Photo courtesy of Opti-flor

Houseplants and gardening have been getting a lot of attention as the mental and physical impact of lengthy stay-at-home orders is felt this spring. Plants have provided both comfort and purpose for many of us while locked indoors. Our industry community has encouraged gifting flowers and plants to lift one another’s spirits during trying times. Safe to say, we could all use a bit more flowers and fun in our lives right now. Luckily, there are some very cool and fun new options out in the orchid market right now.

Orchid obsession

As plant geeks, we’ve all no doubt gone through many different cycles of plant obsession. I have had many rounds of orchid collecting phases, which have come and gone over the years. Right now, I am in an intensive micro-orchid collecting phase. There is no telling how long this orchid obsession will last, but there will no doubt be another one in my future. There is something otherworldly about orchids that attracts so many novice and experienced plant keepers. If you have not been paying attention to Instagram lately, then you are probably missing out on what I see as an uptick in orchid interest by new plant parents. 

Basic blooms

When it comes to blooming gift plants, it is hard to beat an orchid into bloom. Phalaenopsis are particularly long-blooming and easy to care for, even for beginner plant parents. It is no secret why they are so popular. Even so, I think we can all agree many are ready for something new and exciting beyond the ubiquitous white or purple moth orchids.

Artistic expression

Let me preface what I am about to get super excited about with the fact that I am no plant purist; nor am I a horticulture snob. I am an everythingist. So, when I saw one photo of a marbled orchid flower making the rounds after last year’s Essen show, I kind of peed my plants.

Yep, that is right, I said marbled orchid flowers. Too cool. Because I had only seen one photo of this new offering, I had to do a little digging online to discover the Singolo Collections of orchids from OPTI-FLOR. Then I discovered their additional collections, which include the pastel tinted Aquarelle series.

Single life

The Singolo Collection plants are billed as the first single-bloomed Phalaenopsis. Plants strike an interesting contrast to other Phals on the market with their one large imposing flower that sits atop a straight-trained stem. I am a huge fan of large flowered Paphiopedilum, and the Singolos provide a similar form, but with easier care. 

Once you dig further into OPTI-FLOR’s offerings, you will also discover the Aquarello collection, which are also single-blooms tinted in spring pastel colors. They are quite delightful. The Singolo Arto orchid have individually marbled flowers, in several shades and color combinations, and then packed in a box that looks like a picture frame. They really are sold as a piece of art. 

Luckily, there are some very cool and fun new options out in the orchid market right now.e

OPTI-FLOR has even gone so far as to offer custom printed messages on flowers in the Singolo Hello Collection. Customers get to choose the color of the flower and the message that is printed directly onto the flower. You must admit that is pretty cute; I would totally send these as gifts.

Horticultural high horse

Some of you hate this sort of thing. Painted succulents drive you insane and dyed orchid flowers send you running for the hills. I get it. As an artsy fartsy type myself, I relish the creativity that goes into transforming plants into works of art.

Regardless of your personal stance, it is not our place to be snarky or judgmental with consumers about what they do or don’t like when it comes to plant trends. Our customers, at least most of them, are neither professionals nor plant snobs. Many just want a nice gift they can bestow on a loved-one or to add a bit of cheery plant life for flower color to their windowsill or office desk. Fun trends like these Singolo orchids deliver big time on fun and fantasy. 

That is really the takeaway from my excitement about these new orchids. While you may have no interest in offering painted foliage or marbled orchids, you should have an interest in sparking your customer’s interest. If plants and gardening are the antidote to stress and anxiety — and you want customers to associate your plants with fun — how can you shake things up? 

The only thing that bums me out about the Singolo orchid collections is that I cannot yet get my hands on them. Currently, these orchid collections are only offered in Europe. Hint, Hint.

Leslie (CPH) owns Halleck Horticultural, LLC, through which she provides horticultural consulting, business and marketing strategy, product development and branding, and content creation for green industry companies. lesliehalleck.com