Orchids: Beautiful flowers in a variety of colors

Everybody loves orchids – the overall exotic appearance, the beautiful look, the magnificent scent… all these make orchids a favorite flower for millions. But what many people don’t know is that orchids come in a great variety of colors as well. Practically, they come in pretty much every color – except for blue, but we’ll get back on that a little later.

White orchids


Probably the best known variety of flowers – white, or white with dots; this is what most people imagine when they think of orchids. They are quite common now, despite the fact that they were once considered flowers only for extremely rich people, because they were quite difficult to grow under European conditions. The gorgeous white Dendobium fytchianum was discovered by a Captain Grant and Colonel Fytche in Burma in 1863.

Yellow orchids

Of course, yellow orchids came after the white orchids, and brought a whole new level to the table. Back in the day, they were a truly rare sight, and much more pretentious than their white counterparts.

Pink orchids

Pink orchids are probably the most popular choice today; such bouquets and flower arrangements are perfect for pretty much any occasion, and the significance is so broad and universally positive that whenever you’re in doubt, you can just go for the pink orchids.

Red Orchids

Red orchids are not quite a common site, but they’re quickly growing in popularity. Red orchids are often described as “an Asian love’s dream”. They are sophisticated but sincere flowers – the perfect choice for Valentine’s day.

Purple Orchids

Ahhh… purple orchids! The editor’s choice, they are royal members of the flower family. Purple orchids symbolize mystery, royalty, and spirituality – all combined in one single color. They are, by excellence, a symbol of nobility, ceremony and distinction. The meaning of these flowers is deep and should not be taken lightly. You can read more about purple orchids on the page I wrote specially for them, so I won’t go even more into details.

Black orchids

So do black orchids even exist? They definitely do! Orchid growers and hobbyists have been trying to  grow a black orchid for decades, and after all this time, they finally did it. Why such a fascination for black flowers of all kind still persists is beyond me but… who knows.

Blue orchids

Well as I was saying, there is no true blue orchid. There is actually a lot of debate around this subject There are plenty of purple orchids, even black orchids, but there are no blue ones – technically speaking. However, a lot of varieties are manipulated towards this goal, and probably, pretty soon blue orchids will become reality; and when you think about it, blue and purple roses would make a wonderful bouquet.

The purple… carrots!

Well, today we’re gonna take a little stroll from our usual purple flowers discussions, to talk about the carrots. Why? Well, because you should know that carrots were initially purple. That’s right.

Before the 17th century, virtually all the cultivated carrots were purple, and the modern, orange carrot we see today wasn’t cultivated until Dutch growers in the late 16th century decided they want to make it of that colour, to signify their dominance (orange was their colour). In order to do this, they took mutant strains of the purple carrot, including yellow and white carrots and gradually developed them into the sweet, plump, orange variety we have today. Before that, even white carrots were more common than orange ones.

However, some people think that the mutation wasn’t made in an attempt to bring honor and glory to the House of Orange and honor Dutch independence; they believe the Dutch wanted to make it tastier and more resilient, and the colour came out as a side effect. So just so you know, if you see a purple carrot, it’s not a freak or something – it’s just keeping it real.

Purple lotus

Lotus flowers are very important in various cultures and religions throughout the world, especially in Indian and Egyptian cultures. In the most ancient times, millennia BC, lotus flowers signified the virtues of sexual purity.

Purple lotus meaning

“As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world” ~ Gautama Buddha ~

However, in many prominent cultures in Indo-Asia, the lotus has different meanings. Often used as an example of divine beauty, the most important god in Indian mythology is often described as the ‘Lotus-Eyed One’ – its unfolding petals signifying the development of the soul. Also, the growth of this beautiful flower from the mud suggests that beautiful things can be born from dirty environments, and sometimes, the most beautiful souls have humble origins – an important theme in Indian mythology.

Most deities of Asian religions are depicted as seated on a lotus flower. For Buddhists, the rise of the lotus from the mud represents the purity of body, speech and mind – rising above the bodily pleasures. However, as time passed, the meaning of the lotus began to shift towards beauty, peace and grace. In Egypt, the lotus is closely associated with the Sun.

