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Often used for wedding receptions and for home gatherings, orchids make both exotic and elegant centerpieces. Orchid centerpieces may be a single potted plant, but more often are vases of flower arrangements or blossoms floating on water in bowls or vases. Orchids most often included in centerpieces are phalaenopsis, dendrobium, and cymbidium. When choosing other flowers to arrange with the orchids, thought should be given to the coloring and shape of the orchids and the other flowers.
Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are one of the longest-blooming orchids. These flowers have multiple blossoms dotted along a single stem. The three top petals on a bloom are large and round, fanning around the short lip-shaped center petal. Called moth orchids because their petal arrangement is said to resemble a flying moth, these flowers are often seen in white and shades of purple or red. Petals also may be dual-colored, patterned with spots or lines.
Dendrobium orchids often have a similar flower shape to phalaenopsis, though many species have five long, thin petals. There are a huge number of species in this genus, however, so there is a wide variety of shapes and colors. These orchids have very sturdy stems, so are especially good for flower arrangements.
The most popular winter-blooming orchid, cymbidium has five distinct, pointed petals. This orchid also comes in a variety of colors, including orange, purple, yellow, pink, and white. The oddly shaped center petal, common to all orchids, is often patterned with dots or stripes or may be a different color than the outer petals. Cymbidium is often used in water-based orchid centerpieces.
There are two kinds of orchid centerpieces which use water as a visual element. The first consists of a small, usually clear, bowl filled with water. Cut orchid blossoms float on the water's surface. The second type uses long straight vases or glasses and submerses the cut orchids in the water, allowing them to float in intervals inside the glass. Sometimes leaves or other greenery are added to these centerpieces.
Vase centerpieces are also extremely popular. Moth orchids may be preferred for single flower centerpieces since they have multiple blossoms on a single stem. More often, however, flowers are arranged in groups. Several orchids of the same or different species arranged together with ferns or palm leaves for green contrast can create simple and elegant orchid centerpieces.
Additionally, orchids can be arranged with other flowers. Using white orchids with red roses creates a stunning and bold centerpiece which combines the familiar lines of the rose with the exotic shape of the orchid. Lilies — particularly calla lilies, daffodils, and carnations — also blend well in orchid arrangements.
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