Orchid flower guide: A few weeks ago, I was lucky to get a sneak peak at my local Orchid Fair and chat to one of the growers of these magnificent blooms. He had orchids on display of all shapes, colours, sizes and varieties including Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Vanda, Singapore, Cymbidium to name a few. I know what you’re thinking, Cattle – what? something nopsis? It sounds like I’m talking another language, so to help let me show you some of my favourite orchid flower photos and explain a bit about each orchid variety.
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This beautiful orchid is known for it’s large (up to 15cm), showy blooms. The typical flower has five usually broader petals and one quite different frilly mouth, featuring various markings and specks. I think the Cattleya’s trumpet shape looks a bit like a daffodil. It is mainly sold as a plant. The cut flowers are only used as speciality wedding bouquets blooms. They are available in all the colors of the rainbow with only true blue and black being the exceptions.
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This orchid would have to be my all time favourite. There is nothing more classic, more elegant than the Phalaenopsis orchid, particularly in white. Hence the name of my wedding floral design business. Like the Cattleya it can be used as a speciality cut flower for weddings, cared for and cut off the stem at the last minute, wired and carefully added into a bridal bouquet.
They are commonly referred to as moth orchids because of their broad-winged petals but I think they look more like beautiful butterflies. The colour range again is extensive and captivating. The blooms can be quite large to miniature thanks to the mini orchid plants available also.
Vanda orchids are a fantastic and popular cut flower. Due mainly to the array of beautiful colours available and the fact they are very long-lasting cut flowers. Each single flower stem has numerous blooms, in flower arranging these stems can be use as a whole feature flower or the blooms can be wired a placed individually throughout a design. While Vanda orchids can grow well in the northeastern parts of Australia where it is warm and humid they are mainly imported from Thailand and Singapore.
Singapore orchids also known as Dendrobium orchids would have the most extensive range of colours available. They are also the most common orchids with the flower markets usually having rows and rows of Singapore orchids in lined up. They petal shape differs, some have thinner petals and other quite round.
They are loved by florists because like all orchids they are long lasting, their flower stem size is great for use in many floral designs and with all the variety in colours they can be match to so many different applications, bright and bold orange or yellow for a corporate arrangement or individual soft pink blooms wired for a wedding bouquet. My favourite would have to be the classic white Singapore orchids. I have used these for many weddings, once over 3000 stems en masse hanging from large scale installations!
The Cymbidium orchid, has a large flower spike and large blooms like the Phalenopisis orchid. They are generally available in Australia in winter and spring. These orchids can be grown in the garden as plants that have long strap-like green leaves similar to an Agapanthus plant. They are a great plant for those without much of a green thumb too as they are very tough and drought tolerant.
What I love most about these orchids is they come in the most gorgeous deep rich colour tones of burgundy, chocolate, oranges, yellows, even a lime green through to pretty pinks and whites.
Probably one of the most unique looking of all the orchids, is the slipper orchid, named for it’s large slipper-shaped lip. What I love most about these orchids are the intricate markings and beautiful colour palettes, my favourites being the white, green and mauve.
These are a speciality bloom, rarely found at the weekly flower markets and ordered in for special occasions such as weddings or events. So if you are after one of these exquisite blooms, make sure to place your order in advance!
Dancing Lady Orchid
These orchids are rather unique as they are quite small delicate little blooms on a long flower stem. Also unlike all the other orchids we have talked about, they only come in a few colours, with yellow and brown being the most readily available as a cut flower. I love yellow but oh, how I have wished to see this flower available in other colour tones! It is a fantastic flower to group en mass, a bunch or two of these in a simple clear cylinder vase makes a simple yet striking floral arrangement.
So while garden posies and arrangements filled with pretty soft petals are on trend at the moment, don’t forget the unique, long-lasting and divine orchid. With so many varieties and colours to choose from, there is sure to be one that suits your personality and style and I’m sure you will love them as much as I do!