Different types of orchid

Do you have a beautiful orchid at home that you are not quite sure how to care for? Not to worry! We have created a comprehensive guide with detailed care instructions for 23 orchids. While these unique blooms are definitely stunning, they can be difficult to keep healthy. Read below to learn why they are so particular and how to keep them thriving all year round.

Orchids represent the largest family of flowering plants on Earth, with more than 25,000 species and over 200,000 hybrids. Their diversity is unparalleled due to their ability to adapt and the longevity of their lifespan. Fossilized orchids have been found dating back millions of years.

While orchids can be found from the arctic tundra to the equator, most cultivated species are native to the tropics. They generally grow high in trees rather than the forest floor which is why they require specific lighting and air circulation for healthy growth. If you take the climate of their environment and the location of their natural habitat into consideration, it becomes easier to understand the basic care requirements of orchids.


Orchid Facts:

  • Unlike many plants and animals, orchids can produce hybrids from two different species and also between related genera.
  • Most orchids bloom annually, but if well-maintained they may bloom more often.
  • Orchids usually remain in bloom for six to 10 weeks.
  • Many orchids deal poorly with re-potting, and usually will not flower for at least a year after they have been disturbed.
  • While many orchid variations exist, they share commonalities including bilateral symmetry, highly modified petals and extremely small seeds.

Orchid Varieties for Beginners

Supplies for Easy Orchid Care

While orchids have been around since the T-Rex was still alive and well, the typical home poses some threats that mother nature does not. The most common reasons orchids fail to flourish indoors is dry air and overwatering. However, you can easily turn your home into a tropical, orchid-friendly environment by using the supplies outlined below. You can find all of these products at your local hardware store. You may even have some of them at home already!

  • A HUMIDISTAT to check for moisture
  • A HUMIDITY TRAY to ensure high humidity, especially if you are placing it by a window
  • A FAN to increase air circulation
  • A SPRITZER to increase humidity
  • A THERMOMETER to ensure your orchid’s living in its preferred temperature range
  • ORCHID FERTILIZER specific to your orchid’s needs and the time of the year
  • ORCHID FUNGICIDE AND ORCHID BACTERICIDE to keep away unwanted bacteria

Quick Tips to Help You Evaluate an Orchid

  1. Start with a mature plant.
  2. Buy from knowledgeable, experienced vendors.
  3. Examine the plant for signs of disease, weakness, or infestation.
    Signs of unhealthy orchids include:
    • Black spots or crust
    • White webbing
    • Limp leaves
    • Yellow leaves
    • Yellow or brown spots
    • Damp black spots
    • Torn leaves or petals with tiny holes
  4. Choose an orchid that matches the level of care you are willing to provide.
  5. Decide where you want your orchid and then pick a species that will grow in the light available in that location.

Basic Care Requirements


Orchids are very particular about light, especially indoors. Some prefer high light (unobstructed sunlight from a south-facing window) where others prefer low light (limited northern exposure).

If you are concerned about the amount of lighting your orchid is receiving, assess the leaves. Brown leaves indicate your plant needs less sun. Leaves that are deep green often require more light.


Since most orchids sold as houseplants are native to tropical regions, they can be sensitive to drastic temperature changes. Pay close attention to the range your orchid needs. Both a high and low temperature should be maintained. The detailed care guide below will specify a healthy climate for each of the most common orchid types. For a simple reference, if you are too hot or cold, your orchid is likely too hot or too cold as well.


Tropical plants are accustomed to more humidity than the average living room. In order to keep your orchid healthy, place your potted plant on top of pebbles and add water. Air flow is also very important. Try adding a fan to the room if you notice your orchid deteriorating.

Watering orchids

Orchids need to be watered differently than most plants because they are often planted in a bark mix rather than soil. Watering needs also depend on the type of orchid, pot, potting mix, humidity levels and light. Be sure to water thoroughly each time so the roots have a chance to absorb the moisture before it runs through the mix.

As a rule of thumb, drought-tolerant orchids, such as cattleyas, oncidiums and dendrobiums only need to be watered once a week. Other species should be watered every 4-5 days.

When watering, it is sometimes easiest to place the plant in the sink, letting room temperature water run over it for a minute or so. Leave time for it to drain completely and avoid distilled or salt-softened water.

Fertilizing Orchids

Similar to the other important care factors, fertilizing is specific to each species. Generally, growers recommend using 20-20-20 fertilizer weekly or monthly. If you choose to fertilize weekly, it’s important that you dilute the fertilizer (about one-quarter of the full strength) so as to not overfeed the plant. After the blooms have dropped off it’s still important to fertilize monthly or every other week.

23 Most Common Orchid Species and Their Care Requirements

Care requirements for 23 orchid species are outlined below. We hope this guide helps you keep all of your orchids fresh and healthy all year long. Love your orchids? Gift them to a friend and share this resource so they can keep their orchids blooming too!

1. Cymbidium

Filtered Light

Medium or fine fir bark mixed with peat moss or perlite

These orchids have varying temperature needs throughout the year. Temperatures need to fall to about 45-55°F in order to trigger winter blooms. Watch for temperatures above 85°F, which can cause the leaves to burn.


Water in the morning to allow plenty of moisture to drain before temperatures cool. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings to prevent sogginess. Watering amounts depend on the temperature. Be sure to water less during the winter and more in the summer.


Cymbidium orchids don’t require a ton of additional nutrients. Adding slow-release fertilizer pellets to the potting soil at the beginning of the season is enough for good results. Choose a balanced fertilizer and use only when plants are actively growing.

2. Sarcochilus

Moderate to Low light

Medium to coarse grade treated pine bark and river pebbles

Most sarcochilus need minimum temperatures of 40°F to bloom properly, and cannot tolerate temperatures over 90°F. They will tolerate a light frost with overhead protection and constant air movement.

The potting mixture should be constantly moist near the roots of the plant. Be extremely careful not to overwater during the winter.

Light feeding when in active growth is extremely beneficial. Use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer during this period.

3. Phalaenopsis

Medium to Bright Indirect Light

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade orchid bark or orchid mix

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 68-85°F. At night they will tolerate slightly cooler environments but the temperature needs to remain steady when in bloom. Chilly temperatures or drafty areas can cause flowers and buds to drop.

Water once a week and allow potting mix to almost dry out between waterings. Do not let it stand in water.

Apply Phalaenopsis fertilizer at one-quarter strength with every other watering when orchid is not in bloom. Fertilizer can also be used to encourage blooming.

4. Dendrobium

Morning Sun (can be direct), Afternoon Shade

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade orchid bark or orchid mix

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 68-85°F. At night they will tolerate slightly cooler environments, but the temperature needs to remain steady when in bloom. Chilly temperatures or drafty areas can cause flowers and buds to drop.

Water once a week and allow potting mix to almost dry out between watering. Do not let it stand in water.

When your orchid is blooming, fertilizer is not needed. During the summer, add a balanced fertilizer with every other watering. Stop fertilizing in fall. If no new growth appears by January, consider a high phosphorus fertilizer to promote blooms.

5. Cattleya

Morning Sun (can be direct), Afternoon Shade

Coarse medium such as medium-grade fir bark

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures below 85°F. At night they prefer slightly cooler environments. Occasional temperature extremes are tolerated if exposure is not prolonged.

Allow the potting medium to become dry between waterings. In nature, these plants grow in tree tops meaning they are used to drying out between rain.

High nitrogen fertilizers can be used year-round at one teaspoon per gallon of water. Feed once a month.

6. Vanda

Morning Sun (can be direct), Afternoon Shade

Coarse medium such as medium-grade fir bark

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between below 85°F. At night they prefer slightly cooler environments. Occasional temperature extremes are tolerated if exposure is not prolonged.

