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Wednesday, February 10, 2016 Orchids

Orchids Are Perfect for Valentine's Day

Give an orchid (such as a moth orchid, aka Phalaenopsis) to someone in your life this Valentine's Day. Moth orchids are the perfect gift for the season because they're beautiful, elegant, and long lasting. With just a little bit of care, a moth orchid will continue to grow and bloom year after year, so it's a good investment, too. 

Why an Orchid?
  > The flowers last a lot longer that cut flowers (such as roses). It's not uncommon for a moth orchid to hold onto its flowers for two or three months after you purchase it! 
  > Unlike chocolate, you can continue to enjoy the flowers every day. Plus, you don't have to worry about sugar or calories! 
  > Easy-care moth orchids aren't stereotypical gifts, either -- so giving a fresh, live plant shows you put some thought into a great gift. 
  > Elegant orchids are inexpensive (but they don't look it), so you can give a stunning gift without breaking the bank. 
  
Pick the Right Plant
When shopping for the perfect orchid, look for a plant that has one or two open flowers with a lot of buds yet to open. That will give you the longest-lasting show of color. Orchids that have more flowers open now and few buds to open may put on a better display now, but won't be as showy for long. 

Also look for plants that have shiny, dark-green leaves. If a moth orchid dries out too much, the leaf surface often goes from shiny to dull looking, and in severe cases, the leaves may start to look wrinkly when the plant is dried out. Plants that have been stressed because they're too dry usually don't hold their flowers for as long. 

Because moth orchids are tropical plants, it's important to protect them from cold temperatures (less than 50F or 10C). If you get an orchid from a store and it's cool outside, be sure to wrap the orchid in a plastic bag to protect it from the cold temperatures. If you don't, and the orchid is exposed to chill, it may drop its flowers quickly. 

Ongoing Care
To keep your orchid looking its best at home, give it a bright spot, but keep it out of afternoon sun (as too much can cause sunburn). And water once every week to ten days -- when the moss it's growing in starts to dry out. If you're not sure whether you should water or not, it's usually best to wait another day or two. Moth orchids survive being too dry better than being too wet. 

Beautiful moth orchids don't bloom all year long, so don't be alarmed as blooms fade and fall off the plant. Once all the blooms have been lost, you can cut the flower stem all the way back to the leaves. Then continue to water and care for your orchid as normal -- it should bloom again next winter (and with more flowers than it had this year!). 

Check our our free Orchids Are Easy Idea Book for more tips and inspiration from our orchid growers.
Get more tips for making your orchid last.
Wondering about watering? Learn how to water your orchid here.

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