Dress Up an Orchid

Flower magazine’s Jessica Cohen shows how to transform basic supermarket orchids into gift-worthy compositions

If you are looking for an impressive gift idea or just want a simple technique for arranging orchids, you’re in luck. I will show you how to create a lasting arrangement that will continue to bloom for weeks.

Sophisticated and elegant, phalaenopsis orchids radiate beauty. They come in a variety of colors and are conveniently found in grocery stores and home centers. With just a fresh container, Spanish moss, and interesting twigs or vines you can transform supermarket orchids. This arrangement is sure to impress and just takes minutes to create.

For this arrangement, I’m using two pots of phaleanopsis orchids to create a showy arrangement with multiple flower spikes. The same technique applies to dressing up single plants or making larger arrangements with dozens of spikes.

Arranging orchids yourself is a simple way to bring beautiful, long-lasting flowers into any room in your home. You can also enjoy gifting for Mother’s Day, birthdays, or simply treat yourself!

dress up an orchid, arranging orchids


  • Phalaenopsis orchids
  • Kiwi vine (You could also use curly willow or other visually interesting twigs or vines.)
  • Spanish moss
  • 8 x 8-inch glass cube
  • Clippers

Arranging Orchids

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Carefully unpackage the orchids, removing any wrapping and tags. You may want to keep the care instructions.
  2. For this small arrangement, I chose orchids that were close to the same height. If making a larger arrangement with more plants, you may want to vary the heights, with taller orchids in the center of the composition.
  3. Fill your container with Spanish moss, leaving an opening in the center for your orchid plants.
  4. Most supermarket phalaenopsis orchids are sold in two containers: an ornamental pot, and one in which the plant has been grown. Remove the outer pots, keeping the plants in their smaller, plastic containers. You can reuse the outer pots for other plants and arrangements.
  5. Arrange the orchids in the glass cube. Be sure the orchid leaves are elevated above the moss and visible.
  6. Spanish moss between the plants will help hold them in position. Continue fill the glass cube with moss to cover the plastic containers. If needed, use a wooden stick or dowel to tuck moss into the cube.
  7. Add natural, decorative pieces to the arrangement. Place them in the orchid pots where the orchid media will help secure them. For this piece, I used kiwi vine with an interesting knot in the top. Any fairly rigid, dried vine can be used as a substitute. I also like to use curly willow with orchids.

Watering Your Orchid

Watering orchids calls for restraint. “Most tropical orchids are epiphytic, and the quickest way to kill them is too much water,” Becky Brinkman, the Fuqua Orchid Center Manager for the Atlanta Botanical Garden reminds us. In other words, in their natural habitat, orchids live “on the surface of plants” like tree trunks and branches, and their roots are not adapted for soil. Orchids are also light feeders, so a general, all-purpose fertilizer developed at one-quarter strength every two weeks is plenty. See more orchid care tips in Growing Orchids at Home.

Find more orchid inspiration with our gallery of 20+ orchid arrangement ideas.

Produced by Jessica Cohen

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