 

Today, lotus flowers should be preserved and observed only in their natural environment, where they belong; sadly though, many people pick them and sell them in markets, especially in India and Asia, so even if you are fascinated by the beauty of the lotus, be it of any colour, please, don’t support these activities.

As for the colour, the purple lotus is considered above all to be mythical and sacred, holding a special place among the flower kingdom.

Facts about purple lotus flowers

Lotus aren’t the typical plants to plant in your home, even if you have a great garden. Lotus flowers are typically planted in the soil of the pond or river bottom, while the leaves float on top of the water surface – you will usually see them rising just a few centimeters above water level.

What’s interesting about them, and not a lot of people know this, is that the flowers, seeds, young leaves and rhizomes are all edible – which doesn’t mean you should go out and eat them; however, in Asia they are used as food wrapping, and sometimes the petals are used as a garnish.

If you ask me, it’s a shame; lotus flowers, the most sacred flowers in the world – should be revered and admired in their natural environment.

Flower meanings, part 1

The subtle art of flower giving is sadly declining – too people today know whether when to give a rose and when to give a lily, and not nearly enough folks know what’s you should bring at special events. That’s why, we at Purple Flowers AZ are trying to bring it to light more. Here are just a few flowers and their correspondent meanings – this is the first post in the series.

Rose

If you don’t know this – you’re probably from another planet. Roses symbolize love. Depending on the colour they can be more suggestive towards a passionate love (red), respectful (white), or just something special (purple).

Orchid

Orchids are a symbol of exotic beauty and refinement. It is also a (relatively modern) symbol of powerful feminity.

Tulip

Tulips symbolize a perfect, fulfilled love. Not the thing you want to give your kids for their teacher. Perfect gift for your wedding anniversary, for example.

Anemone

Not the typical flower to be given – the anemone symbolizes fading hope, or perhaps anticipation.

Daffodil

Daffodils are among the few flowers women can give to men on every occasion – they symbolize regard and chivalry, as well as eternal life.

Calla lily

Platonic beauty – not the flower to give to somebody you are interested in romantically.

Freesia

Freesia flowers smell magnificently, and they are the perfect flowers to give to somebody you don’t see a lot, as they symbolize thoughtfulness, and caring for someone regardless of distance.

Lavender

Purity

Daisy

Purity and innocence

Gladiolus

Quite a powerful symbolism for Gladiolae – strength of character, faithfulness and honor are what these flowers stand for.

Hyacinth

These are the flowers to playfulness and sporty attitude – perfect for sporting events.

Iris

You can read more about the iris flowers here, but aside for what’s written there, another symbol for iris flowers is eloquence. The perfect flowers to give to someone who just held a great speech.

That’s about all I can think about right now, but stay tuned, we’ll get back with more flower meanings.

Purple Orchid

Purple orchid

Orchids are flowery plants typically native to the tropics, however they’re quite easy to grow in your own garden, as they’re surprisingly durable. With the proper care, nurturing and love, these flowers can grow to live for years and years. These exquisite flowers come in a variety of colors, including purple.

Purple orchid description

Purple orchid

The purple orchid originates from Greece and is a species of orchid in the genus Orchis. “Orchid” comes from the Greek “orchis”, which oddly enough means testicle and represents virility. Maybe in ancient times it was a symbol of manhood, but in our days, women not only adore them, but are also the primary recipients. Double check that with the multibillion dollar flower industry, if you don’t believe me.

The Purple Orchid or the Orchis mascula can grow up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) in height, is green at the base and varying purple on the apex. Its root is made out of two tubers, rounder or ellipsoid. Like most orchids, its leaves are grouped at the base of the stem and are oblong-lanceolate in shape and green in color, although sometimes brownish-purple specks can be observed on the leaves.

The actual inflorescence is between 7 and 12 centimeters long (3 to 4.9 inches) and is comprised of a natural bouquet of 6 to 20 flowers, beautifully lined up in a dense cylinder of spkes. The flower itself is about 2.5 centimeters (0.98 inches) in length and is colored either in pink or violet.

Typically the Purple Orchid blooms April to June.

