Global Hobby With Millions Of Fans

They look exotic, like butterflies and ballerinas. They have faces like monkeys or figures like humans or long trails of petals like hair.

They smell like nothing or they smell of chocolate, vanilla, mint, pepper and roses. To a bee, they smell like a bee.

They are orchids and their fans are legion.

Orchid cultivation, one of the world's most-widespread hobbies, is surprisingly social. In every state and every country, orchid enthusiasts meet regularly to exchange tips and tricks for growing this flower that attracts every type of person, from farmers to attorneys. In fact, you can travel along “orchid trails” to visit the greenhouses of growers in every state. Travel destinations from California to Malaysia attract enthusiasts worldwide to see some of the 28,000 accepted species. In fact, more orchid species exist than species of birds and mammals. Only the number of species of bony fish come close to the number of orchids.

Because of their historical link with wealth and style, growing orchids is sometimes said to be expensive and difficult, but it really is neither. You can buy a stem for about $20 at a grocery store. The flowers are best grown in pots because the microscopic seeds require specialized conditions to grow. Orchids mostly require bright light, but not direct sunlight. They do require the grower's attention because they need water and airflow, but not too much; and some might need mist, but only at certain times. Orchids require a certain level of care and attention to thrive, which can provide a sense of accomplishment when they bloom successfully.


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