‘Tis the Season for Orchids!

“The earth laughs in flowers.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

We could all use a taste of the tropics during this cold, grey winter. Exotic, beautiful orchids are the jewels of the plant world, and are featured in our Jewels of Winter Orchid Show, on display now through March 16 in the Garden Conservatory in the D. D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens.

How much do you know about orchids? Horticulture Director Keith Kaiser answers some of the most frequently asked questions about these delicate beauties below.

Q: Do orchids grow well in the home?

KK: Yes, some can do very well.  However, the best type to start with would be Phalaenopsis the Moth Orchid and Paphiopedilum the Slipper Orchid. These types will do best in the home for the beginner orchid enthusiast.

Q: I see orchids for sale in the stores that say all that is required is to place ice cubes in the pot to meet their watering needs, is that true?

KK: Well, not really. Each type of orchid has specific water requirements, so watering methods should not be generalized. Using ice cubes to water the Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid is not a horticulturally sound practice. First, the amount of water received from a melted ice cube varies. It is much better to thoroughly water the roots until water runs through the drainage holes in the pot when watering is needed. Plus, the practice of placing something frozen on living plant tissue is harmful to the plant.

Q: Are all orchids related to each other?

KK: The Orchidaceae plant family is one of the largest flowering plant families on Earth. To date, nearly 26,000 species within 880 genera have been recorded.

Q: I heard that vanilla is from an orchid plant. Is that true?

KK: Yes, the popular flavoring used to make ice cream, cookies and candy is the seed pod of the Vanilla planifolia plant.  Actually, the part of the pod that is used for flavoring is the inside of the dried and conditioned pod including the seeds.

Now that you know a little more about these unique plants, attend one of our classes below to continue learning about the wonderful world of orchids.

Beginner Orchids – Thursday, February 6 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Have you always wanted to grow orchids, but don’t know where to start? Becoming an orchid owner may seem daunting, but this class will ease your fears and help you get your orchid to its first birthday and beyond. Dave Miller and Jackie Land will share ways to keep your orchid growing beautifully in your home.

Fee: $12; FFRG member: $10

Orchid Walk-About – Saturday, February 8 and Tuesday, March 4 from 10 a.m. – Noon

Dave Miller from the Greater Akron Orchid Society will lead an orchid walk highlighting the main varieties of orchids displayed throughout the Davis Center. You may bring an actual orchid to the walk to be diagnosed.

Fee: free

Orchid Clinic – Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday, March 6 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Dave Miller and Jackie Land will walk you through repotting your very own orchid. Bring any problem orchids you may have and they will help you get them back on track. Plus, receive an orchid to repot in class and take home.

Fee: $20; FFRG member: $15


Please call Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330.740.7116 for more information and to register for these orchid events. The D. D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fellows Riverside Gardens is open daily from dawn to dusk.