Easy Orchids to Grow
Despite their reputation for being difficult, many orchids can be easily grown as houseplants. Most have been bred to be compact and easy to grow and flower on window sillls and under artificial light. Without requiring much care, they can bloom every year, or even several times per year.
Dactylorhiza (Marsh Orchids)
Dactylorhiza (Marsh Orchids) are deciduous terrestrial orchids boasting lance-shaped leaves, sometimes spotted with burgundy, and showy terminal spikes crowded with purple, pink or white flowers in spring and summer. Because of their spectacular colorful inflorescences and their relative ease of cultivation, Marsh Orchids are the most widely grown European orchids. Marsh Orchids are very cold-hardy and do not require any special protection in winter. They can be grown outside in zones 5 through 8, depending on species.
Paphiopedilum (Slipper Orchids)
Originating in the jungles of the Far East including Indonesia, Paphiopedilum (Slipper Orchids) are semi-terrestrial orchids, growing in humus and other material on the forest floor, on cliffs in pockets of humus and occasionally in trees. Paphiopedilums are called Slipper Orchids because of their unique floral pouch. Resilient and easy to grow in the home, they are probably the easiest orchids to rebloom, or at least to keep alive.
Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchids)
Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchids) is a genus of 60 species and several natural hybrids growing in tropical Asia to the Pacific Islands and Australia. These orchids are usually epiphytic (growing on trees), but occasionally lithophytic (growing on rocks) or terrestrial. They are among the most popular cultivated orchids and thousands of hybrids have been made throughout the years.
Dendrobium is a diverse genus of more than 1000 orchid species distributed throughout tropical and subtropical Asia, the islands of the South Pacific, and Australia. These orchids are usually epiphytic (growing on trees), lithophytic (growing on rocks) and rarely terrestrial. Since the Dendrobium genus is so large and complex, the cultural requirements of these spectacular orchids will depend on their native habitat and the section of the genus to which they belong.
Oncidium (Dancing Lady Orchids)
Oncidium is an incredibly large and diverse genus of about 300 orchid species distributed throughout tropical and subtropical America. These orchids have been nicknamed the Dancing Lady Orchids because their flowers resemble a small dancer with a colorful skirt. Relatively trouble-free, these orchids are attractive plants for the home or greenhouse. They are sometimes described as difficult to grow. However, with proper care, it is possible to grow them relatively easily.
Cattleya (Corsage Orchids)
Cattleya Orchids are among the most popular and easy-to-grow orchids. Epiphytes (growing on trees) or lithophytes (growing on rocks), they include about 50 species and numerous hybrids in a variety of colors. Native to Central and South America, they are divided into two groups, the unifoliates, which have one leaf and large flowers, and the bifoliates, which have two leaves per stem and smaller flowers. Both types are very fragrant with showy flowers appearing on naked stems and lasting 4-8 weeks.
Cymbidium (Boat Orchids)
Among the oldest horticultural orchids in the world, Cymbidiums have been grown and revered in China for thousands of years. Prized for their incredibly decorative flower spikes, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages in the spring, they are among the most popular orchids in cultivation today.
Coveted around the world, Vanda is a genus of 50 orchid species found throughout tropical Asia, into the Philippines, and down to Australia. Prized for their huge and long-lasting flowers, these warm-growing tropical orchids are grown in the millions throughout Asia and in America. Vanda orchids are not a good choice for beginners as many species require bright light, warm temperatures, high humidity, ample water and strong air movement. Some of these requirements can be difficult to follow at home.
Phragmipedium (Slipper Orchids)
Mostly native to Mexico, Central America, and South America, Phragmipedium (Slipper Orchids) is a genus of about 25 species of terrestrial or epiphytic orchids found growing along stream banks of shady mountain slopes at elevations between 7,200-13,000 ft. (2200-3900 m). Phragmipedium are called Slipper Orchids because of their little floral pouch flanked by long twisted petals that hang like ribbons. They are vigorous, trouble-free, and flower dependably in the right conditions.
In cultivation for hundreds of years, Phaius is a genus of about 50 species of large, warm-growing, terrestrial orchids found in a huge natural range including Africa, Madagascar, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. Phaius tancarvilleae (Nun’s Orchid) is the species most often found in commerce. Easy to grow in the home, as long as you follow an appropriate care routine, these orchids are spectacular plants and make gorgeous houseplants.
Becoming very popular in cultivation, Zygopetalum is a genus of about 16 species of terrestrial or epiphytic orchids found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru. Easy to grow in the home, as long as you follow an appropriate care routine, these cool to moderate growing orchids make ravishing houseplants.
Masdevallia (Flag Orchids)
Native to Mexico, Central and South America, Masdevallia (Flag Orchids) is a genus of 500 species of epiphytic, lithophytic or terrestrial orchids found growing in cloud forest at high elevations. These miniature to medium-sized orchids are attractive because of their compact growth habit and profuse blooms.
Pretty Hardy Orchids for the Bog Garden
Stars of the bog garden, there are quite a few species of hardy terrestrial orchids that can turn a slow-draining, waterlogged spot into a beautiful attraction. With hardiness zones ranging from zone 3 through 9, they add an unexpected touch of exoticism in the landscape.
Pretty Fragrant Orchids
Aside from their beauty, some orchids exude a wonderful fragrance. Their scent can leave an impression greater than the orchid itself. Most orchids smell best in the morning, their fragrance fading in the afternoon when the temperature increases. Other orchids are fragrant in the evening.
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