Purple orchid types

Purple orchid

There are two main purple orchid species. There’s the terrestrial purple orchid that grows on the ground like most commonly sensed plants and flowers. And then there’s the epiphytes purple orchid that grows on trees.

Concerning their color, purple is rather an understatement. Purple orchids come in a myriad of shades and tones, from bright purple to all kinds of lavender shades, depending on the particular species.

Purple orchid species

Purple orchid

  • Orchis mascula subsp. hispanica (A.Niesch. & C.Niesch.) Soó (1972) (Southern Pyrenees, Spain, Portugal, Morocco)
  • Orchis mascula subsp. longibracteatoides Balayer (1986) (Eastern Pyrenees)
  • Orchis mascula subsp. longicalcarata Akhalkatski, H. Baumann, R. Lorenz, Mosulishvili &R. Peter (2005) (Eastern and central Caucasus)
  • Orchis mascula subsp. maghrebiana B. Baumann & H. Baumann (2005)(Morocco)
  • Orchis mascula subsp. mascula (N. & C. Europe to Iran, Canary Islands)
  • Orchis mascula subsp. pinetorum (Boiss. & Kotschy) E.G.Camus (1908) (Macedonia to Iran)
  • Orchis mascula subsp. speciosa (Mutel) Hegi (1909) (Europe)
  • Orchis mascula subsp. wanjkovii (E.Wulff) Soó in G.Keller & al. (1932) (Crimea)

The early purple orchid

Early purple orchid

Orchids are quite widespread, one of the most common types is the early purple orchid, often found in habitats with non-acidic soils such as hedgerows, banks, ancient woodland and open grassland.

Early Purple Orchids display up to 50 dark purple flowers arranged in a dense, cone-shaped cluster on a tall spike. The lower lip of each flower has three lobes and the upper petals form a hood. The leaves of the Early Purple Orchid are glossy and dark green with dark spots, and form a rosette on the ground; they appear from January onwards.

How to care for a purple orchid

Like stated earlier, the orchid typically grows in the tropics, but that doesn’t mean it can’t grow anywhere. If you’re keen on growing your own purple orchids, know that it’s fairly simple, and any amateur gardener can end up with some terrific batches. All you need to do is to treat them with much care, offer them nourishment and of course plenty of love.

  • Be sure to place the purple orchid in indirect sunlight  maybe behind the window curtains since too much ultraviolet rays can burn the plant. Here are some hints to know if you’re purple orchid is getting enough light: look at its leaves. If they’re dark green that the plant isn’t getting enough sun light. If they’re red or yellowish-green than they’re getting too much light. You’ve found the perfect balance if your leaves are a bright green.
  • Like for all plant cultures, ambient temperature is very important. While orchids can deal with temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 90 degrees, it won’t hold out for long in these conditions. Ideally, the room in which you grow your purple orchids should be between 60 and 62 degrees at night and between 70 and 80 during the day. Avoid constant temperature through out the day since the orchid needs to enter its natural cycle, which entails a slight temperature fluctuation during the day.
  • Air circulation is also particularly important. Be sure to have fresh air in contact with your orchid. You can easily achieve this by placing it near and open window during summer time or by simply employing an oscillating fan during winter. The fresh air replenishes the plant with much needed carbon dioxide.
  • On to watering, which maybe interests you most of all. During the winter, water the purple orchid only once weekly, and twice weekly during the summer (higher temperatures). If possible avoid tap water, since it has chlorine and might harm the plant.
  • If you want to pump up the process a bit, you can use a fertilizer that has a balanced mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Purple orchid bouquets and arrangements

Purple orchid wedding arrangement

The purple orchid is both exquisite and fairly inexpensive, making it an ideal component for lush arrangements or bouquets. Purple orchid arrangements have become quite popular with weddings, since people seem to appreciate their sweet and exotic color. If you really want to hold a wedding in style, go for lavender orchids for corsages or boutonniere. You’ll definitely attract some eyes with this elegant piece.

Still sticking to arrangements, remember to use a proper coloring scheme when arranging your purple orchids. Use light colors in deep purple orchid arrangements and cream, beige and perhaps pink and lime yellow in lavender orchids arrangements.