In nature, these plants grow in tree tops, where they often dry out between periods of rain. When watering, allow the potting medium to dry before watering again.

High nitrogen fertilizers can be used all year round. Mix one teaspoon with one gallon of water, and fertilize with this mixture once a month.

7. Paphiopedilum

Low Light

Medium or fine fir bark mixed with peat moss or perlite

If the plant has mottled leaves, make sure the temperature remains between 60-80°F. The more common Pahpiopedilums without mottled leaves can endure consistent temperatures as low as 50°F.

Water every 5 days. Check periodically to see if the top feels dry, and be sure not to over water.

Paphiopedilum require little fertilizing. If the plant is in bark, use high nitrogen fertilizer during growing season. Otherwise use a balanced fertilizer every other week in half strength, and make sure to flush the fertilizer with clear water once a month.

8. Oncidium

Morning Sun (can be direct), Afternoon Shade

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade bark or orchid mix

These orchids can withstand temperature between 55-85°F. Oncidiums can tolerate more heat if there is sufficient air movement.

This plant does not adhere to a watering schedule. Check water levels by pushing a popsicle stick to test for moisture. Watering needs can change from every other day to biweekly depending on the growing season.

If the orchid is planted in bark use high nitrogen fertilizer during growing season. Otherwise use a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength every other week, and make sure to flush the fertilizer with clear water once a month. Fertilize more during sunny conditions.

9. Miltonia

Bright, Indirect Light

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade bark or orchid mix

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures below 85°F. At night they will tolerate slightly cooler environments. Occasional temperature extremes are tolerated if exposure is not prolonged.

Miltonia grows throughout the entire year, and requires more frequent watering. Typcally, it can be watered once weekly during the winter and twice during the summer.

High nitrogen fertilizers can be used year-round at one teaspoon per gallon of water. Fertilize once a month.

10. Odontoglossum

Filtered, Low Light

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade bark or orchid mix

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 75-85°F. At night they will tolerate slightly cooler environments.

Allow the plant to dry between waterings. Be sure to water more often when growing.

Fertilize your plants at least once a month with orchid fertilizer.

11. Vuylstekeara

Filtered, Low Light

Medium to fine fir bark

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 75-85°F. At night they will tolerate slightly cooler environments.

Allow the plant to dry between waterings. Be sure to water more often when growing.

Fertilize your plants at least once a month with orchid fertilizer.

12. Zygopetalum

Morning and Afternoon Sun, Midday Shade

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade bark or orchid mix

Zygopetalum orchids can thrive in summer heat and cooler winters as long as the plant is climatized. Once the plant spikes or flowers, it should be protected from temperatures below 35°F. Always keep these plants free from frost.

The plant should be watered about every 7-10 days. Be sure to prevent the bark from becomming completely dry, and don’t overwater to the point where the bark becomes soggy.

High nitrogen fertilizers should be used from spring to summer, while low nitrogen fertilizers should be used from fall to winter. Mix one teaspoon of fertilizer with one gallon of water, and fertilize with this mixture once a month.

13. Ludisia

Filtered, Indirect Light

Mix of 60% potting soil and 40% grit or perlite

These orchids can withstand temperatures between 55-85°F. Don’t expose them to anything below 50°F.

This plant prefers slightly damp conditions. Do not allow it to dry out between waterings.

Jewel orchids are small feeders. They only require fertilizer a few times a year. You can use a special orchid feed or something more generic like regular fertilizer.

14. Phaius

Bright, Indirect Light

Well draining houseplant potting mix

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 75-85°F. At night they will tolerate slightly cooler environments.

This plant prefers slightly damp conditions. Do not allow it to dry out between waterings.

During warmer weather or in warmer climates fertilize every other watering.

15. Phragmipedium

Bright, Indirect Light

Seedling grade fir bark type mixes, possibly with tree fern for drainage

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 75-85°F. At night they will tolerate slightly cooler environments. Good air movement is very important.

Since these plants prefer damp conditions, they are best grown sitting in small saucers filled with about half an inch of fresh water. When the water is almost used up, water again.

To fertilize, use low nitrogen fertilizer every other watering. It is important to rinse the pot occasionally to get rid of accumulated fertilizer, especially if using clay pots and saucers.

16. Brassavola

Bright, Indirect Light

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade orchid bark or orchid mix preferably with clay pellets, charcoal and pine bark chips

Brassavola prefer intermediate to warm temperatures. It blooms best in temperatures between 65-85°F.

Water often during growing season, but keep it slightly dry after flowering.

The orchid should be fed throughout the year with a weak fertilizer solution.

17. Cycnoches

Bright, Diffused Light

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade bark or orchid mix

The ideal day temperature is 75-80°F, while the ideal night temperature is 60-65°F. Occasional temperature extremes are tolerated if exposure is not prolonged. As long as you keep the temperature reasonable, you should have a healthy plant.

Cycnoches grow throughout the entire year, and require more frequent watering. Typcally, they can be watered once a week during the winter and twice a week during the summer.

High nitrogen fertilizers can be used year-round. Mix one teaspoon of fertilizer with one gallon of water, and fertilize with this mixture once a month.

18. Catasetum

Birght Light

Fine-grade orchid bark is common for smaller pots; medium-grade bark is used only for large pots

Native to hot tropical areas, these orchids do best in warm climates with day temperatures of 80-100°F and night temperatures of 60-65°F. When the growing period ends temperatures should be reduced to 70-85°F during the day and 55°F at night.

These plants grow for a short period. Water weekly when you see new leaves forming. Gradually reduce watering once growth stops.

Use a high nitrogen formulation while plants are in active growth, slowly tapering off as the growth period ends. Bloom booster fertilizer should be used in the fall except for plants that normally bloom in the spring.

19. Epidendrum

Medium to Bright Indirect Light

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade bark or orchid mix

The average daytime temperature should be between 60-90°F, and the average nighttime temperature should be between 50-70°F. These orchids can even tolerate near freezing temperatures for short periods of time.

Epidendrum orchids need more frequent and abundant watering. Water every 4-5 days during the warmer months and once weekly in the cooler months.

Fertilize regularly when in full growth. A balanced fertilizer is recommended at a half-strength solution every time you water.

20. Encyclia

Bright Light

Rapidly draining potting mix like coarse fir bark

This plant does best in daytime temperatures of 70°F and nighttime temperatures between 55-60°F.

These plants like to stay rather dry. Allow to dry out during the winter and increase watering slightly when growth resumes.

When Encyclia orchids are in active growth they should be fertilized once a week. An orchid fertilizer mix is recommended. During the winter months, Encyclias should only be fertilized once a month.

21. Lycaste

Bright, Filtered Light

Potting mix of sphagnum moss or fine fir bark and perlite

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 75-85°F. At night they do best in temperatures between 50-60°F.

Water when the plant’s potting mix is nearly dry to the center. It is best to soak the potting mix thoroughly when watering. This can be as often as every 2-3 days in the summer, and every 7-10 days in the winter.

Plants in this group should be given a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer about once a month during their growing months.

22. Masdevallia

Medium to Low Light

Potting mix of sphagnum moss or fine fir bark and perlite

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 75-85°F. At night they like temperatures between 50-60°F.

This plant likes to stay moist but not wet. It is best to soak the potting mix thoroughly when watering. Water around every 2-3 days in the summer and every 7-10 days in the winter.

Apply a light amount of fertilizer at half strength every third time the plant is watered.

23. Psychopsis

Low to Bright Light

Well draining potting medium like fine-grade orchid bark or orchid mix preferably with clay pellets, charcoal and pine bark chips

During the day they thrive in mild temperatures between 75-85°F. At night they do best in temperatures between 50-60°F.

These plants enjoy moisture and should be watered every 2-3 days during the summer. Watering can be reduced in cooler climates.

