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Orchid Information

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Orchids are very unique, different plants. Below we'll talk about what makes Orchids so interesting. Have fun reading - we certainly enjoyed writing this!

Phalaenopsis Orchid.
Phalaenopsis Orchid
Photo by
Imagine 123 Photography

What Makes an Orchid an Orchid?

The structure of the flower makes Orchids different from all other plants. Each Orchid flower has 3 sepals and 3 petals that alternate around the cmiddle of the flower, while some of these parts are modified and not very easily recognizable. The center lower petal of an Orchid flower is the lipt. In the center of the Orchid flower is a "club-shaped" column, and this is a combination of male and female reproductive organs all in one location.

Also see: The Best Websites to Buy Orchids as Gifts

Below I've edited a photograph to show the parts of an Orchid flower structure. You can see in the photo below

  • 3 petals
  • the column
  • 3 sepals
  • the lip, which is also a petal

Oncidium Orchid flower with lip, sepals, and petals labeled
Photo by
Imagine 123 Photography

A Little Background About Orchids

Orchids are the second largest Natural Order in the whole world of botany, being very diverse. There are thousands of varieties of Orchid species and over a hundred thousand hybrid Orchids. There are Orchid flowers that can be found with a very wide range of characteristics, with Orchids existing in nearly every color and shade. There are many variations in size and shape of Orchids.

Where Orchids Are From

Most Orchids are naturally from the jungle and this exotic background is part of what makes them very attractive to buy. Orchids are found on every continent except Antartica.

What Kinds of Orchids Are Out There

  • Some Orchids do grow on the ground, usually in marsh land, and are called Terrestrial Orchids. Paphiopedilums and Cymbidiums ate terrestrial Orchids.
  • Epiphytic Orchids grow mainly on rocks and trees, where they hold on with thin or thick roots and take in nutrients that fall to them, as well as absorb sunlight that reaches them.
  • The last kind of Orchids are Saprophytic Orchids and there aren't many of these. They do not have any green leaves, and live on decayed vegetation. As they aren't very beautiful usually, beginner Orchid growers don't normally seek these out.

The Main Kinds of Orchids that are Grown

There are many kinds of orchids you can choose from to grow. Here's a summary of some main orchid types:

Phalaenopsis Orchids

Care is easy, flower spike blooms for about 2-3 months, shade is preferred.

Dendrobium Orchids

Care can be easy to not so easy, flower spike blooms 2-3 months. Bright light preferred. There are many different kinds.

Oncidium Orchids

Care is easy to intermediate to easy, flower spikes bloom 2 months, sunny window is preferred, with about a half day of sun.

Cattleya Orchids

Care is intermediate in difficulty, flowers bloom 1-4 weeks, sunny window is preferred.

Miltonia Orchids

Care is intermediate, flowers bloom about 1-2 months, indirect sunlight is preferred.

Paphiopedilum Orchids

Warm Paphiopedilum Orchids: Care is easy to intermediate, flowers bloom a 2-3 months, shade is preferred. Warmer temperature needed.

Cool paphiopedilum Orchids: Care is intermediate, flowers bloom 2 months, shade ispreferred. Cooler temperature needed.

Vanda Orchids

Care is intermediate to difficult, flowers bloom about 2 months, sun preferred. High humidity is important, often meaning these need to be grown in a greenhouse.

Learn more about Orchid care from the Orchid Care Expert Practical Guide To Orchid Care.

Here are Orchids Growing in Nature and Orchid Potting Tips and Techniques.

Here is a list to view Orchids at many growers

See the list of great Orchid books

Orchid Tips Recommends these Orchids and Orchid Books...

Phalaenopsis Mistral's Sunrise Flame 'Mendenhall'
Miltoniopsis Andrea West yellow orchid seedling
Understanding Orchids: An Uncomplicated Guide to Growing the World's Most Exotic Plants
The Cattleyas and Their Relatives, Vol. 1: The Cattleyas (6 Parts)

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