Buy a Hybrid for Valentine’s Day

“Buy a hybrid” is good advice when you’re buying a car, and also when you’re buying an orchid. Hybrids are great choices for Valentine’s gifts, especially for people new to orchids. They’re easier to grow and have showier flowers than most species. You can check out orchid buying basics in my previous posts here and here. Below are 3 great examples of the thousands of hybrid varieties available, including a Phal, a Cattleya, and a Wilsonara.

Phalaenopsis hybridCattleya hybridWilsonara hybrid

For over a century and a half, orchid lovers have been crossbreeding different orchid species. Many resulting hybrids bloom with larger, more colorful, and longer-lasting flowers than their parent species; often they can survive some degree of abuse or neglect. New hybrids constantly top these remarkable standards.

Most orchids sold are hybrids. If you’re buying at a supermarket or big box store, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re purchasing a hybrid. The same hybrid vigor that allows mass-produced orchids to be shipped across oceans and highways guarantees you a tough plant. Many florists and garden centers carry only hybrids, however you can ask which are hybrids and which are temperamental species. You’ll probably only encounter orchid species at some florists and online vendors like Andy’s Orchids, a species specialist. If you want to tackle the pickier needs of an orchid species, Andy’s is a great place to start. But unless your valentine is an experienced orchid grower, stick with hybrids. Remember that you should never take orchid species from the wild or buy wild orchids (it’s illegal, and the plants probably won’t survive the shock anyway.)

You can tell whether an orchid is a hybrid or a species by its name, but many orchids lack name-tags at all, and complicated hybrid names can be written incorrectly. If you’re ready to dive into understanding orchid names, take a deep breath and start here.

One more orchid buying tip: if it’s below freezing where you live, try not to expose unprotected orchids to the cold air. For some orchids, just a few seconds of freezing temps can kill the flowers or the plant. Cover the plant, heat your hybrid car, pull right up to the exit, and pack in your hybrid orchid.

Explore posts in the same categories: Buying Tips, Growing, Misc, Photos

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15 Comments on “Buy a Hybrid for Valentine’s Day”

  1. nancy Says:

    Go hybrids!

  2. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Unrequited Love Says:

    […] Relax — it’s very likely that your gift is a tough hybrid, and with some basic orchid care info, it’s no harder to grow than other houseplants […]

  3. DT65 Says:

    great photos!

  4. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Candyfest 2010 Says:

    […] new hybrid colors on a Cymbidium or an Epidendrum, or a fascinating Dendrobium species […]

  5. Laura H Says:

    Love that beautiful moth orchid!

  6. Hanley Says:

    Very good advice beginners should only buy hybrid orchids because they are very easy to grow.

  7. kit Says:

    I can freeze orchids – vanilla ice cream!

  8. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Mmmm … Coconut Says:

    […] beginners often grow easier hybrids instead of fussier species, but this species is an easy grower and a reliable bloomer.[…]

  9. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Spring News Says:

    […] I’ll concede that some tough hybrids can handle ice water, but most other orchid varieties cannot. […]

  10. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Masdevallia Says:

    […] Masdevallia coccinea has been used as a hybrid parent for decades, and its characteristics appear in many modern orchid hybrids. […]

  11. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Phal Harlequins Says:

    […]Harlequins are a class of Phal hybrids developed by orchid breeders in recent years.[…]

  12. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Samurai Orchid Says:

    […] Its small size, tolerance for cold, and close relation to the Phal and Vanda families make it a popular choice as an orchid hybrid parent. […]

  13. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Odonts Says:

    […] The Odont family includes over 100 species and countless human-made hybrids. […]

  14. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Gift Plants Says:

    […] Most orchids sold today are tough, modern hybrids, and you just need to know a few basics […]

  15. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Ada Says:

    […] They share their beauty and hardiness, but not their short name, with Ada hybrids like Brassada, Adaglossum, and Kriegerara […]