Dutch breeder with the patent for blue dyeing - this is how it works
We owe the blue flowers to the stroke of genius of an orchid grower from the Netherlands, for which we usually look in vain in tropical climes. The inventor had the dyeing technique patented so that the procedure was not publicized down to the last detail. At least you can use the following overview to visualize how it works:
- A pure white Phalaenopsis orchid is used as the starting material
- At the time of budding, the peduncle is connected to a drip via an infusion needle
- The drip is filled with a secret, blue liquid
- The infusion needle is inserted into the stem near the base
- Coloring orchids made easy - this is how blue color gets into the flowers
- How to properly care for a blue orchid
- Are there blue orchids?
While the buds develop, the butterfly orchid remains attached to the drip. In this way it continuously absorbs the blue liquid, which is distributed throughout the plant via the ducts. This process can be recognized by the fact that the aerial roots also turn blue. If everything goes according to plan, blue flowers will develop.
Care requires a special extension
The Phalaenopsis was chosen not least because of its undemanding frugality to act as a starting plant for blue orchid flowers. An important aspect has been added to the normal care program so that the unique tint is retained for a long time. That is how it goes:
- During the flowering period, immerse a blue Phalaenopsis in lime-free, warm water when it is dry
- Add blue food coloring to the dip water
Please do not let the water penetrate into the heart of the plant or into the leaf axils, which can cause rot. If no more air bubbles rise, let the blue immersion water drain off well before you put the orchid back in its planter.
Blue flowers with a short half-life
Without the addition of blue food coloring to the irrigation water, the blue color will noticeably decrease in radiance during the flowering period. Halfway through the time, the color changes to light blue. When the blossoms are shed, the blue magic is finally over. The next generation of buds bloom in pure white.
Coloring blue orchids yourself - tips for chameleon orchids
It is hardly surprising that you have to pay a significantly higher price for a blue orchid in stores. The inventor-breeder invested a lot of money and even more time in developing his patent. He also emphasizes that the dye is a sophisticated chemical preparation that cannot be bought. The tinkerers among the orchid lovers tried anyway. This is how the plan can succeed:
- A white flowering Phalaenopsis orchid is well suited
- Attach a 10 ml syringe with blue food coloring to a freshly sprouting flower stem
- Carefully slide the needle at a slight angle to the center of the stem
- Attach the infusion needle to the shoot with scotch tape or other binding material
- Refill the syringe regularly until the blue buds open
Do not apply the infusion until the orchid is already in full bloom and you will be disappointed with the result. In field trials, the white flowers only turned a pale, light blue color. If, on the other hand, the blue food coloring flows through the phalaenopsis during budding, there are better prospects of a deep blue tint.
Alum unsuitable for coloring
What works so easily to turn hydrangeas blue in the garden ends in a fiasco with orchids. In order to color the popular flowering trees in the bed blue, the pink flowering hydrangea varieties are given a special fertilizer based on potassium aluminum sulphate - alum for short. This trick does not work with orchids, as the aerial roots exhale their life within a short time due to the high salt content of alum.
Dye orchid panicles blue in the vase - this is how it works
If the coloring of orchids by infusion is too tricky and complicated, you don't have to do without the blue flowers. While ink is unsuitable as a dye for the plant, ink water can be safely used in the vase. To do this, cut off a white flowering Phalaenopsis panicle and place it in an opaque vase with a mix of lime-free water and ink.
In contrast to the blue Phalaenopsis, a Vanda coerulea produces enchanting, blue flowers without the use of chemicals. Above all, the splendid 'Vanda Royal blue' variety repeats the royal flower show every season with proper care. The most important premises are a bright location with 25 to 28 degrees Celsius and a high humidity of 60 to 80 percent.