Ode to the orchid: the surprisingly resilient plant
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, green-fingered. In fact, I would rather make vegetables out of clay (see, here they are) than try to grow them myself. So when a friend bought me this orchid I was terrified that those painfully delicate looking white petals would soon be wilted and the lush green leaves shrivelled beyond recognition.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered they’re just about the easiest plant to keep. Two years later mine is still alive and well, while all other plants I acquired have kicked it within a few months, causes unknown (but suffice it to say, my fault). I’m now the proud owner of a trio of orchids and they’re all flourishing.
Here’s why I think the orchid is the perfect house plant:
1. Orchids only need watering once a week. Traditionally found in tropical climes, by watering an orchid once a week you simulate a monsoon downpour. Give them a good drenching or submerge the pot for 30 seconds until the charcoal chips or mossy stuff (don’t worry, it comes in the pot) are thoroughly soaked.
2. An orchid is an instant home decor update. Because you buy them in bloom, a new orchid brings a bouquet of flowers home – but one that lasts forever. Over winter the flowers will drop off but just keep watering the plant once a week and they’ll bloom again in Spring.
3. Orchids are, like, so totes on trend right now. Colour experts Pantone decreed that ‘Radiant orchid’, a vibrant pinky-purple shade, is the Colour of 2014, so who are you to argue? Get on board with the colour that, Pantone says, ‘intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination.’
4. The orchid is a minimalist masterpiece. If you haven’t got any house plants, whacking a big leafy bush in your living room can be a bit much, but the sleek symmetrical petals and bottle green leaves of an orchid are a good match for most interiors. Most commonly, orchids have white petals with a purple or pink centre, called the gynostemium, but with more than 20,000 varieties you can get orchids of almost every colour. The latest addition to my orchid family is this, featuring white and yellow flowers with fuchsia splodges.
5. You can get orchids on the cheap pretty easily. Buying orchids online can be pricey (£25 a pop isn’t uncommon) but I’ve found a trick to buying budget: supermarkets. Around Mother’s Day all the supermarkets had orchids boxed up ready for gifting, and they’ve been discounted as the weeks have gone by. I got one half price in Tesco. I also got this little one, pot and all, from by the till at my local Waitrose for the bargain of £8. They’re still in store now.