The ubiquitous orchid: A pandemic project with surprises

  • Two small inexpensive orchids awaiting rebloom are pictured on March 4, 2021, in an apartment in the Brooklyn borough of New York. These plants were in flower last year. Orchid flowers can last for weeks, but once they shed their blossoms, it can take a year for them to rebloom. Getting the right amount of water, along with sunlight and temperature, is key to their regrowth. (Beth Harpaz via AP)

  • An orchid purchased at Trader Joe's grocery store that has rebloomed is pictured on March 4, 2021, in Atlanta. Once the flowers on an orchid die, though it's tempting to toss the plant, that orchid can bloom again. (AP Photo/Ali Kaufman)

  • Pots of Phalaenopsis orchids appear at one of Hong Kong’s largest orchid farms located at Hong Kong’s rural New Territories on Jan. 14. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

Not so long ago, orchids were regarded as rare and exotic. But these days, thanks to new propagation techniques, certain varieties are mass-produced. Moth orchids, gorgeous but common, with sweet patterned faces, are widely sold by supermarkets and other retailers.