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All About Orchids

Everything You Need To Know About Orchids


Here you have it: everything you need to know about orchids, from buying and blooming plants, to descriptions of the five most popular orchids.

1. Growing Orchids: The Basics

Photo © Jon VanZile
Orchids are not especially difficult to grow, but they do have some specialized requirements. You want to find the right balance of temperature, water, humidity, air flow and fertilizer. Once you've found that, you can expect healthy plants and blooms year after year.

2. Shopping For Orchids

Photo © Kerry Michaels
Success with orchids begins in the nursery—buy the healthiest plants possible and ease them into your growing environment. Even gift orchids should be vibrant plants capable of long-term survival.

3. Watering Your Orchids

Photo © Kerry Michaels
Improper watering is probably the single most common cause of orchid death -- either too much or too little. The trick with watering your orchid is to replicate, as closely as possible, its natural environment. This means finding just the right balance between air flow and water.

4. Feeding Your Orchids

Well-fed orchids are obvious: they're the ones with the biggest and most profuse blooms. A careful fertilization program is essential if you want to grow the healthiest orchids.

5. Repotting Orchids

Photo © Jon VanZile
Even though they are often epiphytic plants in nature, most orchids are adaptable to growing in pots, as long as you use the right potting media and follow some basic pointers.

6. Phalaenopsis Orchids

Photo © Jon VanZile
Phalaenopsis are the world's most popular orchid, and with good reason. These plants feature dramatic sprays of long-lasting flowers in a variety of colors, and they are well-suited to indoor growing.

7. Cattleya Orchids

Photo © Jon VanZile
Cattleya are among the most popular orchids for collectors and breeders—there are thousands upon thousands of registered cattleya hybrids, with flowers in a mind-boggling array of colors, shapes and even scents. These orchids can do very well inside.

8. Dendrobium Orchids

Photo © Jon VanZile
Cane dendrobiums are both popular household and florist orchids. Widely available in white and purple, dendrobiums produce large sprays of small, elegant flowers on tall stalks. These are considered warm-house orchids that love lots of light, food and water.

9. Cymbidium Orchids

Photo © Westerlay Orchids
Cymbidiums have been making a major comeback in recent years. These orchids are perfect for colder environments—they can withstand colder temperatures than many of the tropical orchids. And their large, showy flowers are beautiful centerpieces.

10. Oncidium Orchids

Sometimes called dancing lady orchids, the yellow oncidiums are magnificent bloomers; a healthy plant will put forth sprays with dozens of small yellow flowers like a cloud of butterflies. Another variety of oncidium is known as the chocolate orchid because of its cocoa-scented flowers.
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