It was one of those emails I live for…Orchids Half Off! Today Only (Wednesday, July 17) Whole Foods has stunning orchids for only $9.99! (if you missed it, they usually do this sale 2-3 times a year, just sign up for their weekly emails, or my facebook page and twitter will always have the announcement) Let me tell you, these are high quality orchids, not those little piddly ones you usually see at the supermarket. They even come in nice clay pots, which I’ll save for another project.
I couldn’t get orchids this nice at the floral wholesaler for less than $16-20 each! Most florists would charge $30-35 each for these beauties. I went to Whole Foods this morning and grabbed four of these stunners. I should have gotten more. Did I mention I am obsessed with orchids?
First, we’ll start with how to pick out a nice orchid. They should have strong bright green leaves free of mold, spots, and dead/brown areas. Here’s some healthy leaves:
Then, pick out a plant with a few unopened bloom “pods” on the end, it will last much longer than one with all it’s blooms fully opened. Blooms should be bright and strong, without any wilting, deformities, or spots.
OK, now that we have some nice orchids, let’s display them. For this project I picked my old chipped Haviland soup tureen. It can no longer be used for soup, but it makes a great place for plants. I grabbed some rocks to fill out the bottom of the tureen and help provide some stability and drainage, some sheet moss, heavy floral tape (this is the strong tape, not the stretchy type floral tape. You can find it at most craft stores) and three of the orchid plants. I removed the orchids from their clay pots, and took out the care tags.
The next step was getting the three plants in the tureen, which took some finagling, as they would not stand up straight. I used the heavy floral tape to attach them to each other by their plastic containers, and ran tape across the top to steady the threesome. Then I filled in with the rocks around them.
I know it looks messy now, but here’s where the sheet moss comes in to cover the tops and sides. Just finesse a little over the edge as well to cover the tape. Fresh green moss would be best. I used moss that was a little dried out because it’s what I had on hand.
All done! I love it. So glamorous and classy on the dining room table, and it only cost $30! (I had the other materials on-hand) Any floral shop would charge over $100, not even including the container. And the best part, it will last at least a month. Ah, the beauty of orchids…
Orchid Care: Orchids prefer filtered light, avoid direct sunlight. They like a temperature between 65-80, and high humidity. Here in dry dry Denver, I mist the plants once a day (especially the moss on top, it will evaporate slowly and raise the humidity around the plant. Don’t mist if you are in a humid area, or the plant may rot). Water thoroughly (or take out and soak it for a bit if you prefer) when the potting medium is almost dry. Don’t let them dry out completely! And don’t let them sit in water, or the roots will rot. When the blooms are spent, cut the spike as follows: You’ll see a series of beige-ish bands (called bracts) that encircle the spike about 5″ apart . Look for where the beige bract widens and becomes kind of shield-shaped. Beneath that protective bract is an inactive bud. Cut the spike just above this bract with a sharp razor at an angle (don’t use scissors, they crush the spike). Continue to care for your orchid plant the same as when it was blooming (no direct sun, water when almost dry, 65-80 degrees) and it will flower again, especially if you use an orchid fertilizer (just follow the package directions).
What happened to the 4th orchid? That one I saved for my bedside table. The plant fit perfectly in the top of a black vintage ceramic vase I have. I used the floral tape to hold it secure in at the top, and used Spanish moss this time as a topper. It looks great in the bedroom! I love seeing flowers upon waking in the morning. What a great way to start the day!