When There Is Snow There Are Orchids
by Larry Desiano, orchid enthusiast and member of Deep Cut Orchid Society, New Jersey
Why consider growing orchids in the Northeast?
The obvious reason is their showy floral display. Another is that most people don’t have them. Orchids are rarely seen in anyone’s home, and if someone has one on display it will surely be noticed and complemented. Orchids add flare and an exotic touch to anyone's home.
Then there is the challenge of accomplishing what some believe to be difficult. Orchids have their own mysterious requirements but, like people, they are not difficult to maintain once you understand them. Their unique aspects make them ideal for any gardener in the Northeast such as their long lasting flowers.
Bloom season, sometimes lasting for months, for most orchids is late fall through spring with a floriferous burst just when the winter doldrums set in. A house full of blooming orchids when there is snow on the ground is just the panacea.
During the growing season, place them outdoors where maintenance is low. They only require water and food like other garden plants. Tend to them along with the rest of your garden.
About 30,000 species of wild orchids exist worldwide and hundreds of thousands of cultivars offering a plethora of sizes, shapes, colors, fragrance and culture. It is hard not to find an orchid that would appeal to your own personal taste.
Hybridizing of many orchids has gone in the direction of creating crosses that produce large flowers on small plants to accommodate apartment living, and plants that bloom multiple times a year. Some even produce blooms year round, creating a spectacle of color and enjoyment.
Orchids have been relatively expensive because it takes upward of seven years for an orchid to produce its first flower. Orchids also require a lab to cultivate them from seed or tissue cloning.
Fortunately, over the last decade, many orchids have become much easier and less expensive to reproduce, especial in Southeast Asia and Hawaii, making many of them affordable and accessible. Today, you can find them at most garden centers, home decorating centers, and even grocery stores.
A smattering of orchid growers throughout the Northeast and numerous orchid clubs are great source of locally-grown plants and information.
Deep Cut Orchid Society in Holmdel, NJ, a friendly group of obsessed orchid lovers, invites you to experience an arresting assortment of orchids in all their splendor at their winter show – sure to delight and inspire.
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published January 22, 2010