Whatever the occasion – a birthday, Mother’s Day, anniversary, thank you, graduation or a host of other special occasions – an orchid is the perfect medium to convey positive sentiments and emotions. These special, delicate beauties are renowned for their meaning as a symbol of pure love, beauty, luxury, and toughness. They also offer a host of uses and benefits. In this article, we’ll cover orchid flower meaning, symbolism, gifting, and more.

Ultimate Guide to Orchid Flower Meaning and Symbolism

The Orchid Flower:

The Orchid Flower

Orchids are all members of the diverse botanical family Orchidaceae, which comprises thousands of species and varieties. In fact, Orchidaceae the largest known plant family, followed by Asteraceae.

The intricate features of this perennial’s flowers make them a standout, easily distinguishable from other famed flowering plants. Some orchids bear single flowers, while most kinds showcase double or clusters of flowers.

The term orchid was coined by renowned English botanist John Lindley in 1845. It originated from the Greek word orkhis.

Orchid Flower Meaning

Orchid flower meaning

The ubiquity of delicate orchids is a result of their undeniable beauty and easy-going nature. Because of the diverse types available, these fascinating blooms convey lots of meanings and often serve as symbols for many cultures across the globe.

In Ancient Greece, orchids were believed to affect an unborn child’s gender upon conception. If the father was to eat a large orchid tuber, the child would turn out to be a boy. If the mother consumed smaller and thinner tubers, the child would turn out to be a girl.

Generally, orchids are known as a symbol of pure love, beauty, luxury, and toughness. They are also believed to bring a number of positive benefits to the energy of a home in Feng Shui.

Orchid Flower Color Meaning

Orchid Flower Symbolism

Each different orchid color has a different meaning. As with other known white flowers, white orchids are a symbol of purity and innocence. They are also often associated with luxury, elegance, reverence, and fertility.

Another well-received type is pink orchids. These flowers symbolize grace, femininity, and joy. Yellow orchids, on the other hand, are a symbol of friendship and the start of something new.

Green orchids have a number of meanings related to good luck and success. They have a symbolic meaning of good health and good fortune.

A purple orchid represents admiration, respect, and royalty, while the orange orchid often depicts boldness, pride, and positivity.

Warm red orchids are symbols of passion and love. They also carry meanings of courage and determination. Use a red orchid to signify romance and appreciation.

You may have come across a blue orchid at your local nursery or general store. Despite their beauty, these moth orchid flowers are not truly blue, but are dyed by growers to give them their color. Once the blue flowers fade, any new ones that emerge will usually be white.

Cultural Significance of Orchids

Cultural significance of orchid flowers

This beautiful flower also plays important roles in different parts of the world. Several countries and cities in the world consider orchids as their national flowers. One example is Shaoxing, China, which considers orchids as its official flower.

Likewise, Venezuela regards these delicate beauties as its national flower. A specific orchid species, the Cattleya mossiae, is Colombia’s national flower. Honduras and Costa Rica also consider orchids as their national flowers – the Rhyncholaelia digbyana for Honduras, and Guarianthe skinneri for Costa Rica.

Singapore’s national flower is also a part of the orchid family – the Singaporean Orchid, also called Princess Aloha orchid, Papilionanthe ‘Miss Joaquim’, or Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim.’

The black orchid, otherwise known as Prosthechea cochleata, is Belize’s national flower, while the White Nun orchid (Monja Blanca) is Guatemala’s. The Holy Ghost orchid – scientifically known as Peristeria elata – is the national flower of Panama.

Orchids are also the official Zodiac flower for the star sign Aquarius.

Orchid Flower Symbolism & Gifting

Whether you’re eyeing orchids to give as a gift or use as home decor, you can find one that complements almost every occasion and celebration. The wide array of orchid colors allows you to have lots of choices.

Orchids as Wedding Gifts and Decor

White Orchid in Vase

Thinking of a thoughtful and sincere gift to give to a close friend for their wedding? Veer away from the typical, traditional wedding gifts and give newlyweds a small potted white phalaenopsis or moth orchid to let them know you care about them.

Think of this exotic plant’s unique yet fascinating blooms and curved stems. They make a great statement piece on any table as home decor. In addition, the white orchid exhibits elegance with long-lasting flowers that appear once or twice a year.

Orchids as a Housewarming or Hostess Gift

Thank a homeowner for welcoming you into their home with orchids. You could never go wrong with these plants because of the many varieties and colors they offer.

