Orchids vary greatly in shape and size. Many have showy, colorful flowers. Others produce attractive, complex-smelling, long-lasting, and often fragrant leaves. Some orchids produce colorful, fleshy, showy berries.
Most orchids are epiphytes, plants whose roots grow on the surface of other plants. They are adapted to living in wet places, often on trees, rocks, or moss. Some orchids, however, are terrestrials, plants that grow on soil.
Orchids can be grown as houseplants, either using potting mixes designed for orchids, or potting mixes designed for houseplants.
Some orchids can propagate from seeds. Others must be propagated by cuttings.
Orchids need bright, filtered, indirect light indoors, or bright indirect light outdoors. They have long, dark roots, which need bright light. If their roots are placed in the shade, they turn yellow and die.
Types of Orchid Varieties You Should Grow
Orchids (Orchidaceae) are exotic, colorful, and fragrant houseplants, ideal for homes and offices. They can adapt well to low-light indoor conditions, and this characteristic makes them a successful and most sought-after houseplant! If you also want to add orchids to your flowering indoor plant collection, here are some suggestions you can grow.
Botanical Name: Brassavola spp.
First of all, Brassavola orchids are lovely! They are quite attractive flowers with long, slender petals and spiky, hairy leaves. Brassavola orchids bloom at night which gives it its name, nightblooming. While growing, they need bright, indirect light. Also, they need moist, but not saturated soil, and they should be kept dry during the winter months.
Brassavola orchids are easy to take care of and adapt to different growing conditions. However, they do need six hours of sunlight every day. Moreover, they tolerate heat, cold, and humidity very well.
Brassavola orchids like slightly acidic to neutral soils. However, the soil should be kept moist. Make sure that it does not stay too dry. Also, make sure that there is no water run-off from the pot.
Botanical Name: Cattleya spp
For a florist, growing and caring for Cattleya orchids is much like growing and caring for other orchids, but there are some differences. Cattleyas are tropical plants and need warm temperatures (80-90°F) and high levels of humidity. They also need bright light (but not direct sunlight).
Avoid planting Cattleya orchids in soil that is too rich or too poor. If the orchid is planted in a well-drained medium, such as bark, mix in some peat moss to raise the pH and add some fertilizer. If the orchid is planted in soil, mix in some peat moss to raise the pH and add fertilizer.
Cattleya orchids bloom on a cycle that resembles that of human beings. First, the buds open. Then, during late spring, the buds will burst and flowers will appear. During the warmer months, the flowers will continue to open, and then after the rainy season, the flowers will close up. These orchids need as much consistent light as possible, so during the warmer months, move the pots to a bright location.
Cattleyas need fertilizer, but not too much. If the orchids are fed, dilute it with water so it isn’t too strong. If the plants are overfed, the buds will burst and the flowers will not open.
Botanical Name: Cymbidium spp
Cymbidium orchids are native to tropical Asia and New Guinea, where they grow as epiphytes in tropical rain forests. Cymbidium orchids are among the most popular, and easiest to grow, orchids. Cymbidium orchids grow well indoors, in bright indirect light. They do not like direct sunlight.
Cymbidium orchids grow from tubers, like most other orchids, and they don’t like to be repotted often. If you repot them, do not disturb the roots.
Cymbidium orchids often bloom once a year. You should deadhead the spent flowers to encourage new growth. Cymbidium orchids require fertilizer. Use 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted to 2 tbsp per gallon of water.
Botanical Name: Lycaste spp
The Lycaste was cultivated by the Aztecs. The Aztecs called it the “Flower of Death,” because when you open the flower, all its yellow stamens fall off. The Aztecs used it as a medicine because it was said to strengthen the kidneys.
The Lycastes have large, heart-shaped leaves and large, fragrant flowers. This orchid will show its best growth when grown in partial shade. Plant the Lycaste in deep, rich, well-drained soil. It grows best in partial shade. It will bloom with smaller amounts of light.
Lycastes will bloom all spring and summer. It will flower best when grown in cool temperatures, so it is best to cut back the flowering stem when the day temperatures begin to warm in May.
Botanical Name: Ludisia discolor
Ludisia orchids bloom in spring and summer, and unlike many orchids, they have relatively long blooming periods. If the plant does not bloom after several years, you can repeat flowering by pruning it.
The plant grows best in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Try to plant it in the ground and keep it away from exposure to direct sunlight. The soil should be kept moist, but not completely soggy. The seeds can be sown in pots or directly in the ground. This orchid can be propagated through cuttings.
Botanical Name: Oncidium spp
Oncidiums are orchids that grow naturally in tropical rain forests, in clumpy, sandy soil. They are found in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. The name is from Oncidius, a mythological king of the Amazons, and is derived from Greek ὄνκις, onkos, “sand”, and ἰδίον, idion, “region or district”.
It is not unusual to see large groups of oncidiums growing together in forests. The flowers of oncidiums are among the largest of any orchid, from 4 to 8 cm across. The petals are deep purple, with yellow veins, and the lip is red, with white veins. The lip is surrounded by purple spots. The sepals are short, and the petals are green with a purple base. The lip is divided into three lobes, each with an eye.
The center of a flower usually has a yellow “eyespot”, but oncidiums can have blotchy or almost white eyes. The lip is usually broad and hairy and is marked with purple spots. The sepals and petals are green or purple. Oncidiums bloom at night, usually from February to April, occasionally later. They open in the morning and close in the evening.
Botanical Name: Phalaenopsis spp
Phalaenopsis orchids are native to Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Guinea. The genus name, Phalaenopsis, is derived from the Greek words phalaios, which means “beautiful”, and opsis, which means “appearance”.
They are epiphytic, which means the orchids grow on the surface of trees. Growing orchids on trees, rather than in pots, keeps the roots cool, and the plants healthier.
Phalaenopsis orchids have three main requirements: heat, humidity, and light. Phalaenopsis orchids flower best when grown in temperatures of 65-85 degrees. They also need humidity. There are commercially made sponge humidifiers for orchids, as well as commercially available orchid bark, which is made from wood. Phalaenopsis orchids also need bright light, and indirect light is best.
Phalaenopsis orchids do not need fertilizers, but it is important to feed the plants regularly. The plants should be fertilized every four to six weeks with a balanced orchid fertilizer. Never fertilize the orchids while they are in bloom.
Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to grow, but they need a lot of care. They require watering every day, or every other day, with the watering can pointed down. Water the orchid from the bottom, and be careful not to overwater it. Once the roots start growing out of the pot, the orchids should be repotted every two to three years.
Botanical Name: Vanda spp
The orchid’s name may come from its resemblance to the eye of the praying mantis, or from the (in)famous Vandyke family of artists. The orchid is, in fact, a member of the Nightshade family.
The flowers, which are up to 4 inches across, come in both white and pink, and are often purple or green. The scent is so strong that it can be smelled from 100 feet away. The flowers last from two weeks to two months, depending on the species.
Vanda orchids are native to Asia, but were brought here by settlers. They thrive in bright, humid conditions, and have been known to grow on trees. They like to be left alone, but won’t mind being trimmed.
The orchids can be propagated from cuttings, or from seed. They bloom best in 70-85 degree temperatures.