Blue Orchids – Are they Real or Dyed?

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Robert Pavlis

I just returned from the grocery store and they had blue orchids for sale; both dendrobium and phalaenopsis. These colors are not natural on orchids so I decided to find out how they are produced. How long will the colors last? Do they need any special care?

Blue Orchids - Are they Real or Dyed?
Blue Orchids – Are they Real or Dyed?

Blue Orchids are Not Real

The Vanda orchids are almost blue, but they are really a blueish-purple. A true blue color does not occur in orchids. The blue orchids pictured above have been dyed.

I think this dye job looks quite fake. The colors just don’t look real and the distribution of color is not even.

How Are Blue Orchids Made?

dyed phalaenopsis orchids
Dyed phalaenopsis orchids

As the flower stem is growing, a food dye is injected into the flower stem. As water rises in the stem, it takes the dye with it and into the flowers. Within 24 hours you can see the dye in the flowers.

Compost Science for Gardeners by Robert Pavlis

This is usually done on white orchids that have very little pigment in the flowers so that the blue shows well.

Any color of dye can be used. In the picture to the right you can see orange and green orchids which have also been dyed.

How Long Do Blue Orchids Last?

The blue flowers on the orchid will last until the flowers fall off. Any new flowers formed by the plant will revert back to the original color – probably white.

Caring for Blue Orchids

There is no real difference between these orchids and regular orchids, so give them the exact same care. Water them just like regular orchids.

YouTube video

The Bottom Line

Does the world really need dyed orchids? Orchids come in thousands of color combinations already – I just don’t see the appeal for these.


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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

9 thoughts on “Blue Orchids – Are they Real or Dyed?”

  1. It’s not true that there are no blue orchids. There is an entire genus in Australia. Scientific name is Thelymitra. The common name is the sun orchid. While not all thelymitras are blue (check out the stunningly beautiful Queen of Sheba orchid) many of them are. True blue, not bluish lavender. They are difficult to grow terrestrials that are best cultivated in their own habitat. This is probably why most people have never heard of them.

  2. I would love to know how I can be sure a yellow orchid is the original color. My dil loves orchids but by sin said not to get her one that is dyed and that she’s live a yellow one.. thanks!

    • Look up yellow orchids on line to see their pictures. The dyed ones are quite fake looking beside a real one. If you get a yellow with some spotting it will be real.

  3. Personally I think it is an insult to mother nature but just like those sprayed succulents at the big box stores ( and not only there) they sell and that’s what this is all about. But, having said that I have benefitted from those cactus with the dried flowers stuck on the top. When they didn’t sell I got to rescue for just $1.


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