Fertilize most heavily during growing periods and when the plants are placed in brighter light. Any orchid-friendly fertilizer can be used, but less nitrogen is needed when the plant is growing in a fir bark mix.

5 Most Popular Orchid Varieties – Which One do You Have?

Orchids are no doubt everyone’s favourite plant. Whether you have it placed outside in the garden or brightening up a room in the house, there’s no denying we love this beautiful easy-care plants but just which variety do we own?

With literally thousands of orchid types around to purchase, discovering the type you have may sound difficult but we’ve compiled a list of the five more popular varieties and even included some care tips on how to look after them so you can get the most from your favourite flowers.

1. Phalaenopsis orchid

Also known as “moth orchids” the Phalaenopsis is exceptionally popular, especially among beginners who are eager to get their green fingers out. Because orchids are known for being hard to grow, many choose the Phalaenopsis orchid because it’s one of the easiest to look after.

With their delicate wing-shaped leaves they are a stunning plant that is sure to look good in any room in your home.

One of the key benefits to this gorgeous bloom is the fact that it doesn’t like direct sunlight so it’s best to place it in your window to give it the right amount of sun and shade and create a beautiful focal point for the room.

Add this to the fact the Phalaenopsis orchid doesn’t need high temperatures or high humidity and its hardly surprising that they top our popularity list.

You’ll also be pleased to know that unlike many other orchid varieties which demand constant attention, these orchids only need watering once a week. Simple!

2. Cattleya orchid

The Cattleya orchid is one of the most popular choices in the UK as they just love a touch of natural light and provide some of the most stunning colours around. This makes them popular in any room but with their big beauty comes some big responsibility for growing them.

If you wish to grow your Cattleya orchid inside then it is recommended you place them in a conservatory or a green house – if you have it – as they need a heat and humidity in order to flourish.

They love between 60-70% humidity surrounding them during the daylight hours and therefore it’s highly recommended to only purchase these blooms if you have an area where this is possible.

image: rforchids.com

Another tricky part to get right is the light requirements of the Cattleya as they require more light than some other varieties but can be damaged or even killed by too much light exposure.

It is therefore recommended that you place the orchid in direct sunlight during the early morning and late afternoon. Try not to expose them to direct sunlight between 12-1pm as this will cause them to burn, meaning their petals will wilt.

3. Vanda orchids

Needing little care and the ultimate outdoor plants, the Vanda orchid can normally be found in a hanging basket outside many English homes.

The most important tip you should remember when it comes to Vanda orchids is that overwatering will kill them, so go easy on the juice!

image: orchidsplus.com

When placing them in a hanging basket, ensure that there are rocks or pebbles about a third of the way from the bottom to ensure plenty of air ventilation which is essential to ensuring your orchid lives a happy, healthy life.

Unlike many other orchids, the Vanda needs feeding from time to time too. You can do this by fertilizing them. There are tonnes of plant foods out there however the most preferred are the nutrient solution, commercial concentrates and manure water.

4. Paphiopedilum orchid

The Paphiopedilum orchid really is one of a kind with the fact it only provides one vibrant bloom that’s sure to stand out no matter where you place it.

Known to be one of the easiest orchids to grow, the Paphiopedilum requires a great deal of sunlight throughout the day but shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight as this may cause them to burn.

Instead, place them in the window and ensure that they are exposed to warm temperatures and high humidity such as those provided by a conservatory.

image: orchidconservationcoalition.org

In order for this orchid to grow to the best of its ability, you should ensure that when you water it the roots are constantly moist too.

5. Miltonia orchid

The Miltonia orchid is favored by homeowners who require a stunning bloom and a gorgeous aroma so it’s no wonder it is among the five most popular orchids!

In order to ensure this orchid remains beautiful, it’s important that you keep it out of direct sunlight as believe it or not, these orchids absolutely thrive in low light. You can work out for yourself if your orchid is in the perfect location by touching its leaves; if they’re cool then your orchid is most definitely happy.

image: orchidweb.com

Water is really important to the Miltonia orchid and must be provided on a regular basis. No matter what the season, it needs watering on a regular basis – 1-2 times per week on average.

It’s also recommended that you feed the Miltonia with fertilizers as this will ensure that they continue to bloom and brighten up your home.

Which of these five orchids is your favorite?

Are you mad for the Miltonia or potty for the Phalaenopsis?

Buy a Phalaenopsis orchid or Dendrobium Orchids from Serenata Flowers today to treat yourself or a loved one to this special bloom. With so many varieties and colours to choose from, you’re bound to make someone’s day very special with a beautiful white orchid, yellow orchid or light pink orchid.

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Various Orchid Flowers To Grow Indoors: Different Types Of Orchids

So you want to grow an orchid? There are tens of thousands of orchid varieties to choose from, in almost every color of the rainbow. Some exotic versions are rarely seen outside specialty shows, while others are readily available to the novice grower. Unlike the common stereotype, many types of orchids will thrive as houseplants, and don’t need to be kept in a greenhouse. The orchid you’ll choose to grow will depend on the environment in your home, as well as the way the plant looks.

Orchid Plant Types

The variety of orchid plant types is amazing. Some bloom for weeks at a time, while others keep their flowers an amazing four months or more. Always check the tag that comes with the plant to determine the optimum temperature for your orchid. Choose one that fits in with your normal indoor environment, rather than trying to change your environment to fit the orchid.

Different Varieties of Orchid Flowers

As there are numerous orchid varieties to choose from, it would be impossible to list them all here, but some of the more common orchid plant types include:

  • Phalaenopsis – Phalaenopsis, otherwise known as the moth orchid, this is perhaps the most common of various orchid flowers you can buy in a general garden center. Moth orchids bloom once or twice a year, and each flower can last as long as three months with the proper care, and are the longest-lasting of orchid blooms. Moth orchids do well with warm temperatures in the house, in the upper 70’s on average.
  • Dendrobium – Dendrobium orchids are tougher than many other varieties, and are often recommended for people who are afraid to grow orchids. They tolerate lower moisture in the air than other varieties and can take a wide range of air temperatures, as well.
  • Cattelya – This orchid is probably best known as the corsage flower, since that is where most people first see it. Of the different varieties of orchid, this is the standard that most growers refer to. Cattleya is a native of South America and loves heat and light. Grow them in rooms that feel almost stuffy and place them where they can get as much sunlight as possible without burning them.
  • Cymbidium – These showstoppers have been known to produce up to 30 flowers on one spike, and to last months at a time with fresh-looking blooms. Keep Cymbidium in cooler rooms, with an average temperature about 70 F. (21 C.), but with a lot of bright light.
  • Epidendrum – Having tons of species with either pseudobulbs or cane-like stems and various sizes, these epiphytic orchid flowers are highly fragrant and nearly ever-blooming. Epidendrum orchids prefer intermediate to warm temperatures, filtered to bright light, and high humidity.
  • Oncidium – Also, epiphytic, these orchids prefer to have their roots exposed to the air, hanging over the edge of pots. The long-lasting flowers are most often found in shades of yellow and brown, and prefer cooler temperatures, full sun, and plenty of water.
  • Miltonia – Often called pansy orchids because of the open, flat flowers, this species is divided into warm-growing, small-flowered varieties and the cool-growing, large-flowering types. Miltonia orchids like filtered to shady light, high humidity, good air circulation, and evenly moist mediums.
  • Vanda – With over 70 species, Vanda orchids are divided into two main groups based on the shape of their leaves: strap-leaved (will bloom indoors) and terete-leaved (does not bloom inside). This orchid gets tall and requires support. Give Vandas warm temperatures and filtered to strong light.

Orchid types explained

Orchids make great houseplants – their exotic-looking flowers, in a huge range of colours, can last for several months. Some even have a lovely scent. Cared for correctly, they can last for many years.


