Singapore orchids are extremely popular and over the last century they have become a large commercial enterprise in Singapore. Singapore, in fact, chose the orchid as its national flower in 1981. The particular orchid it chose was the Vanda Miss Joachim Agnes. The orchid was named for a lady from Armenia, who found the orchid growing in her father’s garden in Singapore in1893. She took it to the Singapore Botanical Gardens and it was identified as a hybrid of the parents, Vanda hookerana and Vanda teres. Both of those Singapore orchids also grew in the garden.
The Vanda Miss Joachim is an orchid that must grow in a tropical climate and needs to be fully exposed to the sun. Commercially it is grown in rubble-filled trenches and the plants tied to very tall posts. It needs constant watering, as many as three times a day. The flowers are large and pink, blooming throughout the year, a dozen or so at a time with four usually being open at one time.
Most Singapore orchids were destroyed when the Japanese invaded Singapore in World War II. But the Singapore Botanical Gardens was not destroyed and the Vanda Miss Jochaim orchid was able to be kept safely there until the end of the war.
Singapore orchids are hybrid Dendrobiums, which grow in Southeast Asia from Northern India to islands off the East Coast of New Guinea and Australia to Polynesia. Most of the Singapore orchids are hybrids of ones originating in New Guinea. There are over 1200 species of Dendrobiums. That means they come in every type and color, and grow in many different habitats that give them a wide range of characteristics.
Some Dendrobiums have stems with leaves where the flowers are produced, while with others flowers grow on long canes. They have many different shapes of leaves, and flowers come in every imaginable color, some alone and others in clusters. As for a growing medium, Dendrobiums liked to be well-drained and planted in a mix of bark, charcoal and sphagnum moss. They usually have to be repotted once a year.
When you think of Singapore orchids, you should also think of Singapore’s National Orchid Garden, which is just a portion of the Singapore Botanical Gardens. The orchid collection there has over one thousand different species and two thousand different hybrids of orchids.
There is a VIP orchid garden, with hybrids named after VIPs who have visited the gardens. Among these hybrids are DendrobiumMargaret Thatcher, RenantandaAkihito, DendrobiumMasako Kotaishi Hidenka, and DendrobiumElizabeth. There is also a Orchidarium where only natural tropical orchids are on display, and many small and large gardens of hybrid orchards.
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