Indigo beautiful color but confusing… I say so because when you look it up in addition to the swatch that Jennifer has provided for this challenge you’ll find a color that is more of a dark blue, which I thought was more so what Indigo is. Then again it’s defined as the color on the wheel between Blue & Purple. So to keep it in line with the challenge and the swatch that she has provided I have chosen the following images.
Another reason why I like these photos for this week is because they’re a bit ironic given the above conundrum of just what is indigo? Shortly after I started collecting Orchids I discovered that there isn’t a really true blue Orchid. In fact blue flowers aren’t all that common in nature period. I’m sure you’ve seen some blue Orchids in the store – like Phalaenopsis ‘Pink Pirate’ I first shared with you in March – however this effect is actually due to a patented process wherein they inject blue dye into the flower spike. This plant is currently in bloom again – which I will share in the near future – and it’s certainly more of a ‘Pink Pirate’ as is its namesake. In the fourth photo the pink color in middle of the bloom is closer to the actual color of the flower. Not all blue Orchids you see in the store are actually pink but I can assure you they’re not blue.
And if you don’t already know Phalaenopsis are also known as the Moth Orchid, no doubt you’ve probably seen one just about every store you visit! Most of what you’ve seen I’ll bet are also all very much the same, and they typically are common clones. But these selections belie the true variety that exists as there are literally thousands – mostly man-made – out there to be admired. The following I got at a big box store, but if you ever really want to see some more options look up your local Orchid grower and/or visit an Orchid Show, tis almost the season. Be sure to stay tuned for pictures from the shows I visit. Oh and one last thing, if you’re like I used to be and have killed a Moth Orchid or two chances are you over-watered it. Orchid roots need to be able to breathe, too dense of potting medium – don’t ever use potting soil, use some of mixture of bark, moss, charcoal, perlite, lava rock, and/or clay pebbles, etc. – that doesn’t allow for air flow and retains too much water for too long will suffocate the roots causing them to rot. When your roots rot the plant can’t take up water and nutrients thus it begins to wilt and die. They can of course die from not enough water but in both cases the leaves will begin to wrinkle and droop. Check the roots first, if they are plump and green or a silvery greenish-white then you’re not watering enough. If they’re mushy and brown, yup they rotted. Best in that case to repot it into an Orchid mixture and do be heavy-handed with the water. Put these guys in an east facing window preferably, no direct sunlight, and water them once the medium is dry.
By the way, I decided to repeat these photos not as my real entries for the challenge but mostly because they fit it so well. 😉 Anywho, so the irony with these weeks color continues. The following Orchid is a member of the Zygopetalinae tribe – like my Alantuckerara hybrid, Zygolum Rhein ‘Moonlight’, the recently shared Ianclarkara Cheyenne Marie ‘Midori’, & Neopabstopetalum to name a few of mine. This particular Orchid is Zygonisia Cynosure ‘Blue Water Sailing’. See what I mean, Blue Water Sailing? Nevertheless I was thrilled to have found this hybrid as I had seen beautiful pictures of it. This plant I got came in bloom with three spikes. 😀 Zygopetalum hybrids do well in Phalaenopsis conditions but I do believe they actually prefer brighter light, although I am still working this out with my hybrids, we’ll really see when the weather heats up. Also they prefer humidity levels 50% and above, which right now I try to get something close to 50% with a humidifier. They don’t really like to dry out completely in between waterings but they also don’t like to be sopping wet. In my case I definitely don’t water enough. Also air circulation is important, I provide it with a small desk fan, although admittedly not every day all the time.
Now the next Orchid is a Cattleya hybrid. Cattleyas, or Catts, are quite popular and come in all different sizes though most can grow to be quite large plants. While I’m still a relative newbie of this hobby (addiction) I do believe most Catts are fragrant (as are in fact a lot of Zygopetalums) with brilliant showy flowers. This hybrid – Lc. Mini Symphony ‘Elfin Blue’ – is a miniature and while it’s not the most showy by any means it does have a lovely rose-like fragrance and the flowers sparkle a bit in the light. I got this one in bud, it bloomed the very next day. Then several or so months later a new growth matured and gave me another flower! This Catt is considered a blue as well, thus the name. Of course there are many-a-breeders always attempting to get something of a more true blue and this hybrid is by no means the truest yet but it is a fine little flower.
Cattleyas typically like really bright light, though not always direct sunlight. However I’ve found this little guy is pretty happy in an east-facing window. They also tend to like to be allowed to dry out in between waterings. Catts are a species I don’t really think like me much at this point though it is one of my resolutions to bloom several of the other minis I have. Stay tuned as I will certainly share my blooms. 🙂 Lc by the way stands for Laeliocattleya, just one of the many fun hybrid names that accompany Orchids. For other Orchid photos see those from Hausermann’s, pictures from last year’s Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, or just click on my Orchids category.
Which flower do you think best represents Indigo?