There are over 25,000 types of orchids and, in fact the Orchidaceae family is the most numerous in the plant world! These beautiful plants have been around for over 100 million years and plants can range from microscopic to reaching several feet in height. The flowers have a distinctive look with 3 inner petals surrounded by 3 outer petals and a cupped petal that is distinct from the others. Some orchids even resemble other creatures like bees, moths and lizards!
Although we think of orchids as a tropical flower they can actually grow in almost any climate. They can grow on the ground or on trees and even rocks. Orchids are classified depending on their water requirements. Paphiopedilum, Cymbidium and Odontoglossum need a moist environment all year long. Cattelya, Oncidium and Dendrobium only need water when they are actively growing and the vanda Ascocend doesn’t really need water at all.
Cymbidium orchids are some of the most popular having 40 species and thousands of hybrids. These are one of the oldest cultivated orchids and can grow on the ground, on trees or on rocks. They can be found growing naturally in Japan, China, South East Asia and Australia. These are one of the easiest orchids for beginners and will flower every year if cared for properly.
Perhaps the most exotic of all orchids is the Cattleya which hails from South America. These are the orchids most typically chosen for corsages, however they have been over collected and many of these types of orchids are now endangered.
The Denrobiums are the second largest orchid genus and have over a thousand species. These flowers can be found in Northern India, South East Asia, Australia and Polynesia. They typically grow near the equator in tropical conditions, although some grow in climates with dry winters. While these are easy to grow, it is rather difficult to get them to bloom regularly.
Phalaenopsis orchids have long lasting flower and are rather easy to grow. These flowers are favorites at weddings and can be colorful in pinks, yellows and stripes. These are native to the Philippines and are quickly becoming a popular house plant.
Vanda orchids are another plant that is rather easy to grow. These plants produce flowers in vibrant colors such as blue, red, yeloow and orange. Flower spikes can have as much as 10 blooms that last for several weeks.
Orchids are a bit finicky to grow but these delicate plants will reward you with a soothing fragrance and beautiful distinct flowers. When growing orchids in your home, you need to remember to give them enough light, enough water and proper temperatures and fertilization. Orchids will need to be repotted every 2 or 3 years.
Lee Dobbins writes for http://orchids.garden-corner.com where you can learn more about caring for orchids