The Orchid Flower: Origins, Meaning, Symbolism, Colors, and Care Tips.

They say that the gift we choose to give to someone says a lot about who we are ourselves.  Whatever the occasion may be at a hand – a Birthday, Mother’s Day, anniversary a thank you message, graduation, or a host of other special occasions – a flower can be the perfect medium to convey our sentiments and emotions. Orchids are an example of such flowers that make an ideal gift for different occasions. These special, delicate beauties renown as a symbol of pure love, beauty, luxury, and toughness. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Orchid flower meaning, symbolism, gifting, and more:

Looking for your next orchid plant? See our guide to the best specialist floristry studios and nurseries for orchid delivery throughout the United States.

The Orchid Flower:

The Orchid Flower

The name orchid, in fact, refers to the diverse botanical family Orchidaceae, which comprises thousands of species and varieties. Orchidaceae is known to be one of the two largest families of flowering plants.

Orchids are also perennial herbs that have no permanent woody structure. The intricate features of its flowers make orchids a standout and easily distinguishable from other famed flowering plants. Some orchids bear single flowers, while most kinds showcase inflorescence or clusters of flowers.

The term orchid was coined by renowned English botanist John Lindley in 1845. It originated from the Greek word “orkhis,” which roughly translates to the male anatomy.

Orchid Flower Meaning

Orchid flower meaning

The ubiquitousness of delicate orchids is a result of their undeniable beauty and easy-to-care 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 large orchid tubers, 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. What’s more the orchid is thought to bring a number of positive benefits in feng shui practices.

Orchid Flower Color Meaning

Orchid Flower Symbolism

Different colors of orchids are representative of different meanings. As with other known white flowers, white orchids are a symbol of purity and innocence. They are also often associated with luxury, elegance, and reverence.

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.

Purple orchids represent admiration, respect, and royalty, while orange orchids often depict boldness, pride, and positivity.

Cultural Significance of Orchids

Cultural significance of orchid flowers

The flowers of orchids also play 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, while the Guarianthe skinneri for Costa Rica.

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

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

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.

White Orchid Flower Meaning and Symbolism:

White Orchid in Vase

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

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, right? In addition, these white orchids exhibit elegance with their long-lasting flowers that appear once or twice a year. 

Orchids as a Housewarming or Hostess Gift

Thank a homeowner for welcoming you into her 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 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 what suits best is a 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, symbolizes pure affection and charm. They are famed as the 14th wedding anniversary flower and 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.

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, or 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. You just have to make sure that you get a healthy plant that will give out gorgeous flowers for months. But how would you know if an orchid plant is at its optimum performance? Here are some hints:

  • Examine the roots. Doing so is simple since orchids are epiphytes. Healthy orchids have thick, succulent, 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. Though this factor can be tricky for orchids because of their extensive selection of varieties, the general rule is that the leaves should be thick, lightly-colored (apple green like), and hard. Too green and glossy leaves could mean that the plants are overfed and, as a result, would not bloom too well. Orchid leaves should also be free from leaf spots, blemishes, or insect pests. The stems, on the other hand, 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 would most likely die down.
  • Check the potting. It’s not enough that the orchid plant is healthy. Also, take into consideration how it is potted since most orchids are epiphytes and require good airflow. Poor aeration would make the plant perform poorly.

How to Care for Orchids

How to Care for Orchid Flowers

These spectacular flowers sure are 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 the orchids carefully. These plants do not thrive well in extreme temperatures, so proper care should be noted. If it’s too cold, wrap them to avoid frostbite or damage. If it’s too hot or too warm, keep them from too much light exposure and high temperature.
  • 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 expose the orchid to direct sunlight.
  • Do not overwater the orchid plant. Too much water exposure may cause failure to bloom or black rot and kill the plant. 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 to how to water orchid plants at home.
  • Avoid misting the flowers as it could result in fungal disease.
  • Maximize the orchid’s potential by using a urea-free fertilizer.

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:


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