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Master Gardeners: Are Blue Orchids Real? The Ultimate Truth

SOURCE: https://www.ohiotropics.com

Phalaenopsis (or moth orchids) come in a variety of gorgeous colors. But have you ever seen blue orchids at florists or orchid shows? Are blue orchids even real? Learn the plain truth and everything you need to know!

While certainly striking, blue Phalaenopsis orchids have a bit of, let’s say, human intervention to create this color. Blue moth orchids do not exist in nature!

ARE BLUE ORCHIDS REAL?

The answer is no and yes (at least for Phalaenopsis orchids)! The plants are real of course, but the blue color is not naturally occurring. Blue Phalaenopsis orchids are actually skillfully dyed by growers which utilize a patented process.

We have all seen these plants both at big box stores.

The fact is that true blue flowers are actually pretty rare in nature in orchids. 

The issue becomes even more confusing because in many cases people claim that there are true blue orchids (namely Vandas), but they’re more purple than anything. There are even many posts online where photos are posted of “blue orchids” and they are clearly purple.

David Lee, who wrote the book Nature’s Palette: The Science of Plant Color, states that “Less than 10 percent of the 280,000 species of flowering plants produce blue flowers.”

HOW ARE ORCHIDS DYED BLUE?

Different growers use slightly different methods to create blue Phalaenopsis orchids.

The “Just Add Ice” grower uses a patented process to create blue orchids in their Watercolor Orchids line. (They even use dye to create green, orange, and hot pink flowers.)

To create blue orchids, a blue dye is injected into a small hole which is made in the orchid stem. The hole that is created is then covered with wax.

After about 24 hours, the dye works its magic and begins to change the color of the flowers.

WHEN MY ORCHID REBLOOMS, WILL IT BE BLUE?

Unfortunately, no. The plant will “revert” to whatever color the flowers were before being dyed. In many cases, white orchids are used.

So, when your orchid reblooms for you, the new blooms will not be blue and will likely be white. This is important to understand so you’re not disappointed!

 

For more horticultural questions, please call our Hot Line at 409 882-7010 Tuesday and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. or you can email ocmg1990@gmail.com your question.

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