I have yet to meet someone who does not appreciate a beautiful orchid plant. It’s the plant I bring to my seamstress each time some wonderful work flows from her hands, and she tells me that she thinks of me each time she looks at those flowers, for many many weeks. It can grace a sunny window with its arching beauty without taking up a lot of space. It says Beauty and Simplicity and Zen to me…how about you?
Today Raquel and I had the honor of visiting one of San Diego’s premier orchid growers. There are other specialty orchid farms in San Diego and near Santa Barbara that I’d like to visit, but this farm happens to sell at two farmers markets we know, so we were welcomed warmly by the owner and her cousin. And were we ever in for a treat! There were some conditions which we were asked to respect; no photos of faces, no technicals, no details…
The farm specializes in the phalaenopsis, versus the cymbidium or other orchid varieties. The base plants come from Taiwan, without flowers, due to a special agricultural trade agreement. I knew that, as I have been told that the Trader Joe’s Orchids come from Taiwan. “Seconds,” I am now told, for their relatively low bloom count. Today we saw the plants at all stages of their growth, including these, newly arrived and sitting in relatively shaded light to let them acclimate~
Orchids have become a highly technical product. They are cloned in Taiwan and the baby plants developed in the lab. Huge business. The plant takes six months to develop its blooms, and here we see a set of plants with the blooms far enough along to stake them up~
I was amazed at the sea of orchids, all so similar….cloning is part of that, though the plants are fed organically, mostly fish emulsion~
The property was a long series of adjoined greenhouses; acres of orchids, more than 100,000 orchids at all stages and in all colors~
Temperature and humidity are carefully controlled; here you see the fine automated mist that falls if the humidity drops; so fine it does not spot the leaves~
While some orchid growers favor bark chips, the best medium is now peat moss. Check the top and the bottom of the pot; if both are dry then you should water the plant~
Ventilation is also important; notice the fans above and in the sides of the greenhouse, which open up automatically when the temperature is too hot~
Room after room of orchids, which turn their faces to the light like a sunflower; you can see the huge fan in back which is in the wall; obviously ideal conditions~
This flower is the standard, it is called White. White petals with yellow lips~
And more Wow….room after room stuffed with perfection ready to ship~
We saw so many colored varieties today I can’t begin~
this one is called cherry blossom~
these many varieties are destined for the LA Flower Mart and high-end florists in SoCal, potted and cut~
as well as grocery stores, for the seconds, not these, but the plants with few blooms~
Not to mention these minis, in bridal bouquets +++~
They were all SO pretty~
Bright filtered light and some humidity are ideal conditions for these orchids;
This plant has four stalks of blooms on a single plant! One stalk is OK, two is better. Ten or more blooms per stalk is top quality. This plant is phenomenal, and will be placed by the farm owner with a special client.
At the end of the tour, my new friend the owner gave me a big hug and two enormous plants to take home. I left her with two pink baskets for her and her cousin. I love to see these farms, and can’t wait to special order some amazing orchids for me and my friends….email me if you are local….