Orchids hail from many different parts of the world, from the tropics to the Andes. For this reason they different care requirements, so always check the label and care instructions for your particular type.

Orchids can be divided into three groups according to the temperatures they thrive in – cool, intermediate and warm.

Cool-growing orchids include Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Odontoglossum and Miltoniopsis. They enjoy temperatures between16°C- 21°C (60°F -70°F) in summer and no less than 10°C (50°F) in winter.

Intermediate-growing orchids include Cattleya, Cambria, Paphiopedalum and Oncidium. They like temperatures of between18°C-24°C (65°F-75°F).

Warm-growing orchids include Phalaenopsis and Vanda. They like temperatures of between 21-29°C (70°F-85°F) in summer and no less than 18°C (60°F) in winter – making them a good choice for centrally heated homes.

Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) are the most popular type of orchid, on sale in garden centres and supermarkets. Watch Alan Titchmarsh’s video guide to caring for moth orchids.

Read our full advice on caring for orchids.

You’ll also find other types of orchid, including those listed below.

Orchids make great houseplants – their exotic-looking flowers, in a huge range of colours, can last for several months. Some even have a lovely scent.

Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Moth orchids, or Phalaenopsis, are widely found in garden centres and supermarkets. They come in a wide range of colours and are easy to grow. Grow in a special bark medium rather than compost, in a spot that has bright, filtered light to thrive. They like humidity – for best results, grow in a light, humid kitchen or bathroom.


Dendrobiums require cooler growing conditions and a less humid environment than moth orchids. Reduce watering in autumn, and move plants to a bright windowsill or porch, where they can remain cool and dry until spring. Then, when temperatures start to increase again, increase watering and bring indoors.


Cymbidium orchids are easy to grow. Their pretty flowers, in a range of colours, appear from late winter to early spring. Cymbidiums prefer cool growing conditions. To flower well they need a distinct drop in temperature between day and night from mid- to late summer.


Cattleyas have bright, showy blooms that reach up to 20cm across, which can appear in autumn or spring. Plants produce ‘pseudobulbs’ topped with one or two fleshy leaves. They like a temperature of around 18-20°C (64-68°F), not dropping below 13°C (55°F) at night.


Ascocendas are the result of a cross between a Vanda orchid and an Ascocentrum. They combine the large flowers of the Vanda and the compact growth of the Ascocentrum. The brightly coloured flowers can appear three times a year. They enjoy warmth in winter and plenty of humidity.


Vandas produce large, beautiful flowers, usually between spring and autumn. They hail from tropical climes, so they love high temperatures and high humidity. They are often grown in slatted baskets or glass vases with little to no potting medium. Unlike most other orchids, they enjoy a sunny spot.


Also known as lady’s slipper, cypripediums have a huge flower pouch (actually fused flower petals) and long, often twisting sepals. They’re easy to grow in good multipurpose compost. Give them plenty of water during the flowering season. Many species are hardy and can be grown outside.


The intricate veins and spots on the flowers mean that Odontoglossum are often called ‘butterfly’ orchids. Unlike most orchids, they do well in low light levels, such as a north facing windowsill. They hail from the Andes and like cool, fresh, airy conditions.


Cambria orchids are more precisely called Vuylstekeara, a hybrid of Odontoglossum, Miltonia and Cochlioda orchids. They are widely available in garden centres and supermarkets. They like similar conditions to Odonoglossum but will tolerate a wide temperature range.


Oncidium orchids are sometimes known as dancing ladies and usually flower in autumn. The hybrids that you’re most likely to see in shops are the easiest to grow – they like temperatures on the cool side. They will appreciate a spell outside in summer.


Miltonia or pansy orchids are often found on sale at garden centres, and are often actually Miltoniopsis hybrids. These compact plants have large flowers with a distinctive ‘mask’ or ‘face’, as pansies do. They like cooler temperatures but are forgiving of temperature fluctuations.



Paphiopedilum are known as slipper orchids, thanks to the pouch-shaped lip of the flower, used to attract pollinators in the wild. They usually flower from November to March. They like humidity and moderate temperatures – between 10-25°C (50-77°F). Move to a cool, bright spot in winter.

Orchid growing tips

  • Grow in bright light, but away from direct sunlight
  • Don’t overwater – this is a common mistake. Wait until the roots look silvery and do not allow the pot to stand in water
  • Most orchids enjoy humidity – stand on a tray of moist pebbles
  • Pot on every two or three years

Orchid Tips & Types

Orchids are everywhere. Pick up any home decorator magazine or watch TV, and you’re bound to see an orchid gracing any well-dressed room. Exotic and elegant, colorful and unique, a single flower makes a bold statement.

Contrary to popular belief, Orchid plants are relatively easy to grow. Proper watering is the key to success. Too much water is as detrimental as not enough. Overwatering is the number cause of death of orchids in the home. Unlike many houseplants that like an even, consistent moisture, most Orchids thrive with a bit of neglect. Most need to dry out between waterings, which is about once a week. This varies depending on the season and stage of growth. Generally, water the plant when the pot feels light.

Air circulation is important. Specially designed orchid pots with holes or slits in the sides of the containers are ideal for growing orchids. Growing medium should be porous, well drained, and somewhat moisture retentive. Depending on the genus, use pure sphagnum moss or a bark mixture amended with peat, perlite or charcoal.

Most orchids benefit from increased humidity. Create a sub-environment in your home by placing the orchids on a humidity tray. Elevate orchid pots on a layer of gravel, rock or even over-turned clay saucers to keep plants from sitting in water.

Fertilize orchids every week with a weak solution, one-quarter to one-half of manufacturer’s recommendations, of a balanced 20-20-20. For a customized program, switch to high nitrogen (30-10-10) fertilizer during the growing season (April thru September) and use blossom booster (10-30-20) from October through March. While in bloom, orchids can survive in virtually any location in your house. Enjoying the beauty of the flowers is the best benefit of growing orchids. Place your plant in a promi- nent place in your home or office, so you’ll receive maximum enjoyment.

Here’s a closer look at several popular orchid varieties:

Large showy flowers in white, lavender, purple, yellow and red. Cut flowers commonly used as corsages. Orchids bloom once a year for several weeks at a time.

Cattleya fact sheet

Tall stems of gorgeous flowers in white, pink, red, green or yellow. They bloom once a year for 30 to 45 days or more. They’re primarily available October through April and again in July through August.

Cymbidium fact sheet

Easy to grow, and available in white, yellow, green, pink, red, purple, stripes or spots. They usually bloom at least two months and sometimes up to five, once or twice a year.

Dendrobium fact sheet

Commonly known as the pansy orchid, featuring breathtakingly beautiful flowers. Many are fragrant.

Miltonia fact sheet

Small distinct and airy blooms on tall stems. Easy to grow, and available in yellow, red, mahogany. They bloom one to twice time a year for 30 to 45 days each.

Oncidium fact sheet

Also known as Lady Slipper. Compact plants usually produce single flower.

Paphiopedilum fact sheet


Commonly known as the moth orchid, one of the most popular and easiest to grow orchids. They’re available in a multiple of colors: white, yellow, pink, red, purple, or with stripes or spots, and will last at least two months, and can go up to 6 month or more with subsequent blooming.

Phalaenopsis fact sheet

Selby Gardens has spent more than four decades amassing the best scientifically documented collection of wild orchids in the world. The bulk of these orchids have been wild-collected, with excellent representation of the rare, the gorgeous, and the unusual. In fact, four of our seven collection greenhouses are dedicated to the care and nurturing of more than 6,000 orchid plants.

While you may not find all of our orchids at commercial shops and nurseries, here is a quick key to com common (and beautiful!) varieties of orchids.

