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How is an Orchid grown?

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Ever wondered how your orchid is grown? How long does it take to grow an orchid?   

Tissue Culture

  • Commercially grown Phalaenopsis begin their lives in a sterilised laboratory as microscopic pieces of plant tissue.
  • These tissue clusters are cultured in petri dishes containing a nutrient-rich agar jelly.
  • Plant hormones in the agar allow the cell clusters to multiply, but prevent them from growing any leaves or roots.
  • Once the cell clusters have been split the desired number of times, they are put into static flasks.
  • The clumps of cells then begin to develop roots and leaves.
  • The resulting plantlets will be genetically identical to the mother plant from which the node was taken.

Young plants (28°C)

  • When the young plants reach a leaf span of about 5cm, they are ready to be taken out of the flasks and transplanted into new growing media.
  • The plantlets are transplanted into mini-plugs and then put into a greenhouse.
  • The temperature and humidity are kept high to stimulate leaf and root development.


  • When the young plants reach the correct size, they are transplanted into pots.
  • The pots are made out of clear plastic to allow light to reach the root system.
  • The pots are filled with bark to ensure the root system drains well and is aerated.
  • At first, the pots are placed very close together to maximise space efficiency.
  • When the leaves reach a certain diameter, a robot picks up the potted plants and re-spaces them at a lower density. This is to ensure the plants have enough light and  space to continue to grow at a maximum rate.


  • The plants are now moved into a different part of the greenhouse – the cool zone.
  • The drop in temperature triggers a stress response in the plants, causing them to switch from their vegetative growth phase to a generative growth phase: flower initiation.
  • This sudden change in environment ‘tricks the plants into thinking’ that their life might be coming to an end, essentially forcing them to complete their natural lifecycle by reproducing.
  • In the cool zone, tiny flower spikes will begin to emerge from the leaf axils of the plants.


  • After several weeks in the cool zone, the plants are moved into a slightly warmer area to encourage growth of the new flower spikes and flower buds.
  • When the spike reaches a certain height, the flower buds begin to develop.
  • A few days before the flower buds open, the spikes are attached to a stake in order to keep them upright.
  • After the flowers open the plants are packaged and sold.

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