I’ve found that to say “orchid types” means different things to different people ranging from referring to the different varieties to their growth type (monopodial or sympodial) or the kind of plant they are (epiphytic or terrestrial.)
What’s being referred to here are the different varieties of orchids that exist. My intent is to start to familiarize you with some of the more common orchid genera, those that can be grown successfully in a home environment and that you’ll most likely come in to contact with when shopping for an orchid.
A genus (genera being the plural) falls below a family and above species. The family of orchids consists of of over 800 genera, within these genera are over 25,000 species and created from the species are 100,000+ hybrids. Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium and Oncidium are examples of orchid genera.
One of the things I love about orchids is that it’s almost impossible to have a favorite. Every flower has a uniqueness about it that catches your attention and it’s never ending.
Phalaenopsis Orchids: (also known as Moth Orchids) are found throughout Southeast Asia and are one of the most common orchids sold today. Many hybrids have been created that adapt well to home environments. Bloom length can be up to three months and common colors are white, purple, pink and yellow.
Cattleya Orchids: (also known as the Corsage Orchid) originate largely from South America. They typically have large showy blooms and are probably what most people think of when picturing an orchid flower. They have a shorter bloom length than some of their relatives and are commonly found in lavenders and whites.
Cymbidium Orchids: (also known as Boat Orchids) are native to Asia and northern Australia and were one of the first orchids to be cultivated. They are a little more tolerant to colder temperatures and are winter/spring bloomers. Colors include but aren’t limited to white, green, yellowish-green, cream, brown and red.
Dendrobium Orchids: are a diverse group common to southeast Asia, found growing in tropical lowlands and in higher altitudes. There are approximately 1,200 species making them one of the largest of the orchid groups. Bloom length is approximately 8 to 10 weeks and common colors are white and varying shades of pink.
Oncidium Orchids: (also known as Dancing Lady Orchids) are found in South America, northern Mexico, the Caribbean and parts of south Florida. They put on quite a show with their long flower spikes containing dozens of blooms. Blooms last approximately 2 to 4 weeks and they are most commonly found in yellow and yellow with shades of brown.