Orchids – Living Jewels of the Jungle
Costa Rica has an incredible variety of plants, and people are attracted from all over the planet to the spectacular flowers that adorn the soil of the country. Of all the flowers, orchids are known to be the most attractive and interesting species here. In fact, Costa Rica has about 1300 species of orchids alone. The best time of the year for orchids in Costa Rica in all its wilderness glory is at the onset of the monsoons up with the first scant rains. Many of the orchids in nature flourish into their full bloom cycle during the rains. There are over 1300 recognized species of orchids in Costa Rica. They are small, big or flashy. A majority of the orchid species found in Costa Rica have great scents, though there are a few that smell downright repulsive. The variety of fragrances emitted by the different species can startle even the most discerning perfume enthusiast.
The National Orchid Exposition is known to be the best of the best Orchid shows in the country. Organized in March at San Jose each year, it brings all the flourishing orchids under a single roof from the best growers in Costa Rica. The show allows travelers to view a huge range of these flowers varying from the white orchids to the pale pinks the vibrantly hued violet ones. There are several competitions at the event that help you see some of the best of these spectacular floral species.
One of the best ways to explore these natural beauties is by taking a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide. A knowledgeable and experienced guide can take you into the natural habitats to witness some of the most indigenous orchid species in full bloom. Costa Rica’s stringent conservation laws and efforts at preserving native orchid species of the wild regions prevent people from taking away these flowers. The only thing travelers can actually take back as mementos of their orchid trips are pictures with the flowers in the backdrop still on the trees.
Some of the places to visit for an orchid exploration tour are the Lankester Botanical Gardens just east of Cartago. Another one’s the Wilson Botanical Gardens near San Vito de Java. These places can be seen best on day trips. There is also a garden in Palmares that is solely devoted to Costa Rica’s national flower.
Costa Rica has about 1400 species of orchids, more than any other Central American country and there are believed to be more that are awaiting discovery. Unlike temperate orchids, the vast majority of tropical species are epiphytes. They are omnipresent in Costa Rica and can be found everywhere from the coastal shorelines to the elevated mountain tops. They are spotted in huge numbers in the cloud forest, where haze and consistent rain offer them a perfect backdrop and weather conditions. Though there are several large and splendid looking orchids most are only miniature with spanning a few millimeters. Bees, wasps and flies pollinate a majority of the orchids but hummingbirds are responsible for pollinating a few cloud forest species here. It is popularly believed that the white flowers are responsible for generating nectar.
Epiphytes grow extensively in the rain or cloud forest, where plenty of rain and mist throughout the year create perfect conditions to help them flourish. Ferns and budding plants grow on the trunks of the trees in an exceptionally varied mixture of hues and sizes. Out of these, a majority belong to the orchid, bromeliad and gesnereaceas families. The Guaria Morada, Costa Rica’s national flower is an orchid species with big, striking looking flowers that is perpetually been exploited to create newer hybrid species.
There are many places in Costa Rica where these beautiful flowers can be seen up clase and personal. The Monteverde orchid garden is one such place that features an extensive collection of orchids. They have over 400 different species of orchids. Each species is distinguished with its scientific name. One can find a collection endemic species in Monteverde along with a collection of miniature orchids including the tiniest one on earth. They offer guided walks in English and Spanish along with guided tours with expert, knowledgeable and experienced guides that can last anywhere between 25 and 40 minutes.
The main steps in caring for orchids, especially those cultivated in flowerpots involves abundant light, though not direct blazing sunlight. This is mandatory for created top quality blooms. Watering the plants moderately so as to prevent the roots from rotting. It is important to fertilize these blooms two weeks with a diluted fertilizer to prevent the roots from destruction. Controling insects and avoiding damages caused by funguses and bacteriais also crucial. There are several effective insecticides, fungicides and antibiotics that can be sued to protect your blooms from potential pests. It is also in the best interests of your cultivation that you destroy the blooms that are infected with a virus since there’s no cure for certain viruses.