Dress up your home with orchids

They have long been the interior designer's favourite indoor plant - no Kelly Hoppen interior is complete without an arrangement of orchids. And prices have come down considerably, so get 2021 off to a bright, colourful and exotic start with some of these lovely long-lived (fingers crossed) houseplants

By Abby Trow
Miltonia orchid. www.orchidsinfo.eu

Orchids - Britons' favourite plant - have the delightfulness of a vase of flowers and give you the sense you've got air-improving plants in the house. They stay in bloom for several months and should, once you've mastered the art of caring for them, re-bloom. Leading Dutch interior designer Roderick Vos says if you haven't already started buying them for your home, then get going as they offer the simplest way to make any room look instantly more lovely. And don't just think in terms of one.. Pictured above: one of the more unusual orchids, the Miltonia

Orchids are endlessly fascinating with their complex sculptural blooms and variegated colour. They're exquisite exotic works of art, yet they have a minimalism about them - which explains why so many contemporary interior designers love them. They have great presence yet they're not overpowering. (And yes, ok, they may not always prove the easiest plant to keep in fine fettle, but more on that later.)

Roderick Vos, who worked with pot orchid growers of the Netherlands on its recent Art of Life campaign, says the thing is that now orchids don't cost mega bucks (see orchids at M&S, John Lewis, Dobbies, Waitrose), it's time be more adventurous and think about using orchids en masse, rather than just having individual ones in a room.

Orchids are our most beloved houseplant
A trio of phalaenopsis brightens up a windowsill

Get hold of a display unit - a simple wood or aluminium one - and build up a collection of different varieties of orchid to give wonderful colour and interest to a room. 

And if you want to go all interior designer, you could suspend small orchids in pots from the ceiling or a wall bracket...Vos himself has designed the Orquid aluminium planter for Art of Life that can be hung.

'Orchids are unique and exceptionally diverse. Their variegated colour draws attention in every interior, even more so if you make the effort to combine different orchids. They virtually serve as a painting in a room,' says Vos.

And if you're thinking 'what about the cost?', why not ask friends and family to give you an orchid for Christmas and birthdays. And Valentine's Day is another opportunity to request one.

Faux orchids

Silk flowers have come a long way, but some species of plant lend themselves better than others to being reproduced in textile form and happily the orchid is one of them.

In fact silk orchids can look incredibly realistic - see UK-made ones at Bloom and Peony. They may seem a little pricey, especially if you buy the larger displays, but remember they will last for many years with regular dusting.

So if you find that orchids have a tendency to die on you, you could always go down the faux option.

 

For super duper orchids try Flowerbx
But don't dismiss supermarket orchids.. Waitrose grows its plants in the UK
Terrarium with orchid from The Urban Botanist
Faux orchids are incredibly realistic
Orchids are so pretty
Mix up your colours
The limited edition Orquid orchid planter by Roderick Vos
The Little Botanical Orchid, £21.99 at Dobbies

Caring for orchids

Everyone has tips to keep orchids looking good and lots of us find they don't work...

But some basic dos and don'ts from those expert Dutch pot orchid growners:

Keep orchids in well-lit spots and in rooms where temperatures are 18-20 degrees.

Keep them OUT of draughts and direct sunlight and never put on or near a radiator.

Don't put them by fruit bowls as fruit produces gases that cause orchids to age.

Water the soil only, not the plant.

Keep orchids drier in winter than in summer. 

Orchids need very little water.