If you want to arrange the perfect purple orchid bridal bouquets go for the lavender orchids. There’s no better way to spell the firm elegance of femininity than this extraordinary amalgam of orange tulips, with yellow, deep pink spray roses and green dendrobium orchids.

 

Purple lily

The purple flower is, by all standards, a royal flower – first by colour, and second by shape. Their colourful bloom announce a majestic presence, even a king or a queen.

Purple lily basic information

There are some 80 lily species out there, which are categorized by colour, shape, scent, size, etc – but if you ask me, purple ones are just special. As I said, they are a symbol of royalty. The lily alone, regardless of colour, symbolizes purity, innocence and distinction – add in the purple, and you’ll start to understand why these plants are among the most chic choices.

You can’t really afford to not know anything about flower meanings. Everyone knows for example that red is love and passion, white is innocence, but why not go a little more into the subtleties of the meanings? Purple lilies really shouldn’t be used for any event – it would be actually quite inappropriate to give them at a casual event, or at one with friends and family – except if your friends are royalty; they should be saved for the really special occasions, the ones where typical choices just won’t cut it.

Purple calla lilies

A special mention worth giving is about purple calla lilies. Purple calla lilies are a species native to South America, and they are absolutely spectacular; the name itself is suggestive: “calla”, in Greek, means beautiful.

However, the name is also a trap. Purple calla lilies are actually not callas, nor are they lilies, so just something worth mentioning.

Purple lily bouquets

Giving a purple lily to someone is definitely remarkable, but if you want to go the extra mile, go for a bouquet! A simple bouquet will go a long way, not only in terms of aspect, but also the scent… is just out of this world, fabulously cascading from the bouquet. Wrap them with a bride, or even better – a silk bow, and it will look ravishing in any hands.

You can go for a simple bouquet, or mix it with other flowers – especially white flowers. The contrast is just stunning, without losing anything from the meanings – on the contrary, it adds a more subtle respect to the theme.

Caring for purple lilies

Why buy flowers, when you can bring the beauty inside your garden – or even your home.

The good time to plant them is in the spring or in the mid autumn. You should be sure to use organic material in the soil, and fertilize in the spring. You should be sure to plant them in a sunny, drained environment.

Extremely important! Be sure to keep your purple lilies away from cats, as they are poisonous to them; and if your cat is anything like mine, then it is a little tempted to eat a little bit of everything.

So, there you have it – a symbol of majesty, royalty, and sophistication. Not your average flower, on the contrary: a special flower, only for a special person.

Purple iris

The purple iris, Iris versicolo, aside from being one of the most beautiful plants out there, has one of the most interesting common names: the Harlequin Blueflag.

Mythological origin

In Greek mythology, Iris was a goddess, believed to act as a messenger between Heaven and Earth, personified as a rainbow. Purple irises were planted on graves, mostly graves of women, to help guide them towards heaven. But Greeks weren’t the only ones fascinated by this magnificent flower. Iris flowers come in a variety of colours, which is most likely why the flower became the symbol of the goddess.

Egyptian kings marveled at the beauty of purple irises, with drawings being found in many palaces. During the Middle Ages, the symbolistic of this flower became even more powerful. It mainly became linked with the French aristocracy, the dominant power in Europe at the time – the Fleur-de-lis eventually became the recognized national symbol of France, which it remained for many years.

Purple iris meaning

Through all its intricate history, the purple iris symbolizes faith, wisdom, and hope. Especially in France, it also symbolizes royalty and majesty.

From the Middle Ages, irises were used to create perfumes and all sorts of medicinal remedies; some suspect they were used even in the old Egyptian days.

In the early 17th century, the historic book “Partheneia Sacra”, written by English Jesuit priest Henry Hawkins was considered to be an important landmark, addressed to a strict devotional society, the Parthenian Sodality of the Immaculate Conception. In this book, he described the purple iris as a symbol of the Virgin Mary.

In some parts of Asia as well, dark blue or purple iris can be a symbol of royalty or even passion, while in the Americas, these purple flowers are given as a “gel well soon” sign. Also, in more modern times, it is common to give them out at your 25 year wedding anniversary. However, in most areas of the world, it is a symbol of hope and faith.

