Caring for Orchids

Orchids are Mother Nature’s gems, drawing intrigue for their exquisite shape, intense colors and soft perfume.

Orchids usually have three petals, two of which are identical. They also have three identical sepals behind the petals.

So far, scientists have cataloged 30,000 orchid varieties and thousands of hybrids, but they are still finding more.

These beautiful flowers grow almost anywhere in the world, except the North Pole and Antarctica due to their freezing weather. However, there is a broader orchid diversity in regions with tropical weather.

With 1,260 varieties of 170 genera, Mexico is like paradise for orchids, as 40% of these varieties only grow in the country. Their colors are distinctive, mostly pastel shades.

Orchids can symbolize love or passion. *** Las orquídeas pueden ser símbolo de amor o de pasión. (Charlie Ramírez)

“This plant has a beautiful flower, but it requires special care if you want it to live as long as possible,” said Mariano Robles Tejeda, the owner of a greenhouse.

Orchids need to live indoors, where they can get a bit of sunlight, but not too much. They must be watered every five days and fed with fertilizer every other week. Experts recommend not putting the flower pot on top of a water container, as this may damage the orchid.

“Once you get used to caring for an orchid, you can care for several at a time,” said Robles Tejeda.

Growing this flower is a somewhat time-consuming and challenging process. Orchids are not ground plants. They grow in damp surfaces, such as bark, volcanic rock, coconut shell fiber or roof tiles. Sometimes, fungi may grow on the plant, but is not harmful.

“Usually, people buy them as starter plants. Given the complex and extreme care orchids require, they do not sow them. Sometimes orchids do not germinate, and people get discouraged,” said Robles Tejeda.

Due to their remarkable beauty, people often gift orchids to celebrate friendship or on Valentine’s Day. The meaning of their colors may vary according to the gift’s recipient and the occasion. Giving an orchid to a long-time partner sends a different message than giving one to a friend. Likewise, orchids given at the start of a relationship may be interpreted differently than when the bond is solid.

Red orchids may be a symbol of passion, intensity or desire, while the pink ones are seen as a declaration of love.

(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Carlin Becker. ) 

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