Two new orchids gain the Royal Horticultural Society?s Award of Garden Merit

Two new orchids have been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society?s (RHS) prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM). The flowers, Phalaenopsis Purple Princess and Phalaenopsis ?Kleopatra 4? will join 56 other orchids that have received the coveted RHS seal of approval.

Supplied by Double H Nurseries Phalaenopsis ?Kleopatra 4? and Phalaenopsis Purple Princess secured the AGM in September 2016, after a review and vote by the RHS Orchid Committee.

The plants, which are new to the mass market, having previously only been available to specialist orchid aficionados, will carry the RHS AGM logo when they go on sale in Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

By including the logo, which is already widely used on plant labels and websites, Double H Nurseries hope that customers will make their purchase confident in the knowledge that the plants have been assessed by the charity against five key criteria:

  • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
  • Available for purchase
  • Of good constitution
  • Essentially stable in form and colour
  • Reasonably resistant to pests and diseases.
Phalaenopsis ?Kleopatra 4?

A very pretty, robust and resilient orchid with subtly individual markings that mean that each plant is unique. Boasting spots, which are not normally seen on mass market orchids (usually mass market orchids are striped or plain), Phalaenopsis ?Kleopatra 4? has two flower spikes, which means it will produce an abundance of large creamy coloured flowers with intense deep purple spots that measure 7-8cm across.

Phalaenopsis Purple Princess

A much daintier orchid, Phalaenopsis Purple Princess has two to three flower spikes which produce a spray of 3-4cm mauve flowers. Compact and abundant, it has taken up to ten years for Phalaenopsis Purple Princess to be developed.

Speaking about the award, RHS Trials Development Manager Mark Heath said: ?Orchids are the most popular houseplant in the country and as such may be the first plants many people buy. With that in mind, the RHS and nurseries want to ensure that customers have as great an experience as possible with their plants – that?s why we assess them on their behalf and if deserving, give them the RHS Award of Garden Merit.?

AGMs are only awarded after assessment by an RHS forum of experts, appointed by the Society, to assess that particular plant group. For orchids, this assessment is made by the RHS Orchid Committee.

Each forum draws upon the experience of a wide range of experts, including nurserymen, specialist growers, botanists and well-known horticulturists. This assessment must then be ratified by the relevant Plant Committee.

Unlike other RHS plant awards, the AGM is subject to regular review, to make sure that every plant still merits its place on the list. The first review took place in 2002: more than 1,300 plants that no longer met the AGM criteria lost the award, while 900 plants were added to the list. In the second review, in 2012, some 1,900 plants were removed from the list, and 1,600 were added. Since 2013, reviews have been conducted by each plant committee on a rolling basis.

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