A Dendrobium orchid is a perfect present for someone who keeps a busy schedule, as it requires minimal care and maintenance. Known as one of the toughest orchids available, Dendrobiums tolerate low moisture and varying temperatures.

Orchids are also a popular floral or plant gift for men and work well for numerous occasions throughout the year.

Orchids as a Get Well Soon Gift

Giving orchids is a sure way to express thoughtfulness, and what better way to use them than as a gift to wish someone a fast recovery? Several orchid types can be used for this purpose, but the most common options are white Phalaenopsis orchid or a green Cymbidium orchid. These orchids are said to represent good health.

Miltonia orchids are also a good choice. These orchids emit a refreshing fragrance, which makes them an instant air freshener in any room.

Orchids as a Wedding Anniversary Gift

Pink Orchids

Wedding anniversaries are often associated with flowers, with each year representing different flower kinds, including orchids. Pink Cattleya orchids, in particular, symbolize pure affection and charm.

They are famed as the 14th wedding anniversary flower and the 25th wedding anniversary flower.

Orchids as a Mother’s Day Gift

Purple Orchids

Celebrate Mother’s Day by giving your mom attractive and exotic orchid flowers. Unlike typical flower bouquets, a small pot of orchids not only displays blooms longer, but the plant itself also lasts several seasons with the right care.

When choosing which orchid to get, opt for a deep pink or purple variety as these colors signify respect, admiration, and elegance. One example of a deep pink orchid is the Spotted Leonard Prince variety. Vanda orchids have a fair share of purple-colored flowers that are perfect for loving mothers.

Orchids as a Birthday Gift

Yellow Orchids

Let your friends or family know how much you care by giving them orchids as the perfect birthday gift. Undecided as to which color and kind? Your best bet is a yellow orchid that symbolizes friendship. Oncidium orchid, commonly known as Dancing Ladies orchid, is one type that produces amazing yellow blooms.

Other species also have yellow varieties, such as Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, and Phalaenopsis.

What to Look for When Buying Orchids

What to look for when buying orchid flowers

Shopping for orchids should not be a complicated task. Make sure you get a healthy plant that will give out gorgeous flowers for months. There are a few ways to tell which orchids are at optimal performance:

  • Examine the roots. As most orchids are epiphytes, this process is simple. Healthy orchids have thick green roots that turn dark green when wet. Root tips should be shiny and green. Avoid ones that have white and shriveled roots as these indicate an unhealthy plant.
  • Observe the stems and leaves. As with other flowering plants, the stem and leaves of orchids are indications of a healthy plant. The leaves should be thick, lightly colored, and hard. Exceptionally green and glossy leaves could mean that the plants have been overfed and, as a result, will not bloom well. Orchid leaves should also be free from leaf spots, blemishes, or pests. The stems should be upright and arching.
  • Count the blooms. Pick a plant with some buds that are yet to open so you will enjoy a long-lasting bloom. Avoid buying orchids with yellow or withered blooms since these will most likely die down.
  • Check the potting medium. Epiphytes require good airflow and drainage around the roots to remain healthy. Poor aeration will ensure the plant performs poorly.

How to Care for Orchids

How to Care for Orchid Flowers

With proper care, orchids can live for many years to come and will rebloom multiple times throughout the year. These spectacular flowers are generally easy to care for, but this does not mean that they don’t require any attention. Here are some useful care tips for orchids:

  • Transport orchids carefully. These plants do not thrive well in extreme temperatures. If it’s too cold, wrap them to avoid frostbite or damage.
  • Keep them away from direct light exposure to protect the leaves and blooms.
  • Acclimatize the plant after you take it home. Be gentle with it in the first few days and give it time to adjust to its new environment.
  • Do not overwater your orchid. Too much water exposure may cause failure to bloom or black rot, killing the plant (we also generally recommend not watering orchids with ice cubes). Orchids that are about to bloom may also shed their buds if overwatered. This delicate plant should be allowed to dry out between watering. For more see our expert guide on how to water orchid plants at home.
  • Avoid misting the flowers as it could result in fungal disease.
  • Fertilize orchid plants monthly during their active growing season.
  • Ensure you’re using a suitable orchid plant potting vessel.

The Best Orchid Flower Delivery Services in Your City:

Looking for the best florists and flower shops offering exceptional orchid delivery services in your city?  See our expert guide to the best orchid delivery services in New York City; the best florists for orchids in Los Angeles; and our go-to flower shops and floral design studios for orchids in Miami.

Petal Republic’s Expert Guides to Orchids:

Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

Author Andrew Gaumond

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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