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What are Some Popular Types of Orchids?

By Rebecca Partington
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Orchids are a beautiful and exotic family of flower. There are many types of orchids, which are categorized by their physical characteristics into genera. People who grow orchids for a hobby or to make a living are often very passionate about doing so, and they have spread that enthusiasm to the greater world by introducing orchids into many households. Some of the most popular types of orchids are the Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, Oncidium Related, and Phalaenopsis.

The Cattleyas have large blooms, which are typically 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) and have a sweet, delicate scent. This, combined with their long bloom life, makes them popular as a cut flower and also makes them one of the most popular types of orchids among florists. Because of this, the Cattleyas have been nicknamed "the corsage orchid."

Dendrobiums are another one of the most popular types of orchids. They are also large plants, growing from 2.5 to 3.5 feet (.76 to 1.07 meters) tall. They bloom in the late summer and early autumn, with flowers that appear in bunches of 8 to 12 and last about two months. Because the Dendrobium genus contains the largest number of orchid species, the Dendrobiums come in a wide variety of colors and shapes.

Another of the popular types of orchids is the Phalaenopsis, which has the nickname "the moth orchid" due to its winglike shape and the fact that its flowers are often white. The flowers do come in a variety of other colors, such as pink, striped pink and white, red and white, spotted pink or purple, and yellow. They are perhaps the most popular of the various types of orchids because they are easy to grow in warm homes, whereas most orchids require cooler temperatures than most humans can live in comfortably.

Oncidiums bloom in great profusion on spikes that are 3 feet (1 meter) or longer. They have the nickname "dancing ladies" because the bottom sepal fans out like a lady's dress during a dance. Their flowers are smaller because each plant produces so many, but they are very showy. They are usually yellow with red-brown spots, but can also be red and white.

Another one of the types of orchids is the Oncidium Related genus, which contains many man-made hybrids. They are called Oncidium Related because they have been produced by crossing Oncidiums with other genera. They vary greatly in size, shape, color, and number of blooms per plant.

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Discussion Comments
By jabuka — On Dec 14, 2009

Lady slippers are also easy to grow, it is a particularly good orchid for beginners.

They can handle more water, and can also thrive in not so bright rooms so less sunny rooms can have a burst of color too.

The plant and the flowers tend to be smaller than another beginner's favorite and most widely cultivated Moth Orchid.

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