To mass produce orchids, growers moved away from wild species and developed hybrids that were easier to grow, and matched consumer preferences for everything from smell and color to flower size and shape.
What's a hybrid?
Hybrids are crosses between different orchid species -- which are native to specific places or environments -- or even other hybrids.
Corsages were once a very popular way to enjoy cut orchids. An orchid corsage showed off the high statue of both wearer and buyer.
Though less common today, many people still buy elaborate orchid corsages for special occasions.
Changing Fashions, Changing Flowers:
Late 1800s to early 1900s:
Horticulturists hybridized orchids to make exotic-looking parlor plants.
Orchids for the cut-flower market were large, fragrant and often frilly.
Consumer preference shifted back to potted plants, particularly unique and unusual-looking hybrids.
1980s to Present:
Today's mass-market hybrids are bred to be easy for even non-hobbyists to care for.