Caring for purple irises

Caring and growing purple irises in your garden is the bomb – it will bring a burst of colour and beauty! There’s some 200-300 species of iris in the world, with different characteristics.

However, there are some characteristics common to all species. Irises love the Sun. Plant them in the early fall, and avoid soggy soils which can cause them to rot. Place plants at least 30 cm apart for best results, if you want to apply fertilizers (which isn’t really all that necessary), avoid directly on the clumps as this can burn and injure the rhizomes. Also, avoid using mulches.

There aren’t really many pests issues, but if you see such a problem, be sure to take care of it promptly, because it can really scale out of control.

You can also successfully grow irises in pots, inside your apartment. Again, the key is sunlight – give them as much sun as possible and water only when the top two inches of soil are dry.

For other beautiful purple flowers, check out purple roses

Purple roses

If you look up ‘rose’ in a botanical atlas, you’ll see that it is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae; but this tells you nothing about the beauty of the flower, about its delightful look, smell, about its supremacy in the kingdom of flowers. Roses come in one shape, but many colours: they range from white or pale yellow to blood red, black and, of course… purple!

The meaning of a purple rose

Purple roses stand for enchantment, royalty, and respect – nothing can conjure an aura of love and mystery like them. Give a woman a red rose to signal your passionate, burning love for her, but let a purple rose speak a different, more deeper story, a story about a meaningful, true, respectful love. This is why, in modern days, it’s become a favorite for Valentine’s day and anniversaries; it’s the perfect way of telling a woman she is the queen of your heart. Few people actually know that this is the flower of choice when you want to say you’ve fallen in love at first sight – and sometimes a subtle gesture can go a long way. Especially a bouquet of purple and white roses express a deep, but pure love.

Another meaning is royalty. If you are somehow invited to a royal event, you would never give a queen a red or yellow rose! You should never give one to any high class woman for that matter – except if you’re courting her. Purple is definitely the colour you want to go for. A purple rose is opulence, glory, it is majesty at its finest, fitting only for those of total elegance and grandeur.

Last but perhaps not least, it is a symbol of discretion. In more troubled times, priests would wear a purple flower to signify their belonging to a certain group, in case they didn’t want anyone else to know this. The meaning propagated, symbolizing today a secret relationship, most often a secret love. If you care for someone but don’t want people knowing it, this is the most elegant way to express your feelings.

Purple rose history

There is actually no true purple rose: the actual colours are lilac, purple-blue, plum and lavender. However, this colour didn’t appear all by itself: man had to give Mother Nature a piece of help, because men wanted to express a certain, special emotion, and wanted to transmit it with the help of a single flower.

It’s still unclear when the quest for purple roses began, but it most likely started more than two centuries ago; people started mixing different genetic types of flowers, and this wonderful colour was obtained. As time passed, they started to differentiate from other types of roses even more.

Caring for a purple rose

If you want to go the extra mile and turn your garden into a fantastic kingdom of beauty, or if you simply want to add an extra majestic something, you should know that caring for purple roses is not really different than caring for other roses.

Not many parts of the world have enough rainfall for the plants, so you should be sure to when them when the soil gets dried up – typically, a few times a week, preferably in the morning. Roses require fertilizing once a year, but they enjoy an additional treat too.

Pests are not usually a problem for this kind of flowers, but if you do get something, then there’s something seriously wrong, and that really depends on your local fauna – ask your local florist and he’ll tell you what to do. The only real problem when caring for roses is wintertime. Many rosarians have developed favorite methods, mostly depending on their area, which can have lighter of heavier winters. If there’s a big freeze going down, as painful as it could be, you should cut down the roses to about 60 centimeters (24 inches), to be prevent them from becoming battered by wind and ice. If storms are also an issue, you should also tie the canes together with twine to protect from winds. If you want to make sure everything is fine, form a mound of fresh, loose soil or compost around each plant.

So, I hope I’ve sparked your interest for these remarkable flowers; purple flowers aren’t your average flower, and they’re not suitable for everybody, but if you’re among the special few, pick a flower that’s among the special few.