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Orchid: Meaning Of Flowers

The orchid has a unique beauty and a special charm: for this reason for centuries it has represented refinement, beauty, passion, elegance, love and harmony.

The meaning of the orchid in the language of flowers is the thanksgiving for being loved. For this reason we must give this flower to the person who reciprocates our love in a certain and absolute way.

This is especially true in Western countries, where it is used as a message of love for a very important person of one’s existence, to whom one is united by a lasting and very strong feeling.

Giving an orchid to a woman means offering her all your admiration, respect and dedication. On the contrary, in Eastern countries (particularly China), the meaning of the orchid is one of purity, especially that of children.

Giving an Orchid

There are special occasions when the significance of the orchid takes on a unique value: for example, for the 14th wedding anniversary the ideal gift is a pink orchid. For the 28th wedding anniversary, on the other hand, a Cymbidium orchid is offered in a variety of cream, pink and pastel yellow colours. On Mother’s Day, on the other hand, Cattleya orchids are recommended, very fragrant and of great aesthetic impact.

The meaning of black orchids is linked to authority: in fact, these varieties have a dark brown color and for centuries have been considered magical: for this reason they can be donated to both men and women who have achieved important work success and represent a message of compliments.

Very often these flowers are used as decorative elements during important events and weddings, as they are a symbol of good wishes and congratulations.

Meaning Orchid and Symbology

In Christian symbology the meaning of the orchid refers to the passion of Christ: in fact the maculation of the petals represents the blood of Jesus. For this reason these flowers are used to decorate the altars at Easter and Christmas. Instead from a historical point of view it was an aphrodisiac flower: it was used to fight sterility or to prepare love potions.

This meaning of the orchid is linked to the Greek myth of Orchis, a beautiful young son of a nymph and a satyr. During a feast in honour of Bacchus, he was caught trying to rape a priestess of the god and for this reason he was fed to the beasts. The gods, in order not to let his beauty die too, turned his body into an orchid.

Since orchids in Greek means “testicles” and the appearance of the flower is reminiscent of male reproductive organs, it is understandable why the plant is considered a symbol of sensuality, love and fertility.

Past Uses of the Orchid

Precisely because of its meaning the orchid has had many magical uses in the past: in ancient Greece eating one variety or another meant having a female or the desired male child.

In the Middle Ages these flowers were used as a marginal ingredient for black magic preparations or as a fundamental element of love elixir.

In England, during the Victorian age, the significance of the orchid was one of class, wealth and prestige: in fact, most species are native to exotic places, difficult to reach. At the same time it was even more complicated to cultivate orchids with good results because they needed special environmental conditions. For this reason, only the richest could afford them.

Orchid: How to Use it

Orchids also have special uses: for example, vanilla is obtained from the fruits of Vanilla planifolia, native to tropical America but cultivated in many hot climate countries by applying artificial insemination.

Moreover, from the discovery of America until the 17th century, it was common to mix Vanilla Orchid (symbol of strength) with chocolate to gain power. Several Orchids of the genera Orchis and Ophrys provide from the tubers the salep, known in folk medicine for its anti-tatarral properties. In Greece and the Middle East it is used in the confectionery industry.

Orchid History

Orchids are plants that are often considered very delicate and difficult to maintain.

However, over time, many techniques have become widespread on how to care for orchids in the correct way to try to maintain them for longer. In addition, more and more hybrids of this plant have been produced that are able to withstand climates that are not exclusively warm.

In the beginning, orchids imported to the European continent came only from tropical and subtropical areas of the world, and only in the last few decades have there been widespread types of orchids from cold climates.

These plants can be epiphytic, i.e. they attach themselves with their roots to other plants using them as a support, or soil when they sink their roots into the ground.

Exposure of Orchids

Often one of the big dilemmas on how to treat orchids concerns their proper exposure.

As they are very delicate plants, even the wrong amount of light can damage them in a short time.

Orchids need a lot of light, although they should not be exposed to direct sunlight. One advice is to place these plants close to windows, but be careful that they are not also close to heat or cold air sources.

If they are grown outdoors, orchids should be protected from sunlight in summer.

It is essential to avoid dark or shady areas in any way that will prevent the proper development of the plant’s roots and flowers.

How to Irrigate Orchids

A further tip on how to care for orchids in such a way that they resist the weather and keep longer is the watering that you need to provide these plants with.

Usually the soil is moistened with demineralised water about every 3 to 5 days.

It is necessary to check that the substratum is completely dry from the previous wetting before proceeding in order to avoid the formation of water stagnations and the consequent root rot.

Coming from rather humid areas, orchids need a rather high level of ambient humidity.

For this reason it is recommended to spray water around the leaves and flowers using demineralised water practically every day. During the summer months, if the orchids are grown at home, you can proceed by placing a humidifier near the plant that can withstand the drier climate.

How to Fertilize Orchids

An important point on how best to care for orchids is the fertilization process and the soil that is supplied to the plant. As far as fertilisation is concerned, it is necessary to proceed about every 12 or 15 days throughout the year.

The quantities of orchid fertilizer to be supplied are reduced so that the plant is not overloaded with mineral salts. Furthermore, orchids are not able to absorb these substances on their own and it is good to help them by using liquid and water-soluble fertilisers. In the private room, with the vegetative recovery, you can help the awakening of the plant by providing a fertilizer that is richer in nitrogen. The soil that it is important to supply the orchids with must be rather inert and therefore added with substances such as charcoal, polystyrene or pine bark.

Where to Grow Orchids

One of the main problems with growing orchids at home in the correct way is how to position the plants.

Most of these specimens are grown in pots, at least on our continent.

It is risky to place this plant in the garden because of the direct and probable contact with the sun’s rays that orchids strongly fear. If you have an epiphytic variety of orchid, you can grow it using the raft method.

Using branches or cork, it is possible to create a structure on which the orchid is able to put its roots and develop over time.

You can create fantastic and elegant compositions of orchids that can also serve as decoration at home. When orchids are grown at home it is essential not to place these plants near drafts of both hot and cold air.

Orchid Diseases

Although there are many tips on how to treat orchids properly, these plants may not necessarily contract diseases. Generally, the most common diseases for orchids result from bad cultivation methods.

For example, it is important to avoid providing too much water during irrigation to prevent water stagnation that could turn into root rot. Or it is best to avoid direct exposure of the plants to the sun’s rays which will dry them out and prevent them from developing flowers.

With regard to parasites, instead, orchids can be attacked by the cochineal which usually causes brown spots. The cochineal can also be removed by hand. If the plant shows necrotic spots and tends to wither progressively, we find ourselves in the presence of aphids that can be defeated by the use of insecticides. Some types of fungi can attack the orchid like: Phytophora, Botrytis and Glomerella.

Nika Doe

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