How to Choose and Care for an Orchid

Updated on November 4, 2021
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna loves helping others take care of plants, both indoors and out. She wrote an orchid care booklet—a companion piece for workshops.


Perfect Gift for Mothers

The florists are known for creating idea flower arrangements for anyone's mom. Sons and daughters purchasing flowers from their moms is a common practice.

Florists tend to use cut flowers, and one thing about cut flowers is they don't last as long as a living, blooming plant like an orchid. If the conditions are favorable, cut flowers, like roses, last about a week. It requires changing the water and keeping its temperature moderately warm. A bunch of cut flowers usually comes with a small packet of fresh flower food. The food keeps the flowers looking fresh.

Orchids for Mom

Try breaking away from the traditional cut flowers as a gift for your mom. A fresh flower bouquet is beautiful and brightens her day.

Instead, ask the florist if there are any orchids available. Treat your mom to a dynamic and unusual orchid.

Take your time, be selective, making sure the orchid for your mom is perfect. Your mom will be able to enjoy the flower all year round, with no more care than an ordinary houseplant.

The orchid needs to look vibrant and fresh. If there are any unopened flowers on the plant, that is the orchid to get for your mom. Ask the florist how often new shipments of orchids come into the shop. Get an idea of the flower's time in the shop. If it just arrived, then the plant is fresh and without any disease. If it's been there for a week or two, then find a fresher one, or go somewhere else to buy an orchid.

Be choosy because you want the best for your mom.

"I also like to garden.

I grow things, vegetables, flowers...

I particularly like orchids.

I raise orchids."

— Actor Beau Bridges

Orchids Types

Try to recognize a few varieties of fresh orchids before you venture to the store. There are over 50,000 species of orchids around the world. Did you know they grow from southern Australia to Alaska?

Locating a store that carries living orchids for gifts is not be that hard because most major nurseries or specialized house plant stores have wide varieties of fresh orchids. Even warehouse stores like Costco carry orchids. Though, they sell common varieties like moth orchids, cymbidium orchids, and dendrobium orchids and make an ideal gift because they are hardy.

Giving a common variety of orchid flowers as a gift is not a bad idea because they are not expensive, and finding information on how to care for them is easy.

Beautiful Flowers

If your intended has a green thumb, visit a nursery or indoor plant store showroom and view the unusual orchids. You are bound to find the ideal orchid as a perfect gift.

There are many unique varieties of orchids, such as the Phragmipedium or Grammatophyllum -- among the most beautiful flowers on earth. Each plant is so distinct and lovely. Anyone would feel honored to receive such an exquisite gift.

“I had come to love the space, and I could see why Lady Anna had too. The orchids were positively glorious. She'd tagged each flower with its proper botanical name, but I favored the pet names she'd given each bloom. For instance, a stunning pink 'Cattleya' was named "Lady Catalina." And a yellow 'Oncidium,' which to me looked like a flock of ladies in fluffy party dresses, was called "Lady Aralia of the Bayou.”

— Sarah Jio, The Last Camellia
Phragmipedium | Source

Air Plant Care

Don't worry about your intended not being able to care for their orchid. It's a rewarding, uncomplicated plant to grow and doesn't even need soil. Most orchids live as air plants. The orchid plants attach themselves to trees, rocks, or pebbles, so they grow.
There are plenty of exotic varieties that don't require special conditions or greenhouses. Check with the professional staff at a nursery or indoor plant store to ensure the orchid flower will survive in its new environment.

Gardeners, from novice to expert, grow orchids. It's much like cultivating a typical flowering houseplant. You follow these tips:

  • The orchid needs water and fertilizer on occasion.
  • The orchid flower needs to be away from any drafts from heating and cooling vents.
  • Make sure air circulates well around it to grow healthy.
  • Leave a small bowl of water near the plant on occasion.

If the orchid appears not to be doing well, ask your nursery or houseplant expert what the plant needs to feel better.

How to Care for Orchids Book

You can buy an orchid care book with the orchid as a gift. The Orchid Whisperer: Expert Secrets for Growing Beautiful Orchids by Bruce Rogers offers all kinds of help for orchid growers. Rogers has cared for orchids since the 1970s, and he started his own orchid growing company in the 1980s. He still lectures and stays involved with the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. He is the Ambassador for the San Francisco Orchid Society.

I refer to his book as needed. It is helpful and offers more than enough information on the care of orchids.

Attend a Workshop

Attending an orchid workshop is an addition to your orchid gift, so both of you can go to the class. Many local orchid societies offer orchid workshops because it is their contribution to the community. They know the importance of educating people on the spender of growing orchids.

At the workshop, you learn the basics of orchid care. The society-sponsored orchid workshops are usually free or need a small fee. They are trendy and might require you to buy an orchid from the organization to attend.

If you plan to attend, make sure you reserve your spaces right away because they usually sell out. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your mom or a friend.

Adventure Time

I hope you gift an orchid to someone special in your life because it will be an adventure for them. They are remarkable plants designed by nature in the most beautifully balanced poise.

© 2018 Kenna McHugh


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