Bringing a new orchid home from the store is fun. We are attracted to the beautiful colors and/or patterns on the flowers. But sometimes, after the newest buds develop in our homes, the newest flowers on the bloom spike don't look like the others. How can this be? There are a variety of reasons behind changes in color but rest assured the plant is usually perfectly healthy. In the case shown, the newest flower is a shade of yellow where all other blooms on the spike are nearly white. The change in color is likely due to differences in light and temperature between the environment it was grown in and its new environment inside the home. In this case lower light likely lead to deeper color saturation.
The orchid shown in the picture is a Harlequin Phalaenopsis. These types of Phalaenopsis are also known for having variations in their spot patterns from one bloom cycle to the next and from flower to flower on the same bloom spike. Harlequin Phalaenopsis are the result of genetic mutations and have been hybridized by breeders into some very beautiful patterns of spots and splashes of colors. With those patterns can come a large degree of variability from flower to flower. These types of changes are usually attributable to temperature but can also be from changes in light as well. Variations like these are part of what makes Harlequin Phals so interesting!
Christina and Eric shared their April trip to Thailand with us. Lots of Buddhist temples, as the population is 90% Buddhist. Probably one of the best countries to go to for orchids, as there are so many different kinds growing in abundance. Festooned might be a good word to describe the forests with their resident orchids. Orchids are also actively grown as a business and in botanic gardens. And don't forget the Thai food!
September is a time of changes, it marks the end of summer growth season and we begin to look forward to the fall blooms. For those orchids that are sensitive to day length, we want to make sure they can notice the shortening days of fall and not be tricked by indoor lighting. If orchids are under supplemental lighting, changing the timer frequently to match the shortening days allows orchids to experience the shortening days.