Plant of the Week: Orchid

Seeing as it’s Chinese New Year this week I thought about the plant I came across everywhere when I went to Hong Kong about 10 years ago. I visited about a week before CNY and all over the city were pop-up flower markets selling bamboo and orchids in their thousands.

Most households in the UK seem to own at least one orchid and these can be in varying stages of flowering. Orchids still seem to hold on to their identity as an exotic plant and it is perhaps this reason they make great gifts and seem very difficult to get to re-flower.

I remember buying one for my mum for Mother’s Day and, as I stood up to leave the bus, the driver slammed on the breaks and the stem got caught between my knee and the chair in front. I’ll never forget that snapping sound and the feeling of my heart sinking knowing I was about to present my mum with essentially a twig in a pot. Luckily my mum is a green-fingered goddess and she managed to nurse it back to life.

Every February, Kew Gardens in London puts on an amazing orchid display to brighten up an otherwise grey month at the garden. If you are in or visiting London this display is not to be missed. Each year the focus is on a different country where orchids are prolific and this year it’s all about Colombia.

Did you know there are nearly 30,000 different species of orchid in the world?

If you own an orchid but you’ve not seen flowers on it since the year you got it, try moving it to a different area of the house. A temperature lowering by even 5 degrees could be enough to spur flowers to grow again. For more tips this handy guide by Interflora should help. I’m definitely going to try their watering techniques.

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