Make, Jane, make!: Orchid Anomaly


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Monday, February 21, 2011

Orchid Anomaly

I remember reading somewhere that the orchids you commonly see being sold in supermarkets and department stores nowadays are only meant for one flowering. That is, they are bred or cloned or whatever it is to mature very quickly and bloom just once for immediate sale in the checkout aisle. Which would totally explain why orchids were once very expensive houseplants and now are quite affordable.

I've had my share of orchids in the house. Most had bountiful, long-lived first blooms. None ever bloomed again. One even suffered some crown rot when I overwatered and did not take care to dry it out. So I am not the best orchid keeper... That is, until this orchid came into my life:

We received this orchid as a belated housewarming gift from my hubby's uncle upon his first visit to our home. At the time, it was a run of the mill, Costco phalaenopsis. That was early 2008 - before we discovered that this orchid is a freak of nature, super orchid.

How so you ask? Since that time, super orchid has either been in bloom (with full luscious large flowers) or been preparing to bloom again. It has never been dormant, blooms for months and months at a time and, other than the original store-bought single stalk of blooms, it has always had two stalk-fuls of flowers.

I can't find a 2009 picture but here it is in 2010 (please excuse the poor photo quality, I blew it up from the background of another photo):

And here it is, today... We're on (at least) its third bloom cycle now.

Everyone always asks me what I do to keep it blooming and, honestly, I don't know. It's the same routine as with every orchid in the past... only instead of dying, this orchid just keeps blooming. I water and fertilize it according to the plant food instructions. When the blooms have dropped, I cut the stalk one node below the faded blooms. Sometimes I forget to water and it doesn't have the best light exposure. So far, it's always sprouted more blooms from the first stalk and grown a second stalk as well. I haven't transplanted this one to an orchid pot either. It's still in its original cheap-o Costco clear plastic tub!

So the only conclusion I can come to is that this orchid is a genetic super mutant. In any case, I try to take good care of it. Partly, to preserve this amazing run and partly because I fear one day it will evolve enough to take control of the other plants in my house and eventually hold me hostage by controlling my oxygen supply. Ah! such is the circle of life :)

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