Orchids grow on trees.
In the mid 1700s orchids arrived from tropical areas around the world to find a new home in England and France. Thus began the European gardener’s fascination with cultivating this exotic flower. It would not be long before the orchid also arrived in America.
A few days ago I attended the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a trade show for the green industry. The show included over 400 growers, many from southern Florida, with about 16,000 attendees who were mainly garden center owners in search of plants.
Chris Beyter, from Ball Horticultural in Illinois, said, “Tropicals are popular today, especially orchids and succulents.”
It was thus no surprise that I saw many orchid varieties, including Jay Marrero’s, from Florida orchid grower Silver Vase. He told me, ”We are creating a demand for orchids.”
If cared for correctly, the orchid flowers will bloom for three to five months.
The day before the Show a garden tour bus took us to a Miami garden where I saw an orchid growing on a tree in the front yard of a home. [below] I couldn’t believe it. It was a beautiful sight.
Orchids do not grow in soil but prefer a growing medium like Leca, a clay material in the shape of small brown colored balls that look almost like marbles.
Unfortunately, many people over water an orchid, the major problem in growing the plant.
In the wild you find the orchid growing between rocks and on tree trunks – vertically.
Victoria Zemlan in her article “By Hook by Crook: The Plunder of Orchids for the New World” says “Now, we can buy inexpensive orchids in almost any nursery, home improvement center, or grocery store, but 19th century orchids were an extravagance reserved for the nobility.”
This flower provided many hours of pleasure to gardeners in nineteenth century America who could afford both the greenhouse and a garden staff to tend to them.
But now any gardener can grow them. Zemlan says, “Orchids haven’t lost their allure — Americans now spend more on orchids each year than on any other houseplant.”