Cattleya (kat-lee-ya)
Considered the “queen of orchids,” cattleyas come from Central and South America. This popular, showy variety features spectacularly huge and fragrant flowers; often used in corsages. They have water-storage organs, called pseudobulbs, and large, fleshy roots with a spongy covering useful for capturing moisture.

Dendrobium (den-droh-bee-um)
Dendrobiums are one of the most popular and numerous genera of orchids with about 1,500 species. Dramatic flowers perch atop tall, cane-like stems. Native to the Eastern Hemisphere, they can be found in environments ranging from the islands of the South Pacific to the foothills of the Himalayas in India. This broad growing range makes them extremely popular with gardeners. Some are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves seasonally when rainfall decreases.

Oncidium (on-SID-i-um)
Oncidiums are Western Hemisphere orchids found in habitats ranging from sea level in the tropics to high elevations in the Andes Mountains. They are commonly known as “dancing ladies,” due to the resemblance of the broad, flat lips of their flowers to ruffled skirts. These flowers are most commonly yellow and brown, while some species are pink, red, magenta, green or white, many with exotic markings.

Paphiopedilum (paff-ee-oh-ped-di-lum)
Paphiopedilums originate in the rain forests of East Asia. These semi-terrestrial orchids grow on the forest floor, on cliffs, or occasionally in trees and look quite different than other members of the orchid family. They require shady conditions and constant watering, as they have no major water-storage organ other than their leaves and roots. These long-lasting flowers are known as ‘lady slipper orchids,’ because their distinctive, pouch-like flowers resemble women’s footwear.

Phalaenopsis (fal-en-op-sis)
Known as “moth orchids” (due to their moth-like appearance), Phalaenopsis originate in tropical Asia and the South Pacific. They are the most common variety of orchid sold today and the easiest to grow in the home. They have large, broad leaves and long flower stems with blossoms of white, yellow, green, pink, and red. They require constant watering, as they have no major water-storage organ other than their leaves.

Vandas are found throughout the Eastern Hemisphere, with the highest concentration in Southeast Asia. While some grow in mountainous areas, most are lowland plants that live in warm and humid conditions with bright sunlight. Vandas can be large or small plants with flowers of corresponding size in a variety of colors, many with a powerful fragrance. They are long-lasting and bloom several times throughout the year.

Types of Orchids

Explore different types of orchids to learn if these graceful, exotic bloomers are plants you’d like to grow. Various orchid types hail from all kinds of diverse environs around the world. Some, like phalaenopsis orchids, are tropical beauties, while others, like cymbidium orchids, are native to cool mountainous regions. Some orchid species are hardy wildflowers, like the enchanting lady slipper orchids.
The indoor types of orchids, including cattleya and phalaenopsis orchids, produce flowers that last months at a time. When these houseplants start blooming, the flower show continues for a long window—from four to 16 weeks. Cymbidium orchids produce up to 35 flowers per blossom spike, and each spike lasts up to eight weeks. Phalaenopsis orchid flowers can linger from 80 to 120 days.
With the different orchid types, it’s important to master the watering schedule. If orchids have pseudobulbs, enlarged stem structures that store water, the orchid potting mix can dry out a little between waterings. Orchid species that are epiphytes and grow on tree branches in tropical rainforests are adapted to receiving water from daily rain, so they need more frequent watering.
Cattleya orchids, the orchid that’s widely recognized as a traditional corsage orchid, and moth orchids are epiphytes, so their orchid potting mix needs to be kept consistently moist. Cymbidium orchids grow from pseudobulbs, so they need less water on an ongoing basis.
One of the most interesting things about growing any type of orchid is how they grow. Most of the houseplant orchids and even lady slipper orchids need good air flow around their roots. With indoor orchids, use an orchid potting mix that features some kind of blend of composted bark, expanded clay pellets, hardwood charcoal and peat moss or sand. The mix should create many air pockets for orchid roots to breathe.
With lady slipper orchids, it’s important at planting time to place roots on top of soil, so they’re exposed to air. Top them with a layer of compost followed by a layer of mulch to help prevent roots from drying out. Keep these layers moist until plants are well established.
As you explore the different types of orchids, you can find a flower in nearly any color. Modern plant hybridizers have created a host of blossom hues. If this is your first time growing orchids, narrow the field by starting with phalaenopsis orchids, which are so easy that they almost grow themselves.
Most orchid types cannot tolerate direct sun, but need some light shade during the hottest part of the day when the sun is most intense. Place indoor orchids near bright east- or south-facing windows. Lack of light can cause orchids not to flower.

Do you know what is the largest taxonomic group of all living plants?

It is the orchid family. The most diverse flowers on Earth.

To make things more complicated, orchid taxonomy continually changes, and about 150 new species are discovered each year, adding to the known 22,000 species divided into almost 1000 genera.

How did all that diversification happen?

In highly competitive environments such as the tropics, orchids had to develop many novel strategies to attract pollinators. To our joy, that resulted in a fantastic display of fragrances, colors, and shapes unseen anywhere else in the plant world. No wonder that orchids, no matter how demanding, are such popular house plants.

But don’t worry, some orchids are fairly easy to grow. The exact demands of your orchid will hugely depend on the genus it belongs to. That is why determining the type of anorchid is a crucial step in providing complete care.

Fortunately, you don’t have to remember all 22,000 species. Species that belong to a genus are similar enough so we can look at them as a homogenous group – a type. There is a limited number of orchid types that make great houseplants, so remembering important information and mastering orchid growing is still possible.

Let’s learn more about some popular orchid types.

Angraecum Orchids

The Angraecum orchid genus consists of over 200 species, mostly growing in Madagascar and adjacent areas. Some of its most popular species can be named Angraecum sesquipedale (the famous Darwin’s orchid), Angraecum leonis, Angraecum. bicallosum, etc.

This species has a monopodial growth habit, which means they have a single central leafed stem with alternating leaves and flowers springing up from it. Some species are very small in height while others can reach the height of up to 6ft. Some have several flowers each inflorescence, while others only have one at their inflorescence.

Their flowers have various white and green shades depending on the species and often emit unique smell at night.

Brassia Orchids

Brassia is a genus known for its spider-like looks. The flowers are special for their fragrance and their long sepals which bring spider legs to mind. The blossoms are numerous, with 8 to 12 flowers stemming from each pseudobulb. The color pattern is also interesting – the upper petals are pale-yellowish-green, the “legs” are a creamy-rosy combo, all topped with maroon markings.

Brassia spider-like appearance is no coincidence. They use it to lure parasitic wasps which hunt for spiders into pollinating them when they attack to lay their eggs.

These orchids are native to rainforests of Central and South America, so they like their moisture. They require humidity of 50-70% and need to be watered regularly, especially during the growing period in spring and summer. However, as with most orchids, you need to ensure they aren’t too wet and that air circulation is good. Also, they prefer bright, but diffuse light.

Winter rest is mandatory for Brassia.

Brassavola Orchids

Brassavola genus consists of 21 species. Their natural habitats include Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies.

These are epiphytic orchids, with a few species being lithophytes. The single leaf is apical and succulent. Brassavolas produce elegant white flowers early in the winter. The delicate beauty and the fact that you will be honored by their fragrance in the evening earned Brassavola a nickname “Lady of the night”.

Brassavola can be grown in a pot or on an orchid mount.

Catasetum Orchids

Catasetums are highly attractive and praised orchid genus, characterized by deciduous biology and highly handsome fleshy, waxy flowers.

What is also highly interesting is that Catasetums are unisexual – able to produce both male and female flowers, which is very rare among orchids. Male flowers are usually produced in lower light than female bulbs and are more attractive. They also literally eject the pollen when you touch the flower.

The fact that they are deciduous means that they need a strict dry winter resting period.

