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Unread 09-06-2008, 10:11 PM
Jr. Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2
Smile Changing orchid color with food coloring?

Ok, this may be a really stupid question but
I don't know much about orchids, so maybe someone can answer it for me.
Can you change the color of orchids by using water with food coloring in it, I know you can do it with other flowers.
I really want to have blue orchids for my wedding but
am afraid they may not blossom in time if I buy them now.
Does anyone have any suggestions.
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Unread 09-06-2008, 10:50 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Zone: 9b
Location: Central Florida
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I have never heard of food coloring changing bloom colors in the orchid world but other tropicals yes, myth or truth . Unless I am out of character, would not hurt to try but I would have a plan b just in case it does not bloom on time and/or the coloring does not fit the occasion.

“Respect does not come from the work you do, it comes from the way you do your work.”
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Unread 09-06-2008, 10:58 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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Location: Fresno, CA
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it works for dendrobiums, i'm not sure about other orchids. cut the spike and place it in the dye/water mix like you would for other flowers. you might want to experiment with it, to see if you can get the right color.
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Unread 09-06-2008, 10:59 PM
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I tend to think that it would work with a white dendrobium or phalaenopsis. I can't see why it woudln't work. Of course, they would have to be cut first to absorb the coloring which would be the questionable/possibly problematic part. I am not sure how distant your wedding is, but I would go ahead and buy a plant and try it yourself. You need to start with pure white or as close as possible flowers. Get a live plant in or very close to full bloom. Cut the stalk as close as possible to the plant and place in fresh water after dropping a few drops of both red and blue food coloring. I have only ever done it with carnations, but have heard of it working on roses, and lots of other flowers. My thought is that your chances of coloring the blooms is best with having the freshest cut inflorescences as possible, so that means cutting it off the plant and putting it in the colored water immediately. I would try it asap and see how it goes before deciding if you can trust the process for your wedding.

If that doesn't work, there are lots of "blue" types of orchids available, but to be honest, they generally are somewhat pricey and the blue might not be the blue you imagine. To many people "blue" in the plant world is more of a purple blue. However, if you are interested, google vanda coerulea and you can see an example of a blue orchid. There are a lot of other blue types with many other shapes out there, but that was the first one that came to mind for me because vandas are my favorites.

Let us know what happens if you try to food coloring and what you decide.
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Unread 09-07-2008, 07:52 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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Has anyone fed living plants with fertilizer solutions containing permanent dyes?
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
Using science and logic to advance orchid growing
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Unread 09-07-2008, 10:44 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Thanks everyone on the suggestions...I will let you know how it goes.
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Unread 09-07-2008, 01:13 PM
Senior Member

Join Date: Aug 2008
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Location: Fresno, CA
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Originally Posted by Ray View Post
Has anyone fed living plants with fertilizer solutions containing permanent dyes?
it's been tried, but it only works with cut flowers. roots will not pass the dye into the xylem. with cut flowers, the xylem is open, and the dye is drawn in with the water.
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Unread 09-07-2008, 02:03 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Location: Tri-State Area
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Depending on your wedding date and location---there are some growers who sell 'wholesale' for parties/weddings etc.

I had considered when I get married to buy two or three dozen orchids in bloom---and have live plants for guests to take home with them, at the reception. As for blue you'd need to contact the grower.
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Unread 09-07-2008, 02:48 PM
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I don't know about the dye job...but congratulations on your wedding!
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