egret orchid

By Erica Smith | Orchids Plus

(Editor’s note: It’s thrilling to read this story about gorgeous types of orchids that are best for beginning gardeners. The writer, Erica Smith from Orchids Plus, knows a thing or two about orchids. When she was 12, living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, her father gave her an orchid and she never looked back. She began growing any orchid species she could get her hands on. Now she has an entire greenhouse just for growing orchids. So, it’s time to hear about the best types of orchids for beginners…. Take it away, Erica!
– ps: The photo at the top of the screen is by Steve Watz – see the bottom of this story for more)

Orchids produce some of the most beautiful and elegant flowers in the world. They can be found in gardens to corsages, and everywhere in between.

There are so many different types of orchids, so many species, that you can easily find them in any color or pattern, with the exception of blue and black. There are even species known to produce flowers that look like monkeys, moths, spiders, and shoes.

Whether you are just getting into orchids or have been thrown into orchids because of a gift, this article will help you get ready. If you received an orchid, I hope that it’s a good beginner species. The species that are harder to grow aren’t typically found in the grocery store, so someone would have had to go out of their way to make your life difficult.

Types of orchids that are good for beginners are those that can survive through slight mistakes. These orchids can withstand small amounts of neglect. As a beginner, you do not want to grow an orchid that is going to die if you water it 4 hours later than usual. The following types of orchids are great for beginners, but are also a great part of any orchid collection.

types of orchids, Phalaenopsis

Types of Orchids: Phalaenopsis (Photo: Abhradeep Kundu | Wikimedia Commons)

Types of Orchids: Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis (commonly called Moth Orchid) is the most common type of orchid. You will regularly find these at grocery stores, local big box stores, gardening stores, and flower shops. This Orchid variety can be found in all shades and combinations of colors. Moth Orchid flowers can last up to 4 months if cared for properly. These are often chosen for beginners because of their overall survivability and the length of the blooming season.

dendrobium, types of orchids

Types of Orchids: Dendrobium (Photo: Orchi | CC BY-SA 3.0)

Types of Orchids: Dendrobium

Dendrobium orchids produce some of the most beautiful flowers you will find. They are often grown by florists for use in cut flower arrangements. The flowers will last for about a month before fading out. This Orchid loves bright, indirect sunlight and don’t like to be kept too wet.

cattleya, types of orchids

Types of Orchids: Cattleya (Photo: Dalton Holland Baptista | CC BY-SA 3.0)

Types of Orchids: Cattleya

Cattleya is most commonly used for corsages and cut flower arrangements. They produce a large flower that is known to be extremely fragrant. The most common colors for this Orchid are pink, red, yellow, orange, and white. If you give them plenty of sunlight, they will bloom twice a year.

paphiopedilum, types of orchids

Types of Orchids: Paphiopedilum (Photo: Chhe | Wikimedia Commons)

Types of Orchids: Paphiopedilum

Paphiopedilums are one of the easiest orchids to grow at home. They grow huge flowers to compliment the large attractive mottled leaves. One of the factors that make this Orchid easy to grow is that they prefer relatively low light. This makes them perfect for many indoor locations throughout the house or workplace.

oncidium excavatum

Types of Orchids: Oncidium (Photo: JJ Harrison | CC BY-SA 3.0)

Types of Orchids: Oncidium

Oncidium Orchids are nicknamed “Dancing Lady Orchids” because the flowers look like dancing ladies on the spike. The cluster of flowers they produce it known to include over 50 flowers. They are popular for the strong fragrance they produce that can easily fill a room. Oncidiums will grow best if provided with temperatures between 50 and 75 and bright light.

phalaenopsis, Singapore

Phalaenopsis Avoiding Direct Sun (Photo: Singapore Botanic Gardens | CC BY-SA 3.0)

Follow the Directions!

Each orchid species has different needs and preferences that must be accounted for. The most important thing to do with any plant is to look at the tag and see what this plant needs. Each orchid species prefers a different amount of light, but none of them do well in direct sunlight. Even orchids that prefer tons of light need to be shielded from direct sunlight.

Another helpful hint pertains to forcing your orchid to flower. In the wild, orchids produce flowers when the air starts to cool down. That being said, if you feel that it is time for your orchid to bloom, you can move it to a cooler area for 2 weeks. An area 10-15 degrees cooler will force your orchid to bloom in no time!

Stop by OrchidsPlus.com for more great information on the different types of Orchids!

orchid flower, Michigan

Steve’s First Orchid (Photo: Steve Watz)

(Editor’s note: Thanks Erica! Orchids Plus is great single-stop source for learning about orchids! Note: The photo at the top of the screen was taken and posted on our Facebook page by Steve Watz, who grew the orchid in his Michigan backyard. To see more outdoor photos by Steve and others, and post your own, visit our Bombay Outdoors Facebook page.)


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