Orchids are tropical flowers renowned throughout the world for their beauty and delicate arrangement of petals. There are over 25,000 natural and more than 100,000 hybrid varieties available in myriad colors including white, yellow, pink and purple. The petals are either spotted with color, comprised of a single solid color or streaked. According to the Online Flowers Guide, different hues of purple orchids with velvety textures are available that symbolize elegance, romance and uncertainty.
Known botanically as Cattleya amethystoglossa, the cattleya orchid is native to Brazil. It grows up to 3 feet tall and features lavender buds in the center of 4- to 5-inch wide petals that have a velvet-like texture. The central bud can be a lighter shade of purple or a more intense hue. This orchid is commonly used in corsages, which is why it is also called "Queen of Orchids." These flowers prefer morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Avoid wetting the soil too frequently if growing in containers as cattleya are known to grow naturally on trees and prefer slightly dry soils.
Originating from Asia, moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) feature flat flowers on gently bowed stems that resemble flying moths, hence the name. This is a commonly seen and known orchid, as it appears in florists' shops, department stores and gardening catalogs. The plant bears flowers in a variety of colors, including purple, only once a year. The petals are solid purple or speckled, and have a smooth, velvety texture. These orchids prefer low light locations such as a northern or eastern facing spot in the garden, and make beautiful cut arrangements as well.
Native to the warm islands of the South Pacific, most commercially available vandaceous (or vanda) orchids in the United States are deep lavender with a hint of blue. These flowers are not as common as moth orchids, but gained popularity in the second half of the 20th century. The petals feature a delicate white pattern all over that is bold in some and subtle on others. The flowers grow closely together on a spike. These tropical plants thrive temperatures between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and prefer slightly dry soils rather than well-watered ones. The petals have a waxy or velvety texture that add depth and beauty to a floral arrangement.
Native to Hawaii, this showy orchid plant features multiple blooms atop tall stems. The blooms are either solid in color or naturally tinged with a contrasting color. Dendrobium phalaenopsis are available in different shades of purple including light lavender to deeper violet. They have velvety petals that are either a solid purple throughout or tipped with white that stands out. Native to Southeast Asia and Australia, Dendrobiums resemble moth orchids and grow best in moderately dry soil; allow the roots to dry out somewhat when the plant is not in an active growth cycle.