Mother's Day: Living Gift Ideas

Tue, Jun 27, 2017
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(ARA) - From corsages pinned to prom dresses to exotic specimens in greenhouses, orchids are the most glamorous flowering plants in the world, but few know just how easy orchids are to grow and how affordable they’ve become.

"Believe me, orchids are easy to grow," says orchid grower Steven Frowine in his book "Orchids for Dummies."

"Phalaenopsis or ‘moth orchids’ are among the most popular plants in the world," he says. "They’re the perfect choice for first-time orchid fanciers because they are so easy to grow, the colors are spectacular and the flowers last for months."

Plus orchids are a great gift for today’s budget-conscious shoppers and they keep blooming for months with little to no effort. This spring, look for new phalaenopsis mini-orchids that are only 12 inches tall and come in decorative pots with gift tags for under $15.

These affordable mini-blooming machines make perfect "living gifts" for Mother's Day, birthdays, housewarming and teacher gifts, college students, and your boss and colleagues. In other words, give an orchid to someone -- even if it’s to yourself.
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"What attracts most people to orchids are the exotic colors," says Alex Calzadillia, orchid expert with Costa Farms. From sublime pear and lime yellows to passionate orangey reds and rich purples, orchids surprise with colors and patterns like individual snowflakes.

Orchids are a great way to spruce up your interior in delicious shades of red and yellow without breaking the budget on expensive redecorating.

But orchids are more than just a pretty face. They provide oxygen and are great natural air filters that clean indoor air of carbon dioxide and many indoor toxins. And since orchids do their "heavy breathing" at night, they are perfect bedroom buddies. Learn more about the fascinating world of indoor plants at www.O2foryou.org.

How to choose and care for your mini-orchids

Years ago, the methods of orchid growing were well-guarded secrets, hoarded by commercial growers and private estate gardeners, but now the secret is out. Calzadillia offers these tips to help you have success with orchids:

* Water your mini-orchids thoroughly by drenching them in a sink or watering container until the pot feels weighted. After a few days when the orchid becomes very light in weight, it’s time to re-water. Remember never to leave your orchid in standing water.
* Feed your orchids with a good high-nitrogen fertilizer weekly, but remember to dilute the fertilizer as instructed. This will help to bring blooms back the following year.
* Orchids enjoy indoor temperatures between 60 to 75 F during the day and above 55 F at night.
* Remember to place them in a well-lit area, but not in direct sunlight.
* Depending on the growth of the orchid, you may consider repotting every one to two years. When repotting, use a medium of large bark and/or moss-like mix, which you can purchase at your local garden center.

Available at your neighborhood retailer, these mini-orchids come in a wide variety of colors in both 3-inch and 6-inch pots with eight to 10 blooms on every plant.

For more tips on growing orchids or to find a retailer near you, visit www.costafarms.com.
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