Cattleya Orchids

The story about the first Cattleya ever discovered is a touching one. Around 1817, a horticulturalist William Cattley received a shipment of orchids from Brazil, with an unknown species which served as packaging for other orchids. He took one and nursed it back to life, and was rewarded with an amazingly beautiful, pink orchid flower with a distinct “lip.” Because of Cattley’s dedication, the botanist John Lindley named the entire genus after him, and the species in question was C. labiata.

Cattleya is an easy orchid to grow orchid – it requires intermediate temperatures and intense (but not direct) lighting – like the light from the South or East-facing window. They are adapted to slightly less humid environments than most other orchids – 50-60% will do.

Cycnoches Orchids

These sympodial orchids are related to the Catasetum genus. What’s special about these genera is they respond well to the light and temperature environment, whose intensity in hands determine the gender of the plant – either male or female.

Cycnoches orchids own big and thick spindled-shape pseudobulbs where the pendulous inflorescences spring up. The genera have various colors when blooming, including yellow, white, pink, deep red, green.

These orchids enjoy warm to cool temperature, typically 75-80 F (24-27 C) during the day and 10-15 F (6-8 C) at night. When grown indoors, plants should be placed where they do not expose direct sunlight to save them from sunburn. You can be perfectly fine growing them using artificial light (fluorescent, LED light), but make sure that the lights are not too close to the orchids.

Cymbidium Orchids

If you are looking for a not demanding orchid to grow in the garden or indoors as a houseplant, cymbidium orchid should be one of them. These orchids are fairly popular decorative plants grown among home gardeners and horticulturists.

This genus belongs to the Orchidaceae family. When they bloom, their flowers can last 6 – 8 weeks. Flowers come in virtually any color but black and blue.

The ideal temperature is warm during the day and a cooler at night. They are cold-tolerant even though frost can kill the plants. For the growth of the flower spikes to happen, you also need to maintain a change in temperature between the day and night of about 20-25 degrees, mostly in the fall. Cymbidium orchids like bright light, not direct sunlight for a long period, which can burn the plants.

Cypripedium Orchids

Cypripedium is a genus of 58 highly exotic orchids, so unusual because of their particular shape. They have a large flower pouch (fused petals), which earned them a name “lady’s slipper.” Also, they are additionally decorated with long, twisting sepals. Other types that have the “lady’s slipper” title are the orchids from genuses Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium.

The pouches of all lady’s slipper orchids have a distinct role – they make the flower look like a specific insect – a pollinator that the plant wants to attract.

Cypripediums are quite hardy Northern hemisphere orchids – their range includes North America and Europe, as well as central Central America, Central Asia, and China. Some species are resilient enough to be grown outside.

They can be grown in multi-purpose compost, and need a lot of water during their flowering season.

Dendrobium Orchids

Dendrobium is one of the most popular genera in horticulture, withDendrobium nobile being the most widespread ornamental orchid. Also, there are many notable hybrids.

The genus contains as much as 1800 epiphytic and lithophytic species, with a consequently large areal. Dendrobiums can be found in Asia – China, Tibet, India, and the Himalayas, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.

Dendrobiums require cooler temperatures and less humidity than its purely tropical counterparts. Also, they need a seasonal rest starting in autumn and lasting until spring. During this time, they require cool, dry, and well-lit position.

There are more cool facts about this genus and its most well-known representative, D. nobile. It is known to suck harmful substances, toluene and xylene, out of the air; it contains a unique toxin called dendrobine, yet despite (or because of) that it has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Encyclia Orchids

Encyclia orchids, also known as cockleshell orchids, are recognized for their octopus shape and beautiful richly colored pure, vibrant flowers.

Native to tropical America places, these orchids can be found in Mexico, Central America, Northern South America (through Brazil and Argentina). That explains why these orchids vary a lot with respective cultural conditions.

Their flowers ‘ colors can be purple, green, yellow to brown. Their lip can look flat and broad or ruffled. With over 140 species, different forms, and stunning flower color range, this genus is great for orchid hobbyists and collectors.

Epidendrum Orchids

If you are an orchid lover, you must have encountered the Epidendrum orchid somewhere. This is one of the most common and largest types of orchid with over 1000 species, which can be found in subtropical and tropical areas. Some epidendrum species have fragrance.

These orchids typically have a tall reed-like stem which the roots emerge from. Others are pseudobulbs with alternating leaves.

You can see their flowers from their inflorescences, turfs, and sometimes in a corymb. They usually bloom in bunches with different flower color shades, including red, yellow, orange, or lavender.

Intergeneric Orchids

Like their name suggests intergeneric orchids are created by crossing orchids from different genera.

The hybrids from interesting lineages often have striking, surreal flowers.

Since different intergeneric orchids come from different combinations, their demands may vary. It is best to know the parental species and opt on the best approach based on their needs. However, because so much hybridization has taken place, many hybrids have lost this connection to their lineages, and their care can be pinpointed as similar to Oncidiums.

Ludisia Orchids

Ludisia orchids, commonly known as “jewel orchids”, are a monotype orchid genus that consists of only one species – L. discolor. This exquisite genus has its name for its stunning deep violet foliage, which caught your eye immediately. Meanwhile, their flowers are also beautiful but not really outstanding with small white cluster grown on tall stalks.

Native to East Asian tropics where plants are covered by the thick forest canopy, these orchids do not like much sunlight. That makes this genus can be grown indoors well as a standard houseplant where the natural light is limited. Given their undemanding growing condition and their beautiful look, Ludisia orchids are an ideal orchid choice for orchid hobbyists and sellers as well.

Lycaste Orchids

Native to the tropical areas in Central and South America, these orchids are recognized for their multiple flower spikes from their roundish pseudobulbs, and their thin but large & broad petals.

Another distinction is that some Lycaste species emit unique scent, a good point if you are looking for a fragrant orchid. These orchids bloom in different colors with the most common being white, orange, yellow, red, green, and purple. Flowers are medium in size from 5 cm up to 18 cm.

Some popular species of this genus to grow include L aromatica, L tricolor, Lycaste cruenta, and Lycaste lassioglossa.

Masdevallia Orchids

Here’s something completely different, and strange – even for an orchid! Masdevallia is a large genus that grows predominantly at high altitude regions of South America – Andes of Colombia and Equator, Peru, and Bolivia. Among Masdevallias, there are terrestrials, epiphytes, and lithophytes.

Because the genus has over 500 species, the morphology varies, but it is highly unusual in most cases.

This is the most cold-loving genus on the list – you should provide the temperature of 20C at most. Also, Masdevallias love moisture, which should be as high as 70-100%. If you manage to ensure these conditions, growing Masdevallias becomes easy.

One of the most notable species is Masdevallia veitchiana, also known as the “King of the Masdevallias”. It is considered Peru’s national treasure, and it is most well-known for its striking triangular flower, intense orange color, and tiny purple hair on the sepals, which leads to a prismatic effect when viewing the flower moving in the breeze.

Maxillaria Orchids

Maxillaria orchids are not a popular genus among orchid enthusiasts even though this is a large genus of orchids with more than 300 species. Some popular Maxillaria orchids can be named – Maxillaria tenuifolia (Coconut pie orchid), Maxillaria schunkeana, and Maxillaria picta.

Their blooms are small and stem from the pseudobulbs’ base. They come in different colors including yellow, white, red, purple; some species produce fragrant flowers such as fresh coconut, vanilla smells.

This genus is often found in tropical America areas from Florida to Latin America. With their native location, these plants like bright indirect sunlight and a slight drop temp change from day to night temperature.

Miltonia Orchids

Also referred to as “pansy orchids” because of their similar appearance to the garden pansies. This genus originated from Central America to Peru, but are mostly located in Brazil.

The first species was recorded by John Lindley, in 1834 and they are growing in popularity in the home and greenhouses these days. This is primarily due to the fact that some Miltonia species are easy to grow and make a hybrid. You can find lots of Miltonia Hybrids on the market nowadays.

