The latest fall (orchid) fashion on display

Friday, November 15, 2013

Have I been sleepwalking through recent orchid shows or have I just overlooked what is happening to Phalaenopsis orchids these days? At the Fall Orchid Festival now underway, I reignited my appreciation for these orchids. The show is in the Lakeside Marquee Tent, and tabletop displays are fashioned into islands of glorious flowers.

A Phalaenopsis hybrid that shows off the
latest breeding trends.

Phalaenopsis orchids have become America's favorite pot plant. Maybe because they are sold everywhere, including the grocery store, I have walked right by them. However, the new hybrids are writing a whole new chapter in orchid breeding.

In the 1990s, harlequin-type Phalaenopsis hybrids appeared and set into motion the outrageous patterns, colors and shapes of today's phals. Harlequin phals were the white flowers with splotches of maroon that appeared here and there on the petals and sepals. These early hybrids seemed as if someone had splattered maroon ink on the flowers. I took note, even bought some, but then my attention drifted.

Today's phals bear spots, stripes, picotee edges, splash patterns; raspberry, pink, orange, green and maroon colors, and yes some still have a lot of white in the petals. They are audacious, indeed.


Phal. violacea.

The little phals are playing catch-up as well. Krull Smith Landscapes' Phal. bellina' Krull's Green Prince' earned an

Phal. schilleriana x Phal. lindenii

AOS highly commended certificate wtih 78 points. Krull Smith also displayed a lovely purple Phal. violacea. Their Phal. schilleriana x Phal. lindenii earned 77 points and another American Orchid Society HCC as best pink Phalaenopsis of the show. And their Phal. gigantea garnered an AOS Award of Merit with 87 points.

There are plenty of other handsome genera on display. Vanda Erick Cizek Dann is a fabulous dark blue-purple and white flower that won best Vanda. Encyclia boothiana not only was best native orchid, but also best Encyclia.

Eight orchids received American Orchid Society awards, but there are many knock-you-socks-off flowers on display. Plus 22 vendors selling plants and 7 vendors selling pots, candles, even honey.

The show runs through Sunday. Fairchild's orchid seedlings can be seen in one of the tropical labs, there is a pretty display of cattleyas in the plant conservatory, and orchids in the rainforest. Join us!





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