Want to grow your own orchids? We’ll help you choose which ones are right for you.
Assistant Horticulturist Chester Jankowski provided these basics on four kinds of orchids:
Also known as the moth orchid, orchids in this genus are among the easiest to grow. These orchids do well in low light and don’t need much fertilization; give them a bit of food once a week from April to October. Phalaenopsis orchids don’t need much water so go easy on the hydration. And stay away from a common misconception about care: do not use an ice cube to water these tropical plants.
These orchids can be a bit tricky to grow. Dendrobium orchids loves heat and humidity, but also ventilation. They like bright sun, but not direct sun. In summer, you can move these outside, but once fall comes around, they need cool nights to flower.
Cattleya come in almost every color (just not blue) and are known for their large, fragrant flowers. You might recognize them from being commonly used in orchid corsages. While they’re not too difficult to grow, be careful not to over or under water them. They need a lot of light, but don’t let them get too much heat.
Commonly known as lady slippers, these orchids are better suited to advanced growers. They’re mostly terrestrial, meaning they grow with their roots in soil, so they’ll need a different growing medium than epiphytic orchids (which grow on trees and have exposed roots). These natives of the tropical forest floors of Asia produce interesting blooms, but they need the right conditions. A combination of high humidity and low light helps them thrive, and a cool fall season encourages flowering.