i've probably had a thing for potted orchids since i was a kid and saw pictures of tall white phalaenopsis orchids in the glamorous new york apartments of halston and liza (i know- waaayyy too gay, even as a child). back then, orchids were quite expensive but now you can get them for $12.99 at trader joe's, or maybe a little more than that at your local supermarket or home depot. even if you are on the tightest of budgets, a $12.99 investment is sooo worth it for the enjoyment it brings- if maison21 were down to his last $10.00 in the world, he'd probably borrow the other $2.99 and go buy an orchid- they are THAT important.
but you can't just plop the orchid in your home as-is, straight from trader joe's. first, it needs a maison21 makeover:
- step one: throw away whatever outer pot the orchid came in from the store. that's right- throw it away. it's cheap and will make your orchid look cheap and store-bought. not a look we aspire to here at maison21.
- next, keeping the orchid in it's plastic nursery container, place the plant into a chic cache-pot. i like to keep a supply of cool vintage planters on hand, (like the two shown), in different sizes for different size plants, in black, white and brass- my personal accessory color choices.
- now if for some crazy reason you don't have a stash of your own (i mean, everyone does, don't they?) you can start by purchasing a chic planter from ebay or haunt thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales, where with a little searching, there's always something cool to be found.
- tip: if you find a planter you love and it's more than you want to spend- splurge- you'll use it again and again over the years so it's really quite cost-effective in the long run.
- after placing the plant in your container of choice, if the stem of the orchid is tied to a plastic stake, replace the stake with a piece of bamboo, wood or even a straight branch from your garden (better yet- if stalk will stand on it's own, let it).
- replace any plastic clips used to hold stem to stake with a small, inconspicuous piece of gardener's wire, or a TINY bit of brown twine or raffia (no bows used to tie, please- a simple knot with ends cut close will do).
- then, i like to wipe down the leaves of the plant with a little olive oil to remove water spots and make them green and glossy.
- last, for the final touch, cover the brown orchid bark with a packed down layer of green moss- available by the bag at any hardware/garden center for about 5 bucks (one bag lasts forever). the moss gets messy, so do this step over newspaper, or outside.
- if pressed for time, skip the middle steps, but a chic planter and the moss are a must (some orchid purists say no moss, but they are already using expensive exotic blooms- we're trying to make an off-the-rack bloom look couture, so the moss is vital).
- when finished, place your orchid in a prominent spot where it will be viewed often (i like to keep one on a console in my entry hall and another on my mantle), water once a week, and enjoy- i've had blooms last for up to 3-4 months.