Orchid love – indoors and out

Mon. Oct. 29, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Orchid love – indoors and out

When I say orchid, what’s your first thought?  Most likely it’s those gorgeous delicates you see on sale everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations, and, of course, in local flower shops.

My anniversary orchid!

However, there are some natives too!  Yes, natives in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  In fact, the Showy Lady’s Slipper is Minnesota’s State Flower. Found living in open fens, bogs, swamps, and damp woods where there is an abundance of natural light, the showy Lady’s-Slipper is one of 43 orchid species that grow in Minnesota. The feminine-looking orchid grows slowly, taking up to 16 years to produce the first flowers! Blooming in late June or early July, the plants may live, on average, about 50 years and can grow to be over four feet tall.

Showy Lady’s Slipper orchid – MN  and WI native
Orchid – ‘Fairy Slipper’ MN native photo by DNR
Orchid – ‘Northern small yellow lady’s slipper’ MN and WI native photo by DNR

As for Wisconsin, Representatives from 18 genera can be found.  Both of the above Lady’s Slippers are native to Wisconsin as well.  The ‘Ram’s Head Lady’s Slipper’ grows in damp and dry soils:

Orchid ‘Ram’s head Lady’s Slipper’ WI native

Grass pinks are pretty and tough…  further information at Illinois Wildfowers

Orchid ‘Grass pink’ photo by Illinois wildflowers

But we’re headed indoors now, so phalaenopsis is the orchid MOST of us think of and the ones found in those grocery stores and gas stations!

For my money, I go to the local shops first.  For one thing, they know their product, so if you have questions or issues, they’re prepared to talk to you.  For another, they’ll pay more attention to their plants, giving them the care they need before moving to your home!

Orchid – Phalaenopsis at MN Landscape Arboretum
Orchid – Phalaenopsis at MN Landscape Arboretum

Think about where these guys are grown when you think about the indoor orchids need.  The American Orchid Society says Phalaenopsis are ‘low’ light orchids, that’s why they’re one of the most popular. They grow beautifully in an east window and can be grown in a south or west window if protected by a sheer curtain. A phal’s leaves should be olive green. If they are darker it means the plant is not getting enough light; red tinged leaves mean the plant is getting too much light.

There are numerous choices of orchids – talk with your local flower shop and see what they have to offer and what conditions may be suit your home!  More reading and viewing pleasure:

Types of Orchids – everythingorchids.com

Phalaenopsis Orchid – Rocket Farms

Orchid phaleanopsis from Rocket Farms