Cambria orchids are increasingly available in shops and garden centres but are not a clearly defined genus in their own right, having been produced originally as hybrids from the three other genera.
Cambria is now used as a collective term for an increasingly large group of hybrid orchids from diverse parentage, but they are nonetheless beautiful for that with their wonderfully brightly coloured, spotted flowers. Fortunately, they seem to have inherited the most obliging characteristics from their forebears and are very easy to look after – watering once a week and being kept in draught-free rooms and away from direct sunlight seems to do the trick. They are a good choice for the complete beginner to orchid growing in the home.
Other kinds of Orchids as House Plants...
By far the best way to water orchids is to place them in a sink or other container of lukewarm water which comes up to the top of their pots. Because they are not growing in densely packed soil or compost, the water will easily rise up from the bottom of the pots and saturate the roots. The plants should be left for several hours, or overnight, and the watering should be repeated on a weekly basis (although most plants will easily survive a 10 interval if you are away). At the same time as watering, spray the leaves with a fine water mist. Feeding should be kept to a minimum and stepped up only once new growth or flower shoots appear. Never overdo it – food is not high on the agenda of survival for plants that live perched up in trees with their roots exposed!
Yes, we have many native wild orchids throughout Europe and around 30 species in the UK. Most of them are rare, endangered or in serious decline due to the destruction of their natural habitats. They will not survive being dug up and moved either to gardens and greenhouses or to window ledges. It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to dig up any wild plants without the landowner’s consent.
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There are many local and national nature reserves where wild orchids can be seen at the right time of year, and the network of local Wildlife Trusts can advise you on the best time to visit and also arrange for you to take part in some of the many tours that they organise during peak flowering times.