The easiest types of orchids for growing in the home are phalaenopsis (called Phals or Moth Orchids) and the paphiopedilum (called Lady Slipper orchids).
Phalaenopsis Orchids are the easiest types of orchids for home culture.
They like the same conditions that most of us keep in our home.
Many people call them "Phals" or "Moth Orchids".
Phalaenopsis are my favorite orchid flowers. My husband's favorites are the big, bold cattleyas.
I think one reason I favor the Phals is because their flowers last for months.
Cattleya flowers on the other hand only last for a couple of weeks. If you are lucky they may last for three to four weeks.
Phals require medium light and unlike the Cattleya they need constant moisture.
Learn more about How to Care for Phalaenopsis.
Cattleyas are the types of orchid used for large corsages. The flowers are very large and showy.
The most common colors are whites, pinks and purples.
My favorite cattleya orchid is the semi-alba. They have white petals with a red lip.
Intergeneric crosses have produced some beautiful and showy yellows, oranges, reds and splash colors.
Cattleya types of orchids put on a wonderful show. See a brilliant orange cattleya.
Some of them have an intoxicating fragrance. Unfortunately the flowers last only from two to four weeks.
Cattleyas require bright light in order to flower. It is important to let them dry out between watering.
Paphiopedilum Orchids are better known as "Lady Slippers". Just imagine a lady slipping her foot into their pouch.
People commonly call them "Paphs".
They are very suitable for home orchid growing.
They like their nights a little cooler than do the Phals and Cattleyas. So put their pots up close to the window to get the night's cool air.
Green and white Paphs are commonly sold in the garden centers. They have lovely green and white variegated leaves.
Paphiopedilums prefer long tall pots. The roots like to have room to stretch out.
Paphs need constant moisture, but don't keep them soggy or the roots will rot and die.
These are hybrid paphiopedilum orchids.
They have big, bold flowers and solid green leaves.
They require a little more light than the variegated leaved Paphs.
They do not require as much light as Phals and definitely not as much light as cattleyas.
If they get too much light their thin leaves will burn.
They like cool nights and long tall pots, just like the variegated leaf paphiopedilum.
Cymbidiums are the types of orchids used in many modern orchid corsages.
They are also used as cut flowers.
Their colors are mostly in the pinks, yellows, reds and whites.
On the plant their flowers last from one to three months.
The standard varieties get fairly tall and take up quite a bit of space.
The miniature cymbidium orchid is more suitable for in the house.
Warm tropical situations will cause the cymbidium orchid to grow plenty of leaves, but they will not produce flowers.
For this reason many people in California grow their standard size cymbidiums outside under a covered patio.
That way they get the cool nights necessary for flowering.
The miniature cymbidiums don't require nights so cool and they are easier to flower in warm areas.
The miniatures will grow and flower in Florida. The standard cymbidium doesn't like to flower in Florida.
Oncidiums are commonly called "Dancing Ladies".
The oncidium orchid has multiple flowers per stem and they dance in the breeze.
They resemble a dancing lady with her full skirt swinging.
This Monarch Butterfly likes the Dancing Lady.
Oncidiums have a high light
requirements. Keep them close to the window for as much light as possible.
They need to dry out between waterings.
Papillo orchid is one of my favorite oncidiums because it so unusual.
It is often called the "Butterfly Orchid" because of its resemblance to butterflies.
It amazed me the first time I saw one in bloom. I thought it looked like a large insect with long antennae.
It usually is a single flower on top of a very long stem.
The flower is held high above the leaves, sometimes around 30".
Some of the inter-generic oncidiums have a lower light requirement.
So these types of orchids could possibly be grown at home.
However, most of them are on the large side and they would fit better into a greenhouse.
I mention them here because they are part of the oncidium alliance.
I am not recommending them to the average home orchid grower. But they do show up for sale in the garden stores.
If you wish, try them, it can't
hurt. They have nice unusual flowers and some of them are quite fragrant.
Dendrobium orchid flowers are long lasting and they are used as cut flowers. It has multiple flowers on a long stem.
White, pinks and purples are common. You may also see some yellows and greens.
One type of dendrobium orchid resembles the phalaenopsis orchid. So it is called a "Phal Dendrobium".
There is another dendrobium called the Antelope Dendrobium because their side petals are twisted like antelope horns.
The phalaenopsis type of dendrobiums have hard stems. Their stems are enlarged and they are called pseudobulbs.
The pseudobulb stores water for the dry times they would go through in the wild.
Dendrobiums absolutely must dry out between watering.
Do not over-pot your dendrobium.
Put them into what looks like a small pot for the size of the plant.
If they are put into a large pot, it will probably cause the roots to rot.
Another type of dendrobium, the Nobile Dendrobium has soft stems.
They flower all up and down their stem. Some of their flowers are very fragrant.
They like temperatures slightly cooler than the phal type of dendrobiums.
All dendrobium orchids have a high light requirement.
Again, do not over-pot this type of dendrobium.
They have a fine root system and extra water remaining in a large pot will cause their roots to rot.
Orchids are one of my favorite flowers, especially phalaenopsis because their flowers last months.
One year a hummer kept coming to look at the orchids in my window.
The hummingbird liked the looks of them.
He was looking at the beautiful hot pink orchids.
He checked out all the Types of Orchids.
Then he went to look for some Hummingbird Flowers.