Taiwan Orchids

Orchids: The beauty of Taiwan

Taiwan is famous for its beautiful orchids. Although more than 2,000 species of orchids grow and are grown in Taiwan, the most commonly gifted are Phalaenopsis orchids. These are often known as Moth orchids elsewhere, but we translate them from Chinese (蝴蝶蘭) as Butterfly orchids, which we think does more justice to the incredibly intricate and beautiful blossoms. Their long life and ease of care make them the ideal gift or home decoration for many occasions.

Do orchids make good gifts?

Orchids are a very popular gift in Taiwan. Chinese New Year is by far the most popular time for orchids. The cool damp air in Taiwan at this time means that they can last for a very long time. However, they are also popular gifts for businesses, such as new openings, promotions, or thank you gifts at any time of the year. The variety of sizes from small arrangements that can decorate an office desk to very large arrangements that can fill a corner of a room make them an ideal decoration for the home, office, or lobby.

What colors or patterns do orchids come in?

Orchids come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The most common color in Taiwan is a very deep red or magenta. Red is a color that has a lot of symbolism in Taiwan, so this is often the preferred color for older or more traditional recipients if you are sending orchids to someone in Taiwan for a happy occasion such as Chinese New Year or a birthday. Having said that, I personally much prefer the lighter pink or yellow which seem to do a better job of brightening up a room.

White orchids are traditionally sent for funerals or mourning. They can be very beautiful and are often used as decorations or gifts for other occasions. However, it is important that you know the personality of the recipient. If the person you are sending the orchids to is young and/or not very traditional, white orchids are fine. If the person you are sending the orchids to is older or more traditional, a pink or red orchid would be a safer option. White orchids generally should not be sent as get-well gifts.

Orchids also come in a variety of patterns, including snow white orchids with deep red hearts, striped orchids, orchids with spots, and numerous other non-descript patterns on the blossoms. A quick note on patterned orchids is necessary. There is a huge variety of patterns, and not all patterns are available at a given time. Therefore a degree of flexibility is necessary when ordering patterned orchids, and substitutions are frequently necessary.

How long can I expect orchids to last?

As with all plants and flowers the length of time they last is directly related to their environment. (See tips for care below.) Given an acceptable minimum standard environment and care, they should last at least a month. However, they can last much longer than that, sometimes up to 2 or 3 months. Even in an air-conditioned environment, the season has a lot to do with how long they last, with them lasting much longer in the winter than in the summer.

Will they blossom again next year?

When the blossoms are totally gone, you can cut away the stem and keep the orchids for next year. They will often bloom again. Although the blooms will not be nearly as big, showy, or numerous as when they are first delivered, all gardeners know that the care and effort put into keeping a plant alive for a year increases the beauty of that blossom when it does come forth.

How do I care for orchids?

Orchids are generally easy to care for. They only need watering about once a week. Some people will say that orchids should be watered even less often, but we feel that it is easier to remember to water them on a given day of the week than every ten days. Ideally, they should dry out a bit (just a bit) between waterings. Orchids like a lot of diffuse light, but cannot tolerate strong direct sunlight. They also like to be kept cool and in an area with good ventilation. However, do not place them directly in front of a fan or air conditioner because this will dry out the blossoms or unopened buds. A semi-shaded balcony or next to a window that doesn’t get direct sun is a great environment for most orchids.

We often add additional green plants to the pot with the orchid. These plants may need more water than the orchids. You should try to add a bit of water to those plants every day or every other day. If you forget to water the green plants and they turn into brown plants, you can just remove them so that you can still enjoy the orchids.