Fresh Orchids For Mother’s Day

Orchid Alley Kaua’i has been growing and selling award-winning orchids for 16 years. For Mother’s Day, they will ship baskets to the Mainland, with orchids in full bloom. Orchids include the Pansy Orchid, and the Coconut Orchid, which will fill a room with the smell of coconuts. There are four baskets to choose from, with the top-tier being the Mayor’s Basket.

“At Christmas, we like to send baskets to the mayor,” says Neill. “We had a basket with five orchids in it, ready to go. A gentleman came into the store, saw the basket and bought it. As soon as we made another one, someone else came in, and they bought it. It was so popular, we named it the Mayor’s Basket.”

PANSY ORCHID

Their velvety, round petals are flat-faced, in colors ranging from white to pink to red, often with contrasting waterfall lines radiating outward from the center of the flower. These charming flowers are fragrant and last about five weeks. Tall flower stems carry as many as 10 pansy-like flowers, each growing up to 4 inches wide.

Each flower lasts about a month, then it’ll look wilted. Cut off spent flowers right away.

Season: It takes six years for an orchid to go from seed to flower. Pansy Orchids bloom in March through May, and have a second, lighter flush in September.

Watering: “Pansy Orchids like to stay a lot wetter than other orchids,” says Neill. “They don’t want to dry out completely, they want to almost dry out. So we recommend growing them in a plastic pot, and putting them in a cement or clay pot. This is especially important if you’re sending it to someone on the Mainland because they don’t have the humidity like we do.”

Care: Pansy Orchids prefer shade. If Mom lives in Hawaii, she can keep it in a clay pot and water it less often. Orchid Alley sells food pellets in 7-ounce packets for $5. Use 12-15 pellets per 4-inch pot every 180 days.

Tip: Orchids like to be root-bound and prefer to be snugly ensconced in a pot. It may seem too small, but wait until the roots grow outside of the pot before transplanting. “You want them to almost bust out,” says Neill. “That’s when you repot them. A lot of people kill them by saying, ‘I’m going to give this thing some room to grow in,’ but that’s the kiss of death because you’re creating an area where a bunch of media holds water that never evaporates, and then the roots rot.”

Baskets: Orchids are growers-choice (meaning Orchid Alley selects from the best available), and come in a lauhala basket with sphagnum moss and directions. All prices include shipping. To make a Mother’s Day delivery, place your orders by Wednesday, May 8. Baskets include One Orchid ($69), Two Orchids ($99), Three Orchids ($149), and the Mayor’s Basket ($199, for five orchids).

The Sams’ orchids can only be found at: Orchid Alley Kaua’i, 4-1383 Kuhio Hwy. in historic downtown Kapa’a. For more information, call 822-0486 or visit orchidalleykauai.com. Ask about the 10 percent kama’aina discount.

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