What’s Blooming in the Office?


There was a Winter Weather Advisory for southern Idaho most of the day, and the snow is coming down. But in my Boise office, it looks like spring.

I’m always astonished at the orchids that, against the odds, choose to bloom this time of year. I don’t keep the room especially warm, but I do keep a humidifier running for the plants a few hours a day. They also get sunlight and a boost from some additional grow-lights – when I remember to turn ‘em on. (And just for fun, I've strung some Christmas lights on the orchid shelves...)

The photo is a Haraella retrocalla, and I’m holding the flower to show you just how tiny it is.

According to the helpful website Orchid Care Tips, the Haraella orchid species is from Taiwan. This bloom doesn’t seem to have a fragrance – or maybe it’s so faint I can’t detect it – but the website says the flower is pollinated by a species of beetle, and its “citrusy” scent mimics the female beetle to attract the males.

Miniature orchids are real charmers – and not just to beetles! They have all the beauty of the big plants, but are perfect for small spaces. They dry out more quickly, so they need to be watered more often – twice a week instead of weekly – otherwise the care is pretty much the same. You can grow them in pots, or mounted on a slab of wood, or in a terrarium.

In addition to this Haraella, I have five other orchids “in spike,” meaning there’s a shoot or two (or in some cases, four or five!) on each plant, ready to bloom any day now. So, it should be a very Merry Christmas in my office…here in the snowy tropics of Idaho.