The largest family of flowering plants, Orchidaceae, or simply Orchids, has over 20,000 species in the family. This means it has more than twice the amount of bird species and 4 times the amount of species of mammals in its family. Although orchids are considered an exotic plant, they are found growing all over every continent in the world except Antarctica. There have been, however, a few species found close to Antarctica and the Arctic Circle.
Although there are so many species in the orchid family, all of them are perennial plants and grow in one of 2 patterns: monopodial or sympodial. Monopodial growth occurs when a stem grows from a single bud. Stems with this type of growth can reach several feet in height. Sympodial growth is when the orchid grows laterally instead of vertically (which is more common). New growth occurs in this structure when the current cycle of stems growing reaches a certain size, blooms, and then quits cultivating.
Orchids are easily one of the most recognized flowers in the world. This is probably from their bilateral symmetry of 3 inner petals, 3 outer petals and the single protruding, cup-shaped petal, also known as the labellum. Orchids can be found in a variety of colors, from white to fuchsia and everything in between. It is common to find their petals decorated with streaks or spots, as well as a flower head with the petals being one color and the labellum being another.
Because of the number of orchid species, there is no one simple way to care for them. Here is a general overview on caring for this flower.
• As a rule of thumb, orchids love sunlight. Give them at least 12 hours a day of natural sunlight or even artificial if natural light cannot be provided.
• Do not overwater orchids. Excessive water can kill them, so give them water to drink about once a week.
• Feed orchids a fertilizer for extra nutrients when they are actively growing. Make sure it is specifically for them.
• If growing indoors, plant orchids in a small pot. Their roots need the support that a small pot can provide and they should thrive in it for several years.
Orchids have collected several meanings throughout their lifetime, but the most common meanings are love and beauty. Florists love this flower for its beauty as a single flower bouquet, part of mixed bouquets and as potted plants.
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