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, 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 70s (mid-20s for C.) 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 orchids, 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 of 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.