Miltonia orchids bloom in various colors such as yellow, white, pink, purple, and red. And like other orchids, this genus thrives in bright indirect light and not too hot day temperature with a drop of about 20oC for night temperature.

Oncidium Orchids

Oncidiums are also called “dancing ladies”. And indeed, if you look closely at Oncidium flowers, you might realize where the name came from.

There can be hundreds of flowers on the long, branching sprays of the “dancing ladies” – so much that they can even be mistaken for a swarm of bees!

Oncidiums prefer a cooler environment, a lot of moisture, and well-aerated roots. They usually flower in autumn. Hybrids tend to be easier to grow, and luckily, that is what you will commonly find in the stores. Oncidiums are also related to Brassias, and these two genera are often hybridized.

Paphiopedilum Orchids

This Asian- tropical Paphiopedilum Orchid Genus is an easy-to-care orchid; so many varieties and hybrids make perfect houseplants owing to their basic plant care. It got its name as “lady’s slippers” due to their slipper-shaped form in their blooms just like the Phragmipedium and Cypripedium genera.

This genus contains more than 100 species according to the World Monocot Checklist.

From their look, you can notice that these orchids do not possess pseudobulbs. That would mean the plants do not contain water in their bulbs; mind this so that you should keep moisture the soil well.
With various species, they can bloom in multi-flowers or single-flower.

Some popular Paphiopedilum species on the market can be listed such as P. armeniacum, Paphiopedilum callosum, P. delenatii, Paphiopedilum lowii, Paphiopedilum venustum, and etc.

Phaius Orchids

Also called the “Nun’s Orchid”, Phaius Orchids are highly decorative plants that are among the easiest orchids to grow indoors or in the garden.

Firstly introduced in 1778 by John Fothergill who brought the plant from China to England, these orchids are now distributed throughout China, South-east Asia, Japan, Australia, and Pacific Islands.

These terrestrial orchids come in various flower colors such as white, pinky, and red, purple, and brown. When blooming, their inflorescences can have more than 30 four-inch flowers. Their pseudobulbs are enveloped by the deeply-groove delicate but large leaves.

The Nun’s Orchid is not a demanding plant, which probably explains why it’s grown popular among orchid enthusiasts and home decorators.

Phalaenopsis Orchids (Moth Orchids)

When you imagine “an orchid” – chances are that the picture that first comes to mind is Phalaenopsis. This genus is among the most popular and well-known orchids, often seen even in supermarkets and garden centers. Moth orchids are popular because they are comparatively easy to grow, ideal for beginners, but still very showy. They have large lush flowers that come in a variety of colors.

They should be grown in a special bark orchid medium, under bright and diffuse light and in humid conditions – a kitchen or a well-lit bathroom could be a good solution.

Phragmipedium Orchids

Phragmipedium genus is proof that you can’t have a general orchid care sheet. While most orchids are very sensitive about moisture and watering them in enough but not too much is an artform, Phragmipedium orchid likes to be wet all the time. And it is no wonder, because these orchids thrive near streams in their natural habitats.

The colorful Phragmipediums also love warmth, with the drop of 10-15°F (6-8C) during the night.

The most fascinating new orchid discovered in the last 100 years belongs to this genus. It is the Phrag. kovachii, discovered only in 2001. Its flowers measure 5-7 inches (14-18cm), which makes them the largest in the genus.

Vanda Orchids

Vandas are Asian orchids known for their large round flowers with interesting patterns and a huge color variety. When you add the fact that some Vandas flower 2-3 times a year, it becomes clear that growing them is a very flower-power experience.

A distinctive feature of Vanda care is that they love an extremely bright light – 3000 – 5000 candelas. Also, they like to have a temperature drop at night and a lot of air around their roots, making them good candidates for glass vases and slatted baskets with no potting medium, or with just a tiny bit of it.

Vanilla Orchids

We know that “vanilla” is one of the most popular spices and fragrances in the world. But did you know that Vanilla is actually an orchid – an entire genus of orchids, in fact. The vanilla bean comes from the species Vanilla planifolia.

Vanilla are not your typical windowsill orchids. They are unusual because they are the only orchids that grow as vines, and need a lot of vertical space.

As you might surmise, Vanilla is one fragrant orchid genus. Yum. Individual flowers don’t last long – usually only one day. Luckily, the plant produces them in series, and flowering lasts for 1-2 months.

Zygopetalum Orchids

The Zygopetalum orchids are a small genus with around 15 recorded species; however, people have made many hybrids these days.

Many species can reach 2ft (60cm) tall with their upright cluster holding flowers at the top. These orchids produce appealing flowers with purple or indigo veins in their lips. Petals are marked with various color patterns and stripes such as burgundy, violet, or green. What’s more, some Zygopetalum species produce unique fragrances that add much pleasure to the room.


Through this article, you have witnessed an array of fabulous orchid colors, shapes, smells, and traits – but we have barely scratched the surface! Orchids seem to have an endless display of beauty for us. That is why they can never get boring and can never cease to amaze us.

What is your favorite type of orchid? What was your greatest success and your greatest fail when growing orchids? Share with us in the comments.


“Orchid Identification – What Kind Of Orchid Do I Have?”. rePotme.

“Orchid Tips And Types”. English Gardens.

“Orchid Types Explained.” BBC Gardener’s World Magazine.

Orchids are some of the most beautiful and mysterious flowers. The most expensive flower ever sold and the most priceless are both orchids.

Orchids belong to the Orchidaceae family and have 800 known genera, over 25,000 species and over 100,000 hybrids and cultivars. They are found all over the world except in Antartica. The different types vary extremely in size, weight and color. The smallest orchid was initially mistaken for a fungus and is only half a millimeter.

Grammatophyllum speciosum is the largest type of orchid and grows up to three meters in height. The world’s most expensive orchid, Shenzhen Nongke, sold for $200,000 at an auction in 2005 and is named after the university that developed it for eight years. Sri Lanka’s Kadupul flower, on the other hand, is considered the most priceless because it blooms just once a year in the night and withers before dawn breaks.


Angraecum Orchid

This type of orchid has over 200 species and has a star-shaped appearance. Most of them have small- to medium-sized blooms and come in colors such as yellow, white, or light green, although most of them are white. The flower has a wonderful fragrance, needs even amounts of water, and prefers temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, mainly because they are not a bulb plant and therefore cannot store water. They also look beautiful in hanging baskets and pots.

Brassavola Orchid

The main characteristic of this type of orchid is its very pleasant aroma, which means you will likely smell it even before you see it. The pure white flowers release their scent at night, are frequent bloomers, and can bloom all year long in many places. They are a small but showy type of orchid, and their leaves are long, reed-like in shape, and light green in color. They are also easy to grow and are low-maintenance flowers.

Catasetum Orchid

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These orchids are snowy white and have a dark yellow-orange center. It is a deciduous orchid that turns yellow and falls off during the winter when it’s dormant. Because they grow both male and female flowers, their blooms can look quite different, with the former consisting of an anatomical trigger that injects pollen into nearby bees.

Cattleya Orchid

Often a stunning two-toned orchid of bright pink-red and white, this flower is a hybrid that can actually have various freckles and specks, and even other colors, such as orange. The Cattleya orchid are very fragrant, and they are very popular for use in corsages. They grow up to eight inches in width and come in a variety of colors and designs. The flower is also very popular among breeders and collectors, and they do well indoors.

Cycnoches Orchid

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This orchid is also called the Swan orchid. It consists of many male flowers, which look like the neck of a swan, and it has a strong, almost spicy scent. It can grow up to 30 blooms on a single stem, and it is a sturdy and long-lasting flower.

