New Orchids!

I’ve wanted different types of orchids for quite awhile now. Unfortunately the ones I usually see in greenhouse nurseries are too expensive for me. I can’t justify spending $100 or more on a plant I’ll probably kill. But then came the internet, and online purchasing, and shipping. I discovered that I can venture into different types of orchids! As a birthday present to myself I ordered these little beauties.

Now, I really don’t recommend buying tropical plants in winter unless you know that they’ll be properly packed. I knew these were going to be shipped express and I chose for them not to be delivered to my door. Instead they went closest post office. They were also shipped with a tracking number so I had an idea where they were in transit. These only took about 48hrs to get to me and a heat pack was put into the box.

Let’s take a look at what I got!

Being a novice orchid grower, I’m still learning what orchids are which. Before I ordered I looked up what are the easiest orchids to care for. On the top of the list were Oncidiums, aka Dancing-Lady Orchids. So I found a grower who had Oncidiums and were willing to ship in winter (most Canadian orchid growers won’t ship in winter). Simple as that, right? Wrong.

Learning curve #1: Tolumnias

After I placed my order I started looking up the individual plants I ordered. Hindsight: I should have done that before ordering. Tolumnia used to be Equitant Oncidium, now they are classed as their own category of orchid. They’re super small!

Tolumnias apparently grow best mounted or, like this little girl, in a net pot with no media. To keep her healthy I’ll have to soak her every morning, then hang to dry. In my opinion, very similar to how people care for Tillandsias (air plants) or Vanda orchids. In the near future I’ll probably mount this plant to a piece of cork bark.

Next little surprise was the Oncidium Twinkle ‘Fantasy’. Again, I only found out after I ordered that this was a miniature orchid.

I was a little deflated at first; I like big plants. Then I unpacked it, and was really excited again. It has a flower spike!! Watching the first little tiny flower open today was pure bliss. The flower is the size of my thumbnail.

O. Twinkle ‘Fantasy’

Next up is Oncidium Wild Willie ‘Wonka’.  There’s an old bloom spike on it and it’s a good size.

Next in line was a BIG suprise for me. My first ever Paphiopedilum Maudiae, Vini colour (wine coloured lady slipper). While not really “easy” to grow I couldn’t resist trying. Beautiful mottled leaves and a flower!

Last in line, and the biggest of the lot, is a O. Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’. Everything I expected: big, healthy, no signs of pests or damage from shipping or the cold. I can’t wait for this one to bloom! Everything I read tells me this one smells like chocolate.

There you have it, five new orchids and some lessons learned.

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