10 Easy-to-Grow Orchids
Moth orchids are some of the least expensive, most common, and longest-blooming orchids available. In fact, one bloom spike can look great for four months or more. The flowers appear in shades of white, pink, red, green, yellow, orange, and purple.
How to Grow Them: Give moth orchids (Phalaenopsis selections) a spot in low, medium, or bright light and water weekly or every other week. Promote more and larger blooms by feeding moth orchids monthly with a fertilizer formulated for orchids. The plants do best in temperatures from 50 to 75F.
Here's a Hint: A drop in temperatures helps encourage them to bloom.
Dendrobium flowers, often seen at florists in bouquets, offer long-lasting blooms (they stay looking good for a month or more) in a wonderful array of colors from white to purple, pink, and even green.
How to Grow Them: Dendrobium selections prefer a spot in medium to bright light. Water them weekly or every other week and fertilize them monthly with a plant food formulated for orchids. They do best in temperatures from 50 to 70F.
Here's a Hint: Hundreds of dendrobiums are available; the most common types keep their foliage all year and bloom on new stems.
Sometimes called dancing lady orchids, oncidiums offer lots of colorful smallish flowers in clusters of 50 or more. They commonly appear in shades of yellow, purple, red, pink, and white, often with flamboyant, contrasting markings.
How to Grow Them: Oncidium selections do best in medium to bright light. Water them weekly or every other week and feed them monthly in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer. They do best in temperatures from 50 to 75F.
Here's a Hint: Some oncidium orchids are wonderfully fragrant -- watch for them to add an even more delightful note to your indoor garden.
Featuring waxy, long-lasting flowers in winter or early spring and an easy-care nature, it's no wonder why cymbidiums are popular indoor plants.
How to Grow Them: Cymbidium orchids flower best if given a spot in bright light. In fact, you can even bring them outdoors to a shady spot for the summer. Water them weekly to keep them from drying out. Get them to bloom best by fertilizing them monthly in spring and summer. It does best in temperatures from 50 to 70F.
Here's a Hint: Cymbidium orchids flower best if given cool temperatures -- under 50F -- for a number of weeks, which is why they're usually in bloom in winter.
Lady's Slippers Orchids
Perhaps the most distinct orchids, tropical lady's slippers offer big blooms composed of a hollow "pouch" backed by a sepal and two petals. Even better: Many lady's slippers orchids bear variegated foliage, so they look beautiful even when they're not flowering.
How to Grow Them: Lady's slippers (Paphiopedilium) grow well in low, medium, or bright light. Water them roughly once a week, and feed them monthly in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer. They do best in temperatures from 50 to 70F.
Here's a Hint: Watch out for multi-floral varieties that produce several flowers per stem. They'll give you a bigger display for a longer period of time.
You might think of this as a corsage orchid, but it's a wonderful indoor plant, as well as cut flower. Blooms are often fragrant and appear in a wide range of colors, from red to pink, white, yellow, and orange. Some selections feature eye-catching markings in other colors.
How to Grow Them: Cattleya orchids do best in medium or bright light. Water them once a week or two, and feed them monthly in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer to get the biggest blooms. They do best in temperatures from 50 to 70F.
Here's a Hint: Cattleya orchids can bloom twice a year and the flowers last for weeks. Make sure they get plenty of light so they rebloom quickly.
This beauty isn't usually grown for its flowers. Instead, it's the lovely purple foliage with pink stripes that attracts attention. The small white blooms, which appear in late summer or fall, are a cute accent to the leaves.
How to Grow Them: Jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor) does best in low to medium light. As is the case with many other common orchids, let it dry out a bit between watering. This may mean giving it a dose of water only once a week or two. If you wish, feed it with an orchid fertilizer once a month. It does best in temperatures from 55 to 80F.
Here's a Hint: Give jewel orchids plenty of humidity to keep their gorgeous leaves from developing brown, crispy edges.
Here's another wonderfully distinct, easy-growing orchid. Cockleshell orchid produces purple, clam-shaped flowers with chartreuse-green sepals that look a bit like tropical tentacles. The flowers last a long time and a mature plant produces lots of blossoms. In fact, it can be in bloom all year long.
How to Grow Them: Cockleshell orchid (Encyclia cochleata) grows best in low to bright light. Water once a week or two so the orchid mix just dries between waterings. Encourage more blooms by giving it orchid fertilizer once a month or so. It does best in temperatures from 60 to 80F.
A big and dramatic specimen, nun orchid is a lot easier to grow than it looks. In winter, it features clusters of purple, brown, and white flowers on stems to 3 feet tall, along with rich green corrugated leaves.
How to Grow Them: Nun orchid (Phaius tankervilleae) thrives in medium to bright light. Water it weekly from spring to fall; water every other week or so in winter. Encourage better blooming by feeding it weekly in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer. It does best in temperatures from 60 to 80F.
Here's a Hint: Make sure this orchid doesn't dry out and the air doesn't get too dry -- otherwise the magnificent foliage may develop brown edges.
Closely related to oncidiums, this group of orchids produces clusters of large, usually spectacularly colored flowers that last for weeks. They're most commonly available in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, and white -- often with splotches of other colors.
How to Grow Them: Odontoglossoms (often called odonts) thrive in medium or bright light. Water them once a week or once every other week, and feed them once a month in spring and summer with an orchid fertilizer. They do best in temperatures from 50 to 70F.
Here's a Hint: Many odontoglossoms are very easy to grow, but some are quite challenging. Check into a variety's ease of care before taking it home.