Cymbidium Orchid

The petals of these orchids are a bit smaller than those of other orchids, and it consists of many spikes so there are a lot of those petals to look at. The Cymbidium orchid has won several international flower awards, and it comes in colors such as yellow and red (the Showoff), lime green (the Chica), and bright pink (the Frae). These and other Cymbidiums are excellent for first-time growers, because they are easy to grow and are low-maintenance. They also do better in cold climates than many other orchids do, and they make beautiful centerpieces.

Dendrobium Orchid

Because these orchids are top-heavy with lots of blooms on each stem, this type of orchid often requires staking. There are over 1,000 species in this category, and they usually come in colors such as white, lavender, or yellow. One of its biggest advantages is the fact that it can grow almost anywhere, regardless of the zone you live in, and some of them keep their leaves all year long. They can also come in more than one color per bloom, which makes them especially attractive.

Encyclia Orchid

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Also called Cockleshell orchids, they have no fragrance, but they do bloom for several consecutive months, making them appealing for people who want color in their garden for long periods of time. The Encyclia orchid has dangling petals and sepals, which is why some people say it resembles an octopus. It thrives when planted on an orchid mount because this simulates the epiphytic growing conditions found in the wild, and it comes in colors such as yellow-white with purple throats at the top.

Epidendrum Orchid

With over 1,000 pure species and many hybrids, this type of orchid is petite and attractive. They need a lot of bright light in order to grow and thrive, and if grown indoors, you may even need artificial lighting of some type. The Epidendrum orchid comes in colors such as pink and dark orange with yellow throats, and if treated right, it will bloom year after year.

Ludisia Orchid

Also known as the Jewel orchid, this orchid looks great whether it’s in bloom or out of bloom. Its large leaves are green and variegated with stripes, and it grows tiny white flowers in the fall and winter.

Lycaste Orchid

The Lycaste orchid is deciduous and sheds its leaves during the winter when it’s dormant. When this happens, sharp spines appear on the tips of the pseudobulbs, which are so sharp they can actually draw blood if you brush against them. They usually come in colors such as lavender, red, white, and pink, and they have beautiful yellow centers.

Masdevallia Orchid

The characteristic that makes these different than many other orchids is their shape, which is triangular, blocky and compact, or thin, whiskery, and elongated. They bloom in the summer and require certain temperatures and humidity levels, so you should research them before you decide to purchase them. They can be tricky to grow and therefore, they are better for people who are more experienced in the garden, and they come in colors such as yellow-orange and have leaves that are a beautiful shade of green.

Maxillaria Orchid

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With over 300 species, this type of orchid is well-known but not as common as people think, in part because only a few of the species consist of showy flowers that catch people’s attention. The ones that do, however, come in colors such as yellow with white tips and dark red edges, or dark red with wide white stripes. They contain three separate lobes and beautiful, narrow leaves that perfectly complement the petals.

Miltonia Orchid

The Miltonia orchid is also called the Pansy orchid, due to its face-like appearance. It blooms from late spring into the summer and comes in colors such as hot pink and white with golden yellow centers. It can have a combination of two or more colors that include red, various shades of pink, and white. It is a truly stunning-looking plant.

Odontoglossum Orchid

A very showy flower, this type of orchid comes in colors that include white, yellow, brown, purple, red, and a few varieties that are multicolored. They can be a challenge to grow, but they grow well if the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit because they are used to cool or cold climates. The Odontoglossum orchid has stems that can grow up to four feet high and blossoms that can reach up to six inches in width. Between 20 to 150 blossoms grow on each stem, and their petals are ruffled and very fragrant.

Oncidium Orchid

With a shape that is similar to a dancing lady, the Oncidium orchid is low-maintenance and easy to grow, and it comes in stunning colors such as bright yellow and gold. The variety called Sharry Baby has a chocolate-like scent, and although simple to grow, the Oncidium orchid does require a lot of moisture and humidity to thrive. If you notice any type of deformities in the leaves of this plant, it is likely because this requirement has not been met. They are truly beautiful bloomers.

Paphiopedilum Orchid

Also called the Lady’s Slipper orchid, this type of flower is easy to grow and is great for the beginner flower-grower. They come in a wide variety of colors, including cheery colors such as pink, white, and yellow, as well as more somber colors such as brown, burgundy, and near-black tones. In addition, many of the varieties include petals that have bristly hairs, freckles, and even stripes, with an added bonus of specks on some of the varieties’ leaves.

Phaius Orchid

This is not a type of orchid you’ll want to place on your windowsill, because the stems grow up to four feet high. Phaius orchids have large, strappy leaves, and they usually produce petals that are yellow, purple, or white. Also known as the Nun’s Cap orchid, it is a winter bloomer and makes a great addition to anyone’s garden, regardless of what else is planted there.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Also known as the Moth orchid – which is much easier and less cumbersome to pronounce – this orchid is great for beginners because it is easy to grow and maintain. Appearing in lovely colors such as yellow, light pink, and spotted with burgundy, the Moth orchid blooms on and off throughout the year and can tolerate repotting efforts – again, making them a great plant for those who are new to planting flowers in their garden. They have long-lasting flowers and look great as an indoor plant, which are a few of the reasons why they are one of the most popular types of orchids.

Phragmipedium Orchid

If you love watering plants, this type of orchid is for you, because it can tolerate a lot of dampness and regular watering. In fact, this orchid loves water so much that it can even tolerate wet feet. The petals consist of little pouch-like shapes surrounded by a moustache, and it comes in colors that include light green, white, and light burgundy.

Psychopsis Orchid

Also called the Butterfly orchid, this flower comes in striking colors such as burgundy and bright gold, and it can even have foliage that is green and speckled. It blooms for several months, needs only moderate light conditions, and it is very easy to grow and maintain. It is a truly stunning plant that can complement your garden regardless of what else is planted there.

Vanda Orchid

With long, thin foliage and beautiful colors that include violet, lavender, and white, the Vanda orchid is better suited for more experienced growers. They need bright light and high humidity, as well as chunkier growing mediums, and because of their elegance and eye-catching beauty, they make a great addition to any type of orchid basket.

Vanilla Orchid

There are over 60 varieties of the Vanilla orchid, and unfortunately, it only blooms for one day, opening in the morning and closing at night. They grow in clusters of 12-20 buds, and they are yellow-green in color and reach approximately six inches in length. Just like their name suggests, you can actually get vanilla from these flowers, and the blooms have a nice vanilla scent as well. They have to be mature in order to flower, which can take two to three years, and they grow up to ten feet in height. They do best in a garden or a greenhouse, but never as an indoor plant, and they need vertical support to grow and thrive.

Zygopetalum Orchid

This orchid blooms consistently from the fall to the spring and comes in colors such as purple, burgundy, and chartreuse. The foliage is green with splotches of deep purple, and they often have veins of a darker or lighter color running through the petals. These multi-colored flowers are beautiful and eye-catching.

Amazing Facts about Orchids

  • Orchids can be as small as a penny and large enough to weigh a few hundred pounds, so they vary greatly in size.
  • Their roots are somewhat different than other types of plants, because they have either rhizome, aerial, or tubular roots.
  • Every petal of every type of orchid can be divided into two equal parts; this is known as being bilateral symmetric.
  • Some species of orchids are parasitic and are unable to obtain food using carbon dioxide and the sun like other types of plants. Instead, these orchids get their food from the fungi that live within their roots.
  • Although orchids produce several million miniature seeds, only a few of these seeds develop into a mature plant.
  • Orchids are used for various purposes, including as a spice for some foods, in certain types of herbal medicines in Asia, and as a way to scent perfume.
  • One of the species, the Vanilla planifolia, has vanilla in its pod that can be removed and utilized in various products.
  • Orchids have been around for approximately 100 million years, according to fossil evidence.
  • Certain species of orchids can live for up to 100 years.

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Tags: Flowers Categories: Gardens and Landscaping

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