Orchids rank amongst the most fascinating of plant species. Nothing spells exotica, luxury, sensuality and mystique all rolled into one breathtaking blossom quite like an orchid.

The orchid plant has the special distinction of being the earliest flowering species known to mankind. At present there are a staggering 28,000 known varieties of this exotic bloom.

Not surprisingly then, these flowers have always held a special fascination for horticulturists and botanists alike.

But you don’t have to be a specialist to successfully cultivate these blooms in your garden. Orchids have been growing in popularity and numbers in Karachi. Essentially, they need hot, humid weather and can’t tolerate the cold. This makes the climate of Karachi suitable for them – but growing them in the more northern cities of Pakistan is a challenge. Here they need to be placed in greenhouses where the environment can be controlled.

For Karachi enthusiasts the good news is that, with a little care,  orchids can thrive in your garden.

A few essential tips:

1.Orchids do not grow in the conventional potting soil. A combination of coconut husk, charcoal and pot fragments is commonly used in Karachi nurseries. The must be planted in containers with plenty of drainage, a mesh-type wooden or plastic container is often used. Many hanging varieties need their roots to be hanging out from the container.

2.Orchids need filtered sunlight. Do not place them in the direct glare of the sun but in a bright yet sheltered area. 

3. Orchids must be well watered. Remember they hail from a tropical countries where it rains almost every day. In summer, water your orchids twice day. Use a spray and don’t forget to wet any hanging roots as well. 

4. Orchids like the company of other orchids. Place your orchids together and amongst other foliage. Again, remember that orchids grow naturally in rainforests so they need other plants around them to thrive. A profusion of plants also add to to the moisture content of the air which is conducive to orchid growth. 

Many orchids are of the hanging variety and can be grown in a balcony or terrace area as well.

All the orchids featured in this article have been grown by an amateur enthusiast in Karachi. So if you follow these simple tips, your garden or balcony can soon be the envy of the neighborhood.