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Over the last few years Orchids have become very popular as presents. With a few simple tips they will flower for a long while and a new spike will grow so it becomes the gift which keeps on giving
What type of Orchid should I buy as a present?

The most common and easily obtained Orchid is the Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid.  This is the best type of Orchid to give as they flower for a very long time and they can be found in most colours.  .
Are supermarket Orchids proper Orchids?

Yes and if you get them when they are first put on display they are likely to be strong healthy plants.  Supermarkets generally purchase their plants from Dutch plantsmen in bulk and so can offer them for sale at lower prices.
Are Orchids difficult to grow?

No, most Orchids are easy plants to grow as long as you follow a few simple rules. 
So how can I look after my Orchid?

Try not to put an Orchid in full sun, as the leaves may “burn” but a bright windowsill is fine.  If possible keep them out of draughts and cold areas.
Always dunk plants in water don’t water from above.  If water collects in the centre of the plant it could cause the growing tip to rot and then the plant will never recover. Moth Orchids even tell you when they need watering.  When moist the roots are green but when dry they turn silvery white and then it’s time to water them.
What do you need to feed Orchids?

Orchids benefit from feeding and this will help them flower for longer.  Orchid feed is usually expensive and for a Moth Orchid you don’t need to use it, unless you want to.  Any plant food for flowering plants will be fine, but you should make it a quarter normal strength.
How do you get Orchids to flower for as long as possible?

Apart from the care instructions above there is one trick to keeping your Orchid in flower.  If you read the instructions on the care label it will tell you to cut off the flower stem when the flowers have fallen off.  You should only do this is your plant is weak and needs a rest and a good feed.
If you cut off the flower stalk then you cut off all the buds that are waiting to develop and give you a second display of flowers.  If you cut off the stem it can take up to two years before a new flower spike grows.  If the flower stalk stays green and firm you will get new flowers in a few weeks.  If the plant is not going to reflower then the stalk will shrivel and die back naturally.  Sometimes they die back a little way then decide to reflower so just wait and see.  (It is not uncommon to have a Moth Orchid in flower for over two years!)