Orchid Types and Orchid Varieties
By now, everyone has seen how elegant and gorgeous Orchids are. Orchids are becoming one of the most commonly used cut flowers for arrangements and corsages. They can be found everywhere from the super market to the upscale plant nursery. Globally recognized as a sign of wealth and prosperity, Orchids are one of the most popular live plants gifted at almost all occasions.
Most people that receive an Orchid as a gift quickly scavenge the internet to find out how to care for it. Unfortunately, they quickly hit a roadblock when they discover the amount of Orchid types fills the search results with conflicting information. This is because there are more than 21,000 Orchid Varieties with over 100,000 hybrid types. To put that in prospective, that’s four times as many Orchid types as Mammal species on earth.
This helpful article is designed to outline the most common Orchid varieties and some of the best qualities of that species. Don’t be turned off by the large number of Orchid types, as they are all unique but provide the same level of beauty. Orchids grow all over the world, accounting for the difference in care required to keep them alive.
- Phalaenopsis Orchids or “Moth Orchids”
These Orchids are one of the most common Orchid Types that you will find. They are very commonly used for indoor plants because they are easy to grow and can re-bloom indoors. Phalaenopsis Orchids are also known for the exquisite flowers that they can produce in any color but blue and black. They were given this nickname because the flower resembles a flying moth when in full bloom.
- Cymbidium Orchids
This is another extremely popular when it comes to Orchid varieties. They are often grown for cut flowers for arrangements because they can last extended periods of time in water. These flowers will last months in a vase on display, making them extremely desirable. This is the perfect Orchid for beginners!
- Paphiopedilum Orchids
Otherwise known as “lady slippers”, these Orchid Types are the most exotic Orchids you will see. It is difficult to grow these Orchids indoors because they are extremely picky. The root system must be kept strong in order to survive indoors. These Orchids need to be repotted yearly to replace the growing medium with fresh soil and no salt buildup.
- Vanilla Orchids
Of all the Orchid Varieties, this species is the most fragrant and widely used. Most people don’t realize that the vanilla flavoring and scent that we use every day originally comes from this Orchid. This is one of the few Orchid types that grow in a vine fashion. This Orchid is extremely hard to propagate and takes several years to begin flowering and producing Vanilla.
- Anguloa Orchids
This type of Orchid is more commonly refurred to as the “Tulip Orchid”. When in bloom they look just like a Tulip, convincing many onlookers that they are the same. They are well known for the scent that they produce, which smells strongly like cinnamon. The leaves of this Orchid are deciduous, meaning that they fall off and grow back again every year.
- Bletilla Orchids
These Orchids are commonly grown as house plants because of their overall survivability. This species can be dried out and stored for months before planting, much like the bulbs that you plant in your garden. They produce numerous flowers at the end of the leaves, making them different than most other Orchid Types.
- Brassia Orchids
This Orchid Variety is commonly referred to as the “Spider Orchid”. This is primarily because the flowers of this Orchids resemble a spider native to the habitat in which they grow. This shape is used to attract spider hunting wasps that pray upon the local spider population. As the wasp moves in attempting to kill the spider shaped flower, it spreads the pollen and pollinates the next flower it attacks.
The flowers this Orchid produces are typically green or yellow with maroon accents. This allows them to match the color combination of the Local spiders in its natural habitat. This Orchid can be found in Mexico, Central American, the West Indies, and northern South America.
- Dracula Simia Orchids
These orchids produce flowers that look like monkey’s, earning them the nickname “Monkey Face Orchids”. These Orchids are very popular for Orchid enthusiasts because they are not commonly grown indoors. This orchid variety naturally grows in mountains of Ecuador. To grow indoors, they need to be provided with the same cooler temperatures and high humidity as they naturally would receive.
- Caleana Major Orchids
“Flying Duck Orchids”, as they are commonly called, are gorgeous flowers that are native to Australia. They produce flower that look like tiny ducks flying through the air about a foot off the ground. The odd shape and scent of the flower attracts local bees to investigate, pollinating the flower as they move from plant to plant.
- Habenair Radiata Orchids
This Orchid variety produces large white showy flowers that look like flying Edgrets. One of the most Iconic Orchids in the world, the “White Egret Orchid” is also one of the rarest due to poaching. They produce 1-8 flowers that are typically over an inch wide.
Native to China and Korea, this flower needs warm bog-like conditions in order to flourish. It is also necessary to provide them with a dormant winter period for them to live. Being extremely easy to propagate, this Orchid is becoming more common as a house plant.
- Ophrys Apifera Orchid
The “Bee Orchid” is native to Europe and is one of the most unique Orchids Varieties you will find. The flowers are designed to look and smell like female bee’s that are common in that habitat. This attracts male bee’s to come investigate and attempt to reproduce. That male bee spread the pollen from one Orchid to another, pollinating them rather efficiently.
This Orchid variety spreads rapidly in dry areas with plenty of sun. Each spike produces between 1-12 flowers between the months of April and July. Scientist have also recently discovered that they tend to Flower one year, then stay dormant for a few years before flowering again.
- Orphys Insectifera Orchids
Much like the Bee Orchids mentioned above, this Orchid variety produces flowers that look like insects. The flower of this Orchid look like flies, attracting other insects to come and investigate. This is a very unique way to pollinate compared to other flower in the world.
Native to Europe, the “Fly Orchid” grows best in soil with high alkaline levels. They also prefer cooler temperatures that Europe provides during winter months.
- Peristeria Elata Orchids
This Orchid is nicknamed “Dove Orchid” because of the shape inside the flower it produces. The flowers sport a small shape in the center that looks like a hand carved dove. The small extremely detailed flower in one of the most beautiful Orchids that you will see. Most people do not believe they are real when they first see a Dove Orchid.
This Orchid Variety is highly poached and sells for extremely high prices when collected from the wild. This has led to poaching laws that specifically outlaw the poaching of Orchids in Panama, where this Orchid is the national flower.
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