The bright blue flowers are extremely noticeable, you can hardly miss them. This blue is of course not real, there is no such blue in orchids. In the meantime (February 2013) Japanese researchers have actually bred a blue orchid. The color is not that gaudy, but the flower looks somehow more real. However, this blue color is not natural in orchids.

Genetic engineering makes it possible – unfortunately!

This was helped by genetic engineering by using blue genes from other plants, in this case the Asian dayflower (Commelina communis). The result is a Phalaenopsis with about 5 cm large flowers. It will be a long time before these orchids are in the shops, because all sorts of laboratory work is necessary.

In the meantime, all lovers of blue orchids will have to be satisfied with the artificially colored specimens. You can buy them ready-made or you can color them yourself. If you like to experiment, you can try it out yourself. It is not easy, it does not always work and the plant may not survive.

The blue orchids in the trade are of course also the result of manipulation. A Dutch breeder has applied for a patent for this process. Often these orchids are offered under the name “chameleon orchid”.

Color orchids blue

In most cases, smooth white orchids are colored. However, patterned flowers or other basic colors are sure to look very interesting. In this way, great patterns and colors can result.
The Dutch breeder’s patent works as follows:

  • A white orchid, a hybrid cultivation, is used.
  • While this orchid is sprouting a flower stalk, it is hung on a drip with a special blue color.
  • I guess the color is the secret. It won’t be ink because it harms the plants. It won’t be pure food coloring either, that would be too easy.
  • An orchid grower wrote that it would be quite expensive chemicals, that makes sense.
  • The “infusion needle” is pierced at the base of the flower stalk, if possible in a place that cannot be seen at first glance.
  • The orchid is given a blue color until the flowers open.
  • The plant absorbs the color and transports it through its conductor tracks to the flower.
  • The flowers take on color and turn blue.
  • Often the aerial roots also change color and the leaves can also be seen the color on closer inspection.

Experiments for personal use

This procedure can also be used for personal use. However, the problem is color. Ink clogs the pores and kills the orchids. We therefore strongly advise against using ink. This is only suitable for coloring cut panicles of orchids. Food coloring is not lightfast and degrades.

However, when buying many blue orchids, it is advisable to continue adding food coloring to the watering water. Actually, this is nonsense, because orchids take most of the water they need from the surrounding air. They don’t have any “normal” roots. Even when we water, they absorb the moisture and not the water directly. Alums are recommended by many herbalists, the means that also makes hydrangeas blue, but actually that can’t be. White hydrangeas don’t turn blue as a result, only pink ones and there is also a real reason for the coloration. Well, food coloring. They are not only available in blue, but in many other colors. You could create green, yellow, red and purple orchids, whatever your mood. Such specimens can sometimes be found in stores.

I’ll tell you in advance that the orchids you buy won’t be as blue as the orchids you buy yourself, but they still produce beautiful results. It takes time and patience and then it really works. I think the orchids that only have blue edges and veins are even more beautiful than the completely blue ones. They are too fake for me.

  • It is best to use a pure white orchid first. Samples and other colors can be tried out later.
  • I could imagine that it only works with white orchids, because they lack a color gene and so they absorb the color, but I’m a layman and don’t know my way around.
  • The injection must be carried out on a freshly sprouting flower stem, because it should still be quite soft.
  • The cannula has to be big enough (diameter) because a lot of paint is needed. 1.5 mm in diameter should be enough. If necessary, try 2 mm.
  • The stigmas of the commercially available orchids are also considerable. There must probably be a lot of blue paint going through it.
  • Insert the cannula 3 to 5 mm downwards at an angle. You have to get roughly in the middle of the stem. If you stab too deep, you come out on the other side.
  • It is best to fix the cannula with scotch tape.
  • If possible, the transfusion is a good thing. You only have to prick once, there is only one injury (applies to each flower stem). The best way to do this is to use an open syringe, because it can be refilled without any problems. Simply pour the solution back in.
  • Then let the blue colored water trickle in. Like a drip, the liquid can get into the flower stalk, drop by drop.
  • Otherwise the plant has to be replenished every day. At least that was the result of a successful experiment that I read about.
  • It’s just important to get as much color as possible into the flower stem. Only then do the flowers change color accordingly.

I have read of many attempts by plant lovers and curious tinkerers. Not many were crowned with success. So it’s not that easy. Most of the failures were such that the flowers never opened in the first place. They broke. Many have not taken on any color either. It is also unclear how much color the orchid has to absorb. So this dyeing is really something for tinkerers and people who want to know how it works. Patience and perseverance are also required.

The result of such an experiment at:
Here you can also see how the syringe and cannula can be attached.

Color orchid panicles blue

Individual orchid panicles are easier to dye. The often recommended ink is used here. You can use it to color orchid panicles blue for the vase. Ink shouldn’t be used on whole plants, it does more harm than good. But it is well suited for cut flowers. You start with a small amount of ink that is added to the water. If you use an opaque vase, the ink can be diluted with water and poured into it. The panicle (s) are placed in the water-ink solution. These gradually take on the blue color. Additional ink can be added as required. But I wouldn’t overdo it with the amount. With a little practice you can get very nice colored specimens.

Caring for a blue colored orchid

The color usually lasts until the orchid has bloomed. However, you can see that the upper flower buds, which usually only open later, are already significantly lighter. The last ones at the top are often almost white again. The next flower, which the plant sprouts after a few months, usually no longer contains any color, is again pure white or sometimes still a little light blue. If you want to keep the color in the flowers so intense blue, you should add food coloring to the water. I can’t imagine that it will work, but trying is often better than studying. Just try.
Otherwise, a blue orchid is not cared for differently than other Phalaenopsis.

If you like the blue orchids and if a bought one is simply too expensive, you can try whether it is not possible to color a white phalaenopsis yourself. I have to admit that I don’t like the blue ones at all. You look way too artificial to me. I like orchids and am excited about the shapes and colors that nature creates. That’s enough for me. However, I can understand that someone would like to know whether and how such a dye works works. What I read during my research was often very promising. I would be sorry for the plants, but if you like, you can try the coloring. With the right know-how, it seems to work quite well. Blue food coloring is not strong enough to produce these extremely blue flowers, but it does turn out to be a light blue, sometimes more, sometimes less. For the very blue flowers you need a chemical agent and the patent holder won’t tell us. The only thing that helps is experimenting and always informing the forums about what the dear fellow citizens have already found out.

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