Orchids come in many colors, shades, and patterns. Vibrant red, pink, white, salmon, purple, and I could continue. These flowers are loved for this feature. You can have many orchids in your home, and none of them will be similar to each other.
But what about the blue orchids? You might have seen them at your supermarket or local florist shops. Usually, these are all Phalaenopsis orchids, but you can see Dendrobium orchids as well.
Are they real or fake? My answer is yes, they are fake. The blue Phalaenopsis orchids from your local store are all fake, and the sellers are asking double the price for them.
However, there are real blue orchids, but these don’t have the true-blue color. Orchids don’t have the genetic makeup to make this pigment.
In this article, you can find some interesting info about blue orchids.
Blue Phalaenopsis Orchids
Blue Phalaenopsis orchids are actually white Phalaenopsis orchids. But how do they turn this vibrant blue color?
Well, this is a trick, which doesn’t last forever. These plants are dyed manually. Different growers use different methods for dyeing by injecting pigments into the stem.
The dye is a special formula that will provide vibrant colors by ensuring the right concentration and consistency of the coloring material. After injecting the formula into a small hole in the stem, this is then covered with wax.
In 24 hours, the blooms will start to change their colors as the water which rises up in the stem will take the coloring formula to the flowers and these will change their color.
The procedure is usually done on white orchids, as these have no pigments and the final color will be clear and vibrant.
If the dyeing is not made properly and professionally, the plants can be damaged and could die. The coloring formula can overload the stem, then this will become mushy and then the color can leak from your plants.
The truth is that any color could be used to dye a white orchid. Some growers make orange or green orchids as well.
How Long do Orchids Remain Blue?
If you have a blue orchid, which is actually dyed, you might be wondering how long this color will last?
Unfortunately, the deep blue color in your orchids will be temporary. After the blue-colored flowers will fall off, the next blooming will be a pale blue IF you are very lucky. But usually, these orchids will bloom in their natural color, which most of the time is white.
If you don’t want to be disappointed, you should read the label before buying a blue orchid. That will tell you if the orchid is “injected” or “infused”, which means it is colored manually, so its original color is not blue.
Are Artificially Colored Orchids Toxic?
You might be wondering: is an orchid toxic or not? Well, most of the orchids are not toxic for cats and dogs.
Even more, some orchids are edible and are used in different Asian dishes.
However, there are orchids which are not researched yet and there are some of them which have been confirmed as toxic to humans.
Phalaenopsis orchids have been confirmed as safe for pets and humans. But what about the artificially colored Phalaenopsis orchids? I would say they are NOT safe to consume, and the problem is not the plant.
In many cases, we don’t know what coloring formula is used to dye the flowers. Many growers refuse to reveal their secrets. Therefore, I would suggest NOT to consume blue orchids.
However, the coloring formula is not irritable to the skin, and there is no evidence of cases of intoxication from these colored orchids.
So, artificially colored orchids are not toxic, but it is not advised to eat them.
True Blue Orchids
As I mentioned earlier, there are no true-blue orchids, especially not Phalaenopsis orchids. However, there are few blue varieties. But even these are not vibrant blue, more like purplish, pinkish-blue.
These blueish orchids are very rare, and some varieties are endangered. Let me present to you a few of these special orchids.
– Vanda coerulea
Vanda coerulea is also named Autumn lady’s tresses orchid, or Blue Vanda.
This orchid is native in Asia (India, Thailand, Myanmar, and China). These grow on high, little-leafed trees. They love the full sun, lots of wind and rain.
Blue Vanda usually has long-lasting flowers and those are variable in size, shape, and color. The flowers’ petals are usually blue with darker veins forming a mesh, but they can be dark blue, white or pink. However, sometimes darker lines are not present.
In the middle of the flower, the smaller lip is usually a very dark purple-blue and its sides are white.
– Thelymitra crinita
Thelymitra crinita is native in Western Australia and is also named the Blue Lady Orchid, Queen Orchid, or Lilly Orchid.
Usually grows in coastal or near-coastal forests, sometimes in muddy and swampy places. It is a sun orchid, which means it will close its flowers at night or when it is cloudy or cool weather.
This type of orchid has a single leaf that is broad and oval and usually has up to fifteen brilliant blue flowers.
– Thelymitra cyanea
Thelymitra cyanea is also a sun orchid, so it will close its flowers when there is no sun. This is native in south-eastern Australia and New Zealand.
It is also known as Veined Sun Orchid, Swamp Sun Orchid, or Striped Sun Orchid.
As its names stated, it likes the swampy and sunny places. This type of orchid has a single straight, chubby and channeled leaf and up to five bright blue flowers which has darker blue veins on the petals.
– Thelymitra ixioides
Thelymitra ixioides also known as Spotted Sun Orchid or Dotted Sun Orchid, grows to 60 cm tall, has small leaf (2 cm long and 1 cm wide). Usually has up to eight flowers which are 2-3 cm in diameter and their color is blue or mauve with dark spots.
It is native to southern and eastern Australia and also New Zealand.
– Thelymitra pauciflora
As the other presented Thelymitra varieties, this is also native in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia is also called Slender Sun Orchid and in New Zealand is called Maika.
It is the most widespread orchid in Australia, except Western Australia. It is usually growing in open grassland, clay banks but also woodland and sclerophyll forests.
Thelymitra pauciflora has a single straight leaf that is 30 cm long and 6 mm wide, and its base is purple and spotted in rust.
The flower stem has around twelve small flowers, and at a time will open only 2 or 3 of them. These are dark blue, mauve, or magenta in New Zealand, and pale blue, pink, or white in Australia.
– Queen Victoria’s Dendrobium
In another name Dendrobium Victoria-reginae, Dendrobium celeste or Pedilonum Victoria-reginae. It is native to the Philippines.
They grow in dense forests so it doesn’t like the direct sunlight. It has many unsubdivided papery leaves and violet or purple flowers with a darker tip and white center.
– Rhynchostylis Coelestis
Rhynchostylis Coelestis is native to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. These are also called The Sky-Blue Rhynchistylis, Saccolabium celeste, or Vanda pseudo-coerulescens.
They grow in the deciduous forests where the dry season lasts longer. Its stem carries several fleshy, alternate leaves which are 10-20 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. This type of orchids has many flowers which are 1-2 cm in diameter and they are white with purple, purple-blue spots.
Now that you know that some of the blue orchids are not real, you can decide whether you buy these vibrant blue Phalaenopsis orchids or not.
It is nothing wrong if you like them and buy them. But make sure you don’t get disappointed when the next blooming is not blue, but white.