These fashionable orchids come with an impressive pedigree.
Orchids are like those Brazilian supermodels you can’t help but gaze at with awe and envy. They turn heads with their leggy stems that end in a beautiful, distinctive flower. They are strong, delicate and as exotic as a foreign-speaking enchantress, adding drama to a variety of settings.
Orchids are commonly regarded as the trademark plant in a fashion editrix’s office, the no-fail gift given to a Hampton hostess or corsage liberated from a plastic salad container and pinned to a taffeta dress. However, their lineage is as impressive as the House of Windsor, dating as far back as the 5th century B.C. When Confucius preached his wisdoms, he compared a room fragrant with orchids to the sensation of seeing good friends.
In medieval Europe, the flowers took on a more romantic context, as they were considered to have aphrodisiac powers in their subliminally sexual Georgia O’Keeffe shapes. Thus, herbalists used the dried tubers to make love potions.
Not just the centerpiece in an acoustically exquisite loft styled with Bauhaus furniture and dwellers in deconstructed clothing, today orchids add understated elegance to any style of home with their simplistic beauty. In a light-infused corner, a gathering of orchids has the festive feel of a group of dancers. They pacify a manic space, such as a bookcase or bar trolley littered with bottles. A red orchid aside a painting that plays off its color will steady a roaming eye. Orchids planted in containers with unexpected colors will perk up a light space, while a single orchid will be the featured star in the center of a mantel. They even thrive in a bathroom vignette. Finding a setting is only difficult in that there are many places to feature your plant; you may just have to buy more than one.
The harvesting of orchids found in the wild is now banned due to their endangerment. Though orchids such as the Phalaenopsis (or Moth), Cymbidium and Dendrobium can be purchased anywhere from Lowe’s to Trader Joe’s.
Marc Clark of Rocket Farms, a superior-quality orchid farm on California’s central coast, offers the following tips when selecting your plant:
• Bloom count, plant and flower size, and color are all important factors to consider in caring for your plant. Phalaenopsis are the easiest to keep and longest-lasting, at up to three months.
• Oncidiums tend to be complex and delicate, while Dendrobiums are known for being moderately priced with lots of flowers. It is best to buy with two to three flowers open.
• The living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom are all suitable environments for orchids, though they can be “diva-ish,” as they prefer to be left alone and do not thrive in a drafty area. They like stability and not a lot of air movement.
• Keep out of direct sunlight and drafty spaces. If planted in moss, water only once every 15 to 20 days. If set in bark, every three to four days. It is most important to water sparingly, otherwise the plant drops leaves and flowers.
For more information on orchids, contact Rocket Farms. (877) 237-7575 or rocketfarms.com.
Written and styled by Jacqueline deMontravel
Photography by Jaimee Itagaki