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Northwest Orchid Plant Festival coming to Lynnwood Event Center

LYNNWOOD—At Seattle-based Northwest Orchid Society people from all over the region are united under a single hobby – a shared interest in the complex practice of growing, conserving, and propagating one of the most difficult species of plants to cultivate: the orchid.

This upcoming March 2 through 3, the Northwest Orchid Society will be hosting its first-ever group-sponsored Indoor Plant Festival, to be held at the Lynnwood Event Center. Presale tickets begin at $7 a day but increase up to $10 if purchased the day of the event. For $50, guests can also purchase a Preview Event ticket which grants access to an evening of food, drinks, and early access to vendors and plants. All ticket sales are a fundraiser to support the non-profit.

Plant Festival
Orchid Plant Festival. SOURCE: (20+) Orchid Digest Corporation | Facebook

“It’s going to be an incredible array of vendors and societies coming, from Spokane, from Oregon, from Mount Baker. Not only orchids but other house plants – an amazing display of houseplants for you to choose from,” said Ben Johnson, Vice President of Events at Northwest Orchid Society. “You come for a cactus, and we’ll get you to take home an orchid that will work for you.”

Orchid Plant Festival
Orchid Plant Festival. (20+) Orchid Digest Corporation | Facebook

As an affiliate of the American Orchid Society (AOS) and the Orchid Digest Corporation (ODC), the Northwest Orchid Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1947 with the goal of creating a community for orchid growers while promoting and educating people about the hobby. The group welcomes both beginners and experienced orchid growers yearning to learn more about the hobby and meet other like-minded individuals through its monthly meetings, plant raffles, special events, and display tables where members show off their latest blooms.

Orchid Plant Festival
OOS Fall Show and Sale in Portland. SOURCE: NW Orchid Society.
Orchid Plant Festival
Comparettia Speciosa. Photo by Sean Hoyt

Monthly meetings are held the second Monday of each month at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture in the NHS hall, which often feature renown guest speakers giving lectures on different topics from culture; to breeding programs; to history. Meetings are free and open to anyone.

Also, during these meetings, the society holds an exhibition table where members can display their blooming plants. During the meeting a member does the “plant table walk,” points out unusual, interesting, or exceptionally well-grown plants and asks some of the growers for information about their plants and growing conditions.

The society also holds a variety of community events from summer picnics, plant shows, giveaways, and more including maintaining a library of orchid books, videotapes, and periodicals. The Society librarian brings a small selection of items from the library for check-out by members at monthly meetings, though all items are available by arrangement with the librarian. See what’s in the library here. If you’d like to check out a book or tape from our Library, please contact our librarian a minimum of two (2) weeks before the next meeting.

Orchid Plant Festival
Grown by NW Orchid Society member Odm Nicky Nicky ‘Nova’. SOURCE: NW Orchid Society

Johnson has been growing orchids since he was just 17 years old. Now in his late 40’s what keeps Johnson coming back to the art is just how beautiful, interesting, diverse, and challenging the plant, and the hobby that surrounds caring for it, is.

“My dad had a bunch of plants just sitting around in the back of the house. He didn’t take care of them at all, and I enjoyed plants, so I just started taking care of them and they started flowering for me,” Johnson told the Lynnwood Times. “It was an addiction almost, a sort of passion that you discover, and it’s been an adventure of trying out new plants since, seeing what I do well at and what don’t do well at, and learning new things.”

Orchid Plant Festival

For anyone interested in taking the first leap into orchid care Johnson recommends first having a space to grow them. This often means a terrarium, greenhouse, light box, or even inside your home although they typically prefer more humid environments.

One of Johnson’s major draws to the Northwest Orchid Society is meeting people who have been growing orchids for several years and the vast amount of information that comes with meeting people in the area. 

“It’s really an educational club that helps people figure out how to do this with our rainy climate, and it’s cold in the wintertime,” said Johnson. “The type of information you find online is usually catered to people growing plants in Southern Florida where people tie a Phalaenopsis to a tree and it grows. Here growing orchids is much different, much more challenging, and I think that was the main draw to the society – learning from people locally…There’s no end to the amount of expertise in our club.”

In addition to education, Johnson noted that the club is a great place to find unique and rare specimens, often grown by members themselves who can tell you firsthand how to care for it and how it will grow. At the very least it’s an opportunity to see a flower show once a month.

In past events the NW Orchid Society has brought in the American Orchid Society to judge its members plants with many of them winning several awards, and with them national recognition.

Orchid Plant Festival

“Our shows are a great way for people to engage a couple of times a year, show up, and meet some people or just enjoy the plants and see what the club is up to,” said Johnson.

Johnson encourages anyone who may be interested in joining the club, or learning more about orchids in general, to find some time and attend one of their events or monthly meetings.

“Come to one of our shows. We’ll find you a plant that will meet your price point and growing conditions. Give it a shot. We can make sure you find something that meets your needs and that’s what’s great about having a club nearby is you have an endless supply of people and plants that can work for you and beautify your home,” said Johnson.

The Northwest Orchid Society’s Indoor Plant Festival will feature an array of plant displays and an awesome lineup of vendors. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.nwos.org/2024-spring-indoor-plant-festival-2/.

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