Types of Orchids

Orchids (family Orchidaceaeare), the largest family of flowers in the world, commonly get associated with the tropics.

In fact, adaptability represents the key to the Orchidaceaeare success. They grow almost anywhere, with many species found in temperate and colder climates.

Most orchid species fall into the epiphytes category, meaning their are plants that grow on trees.

Other species,including many North American species, grow on and around rocky outposts, forest floors, and like other flowers, from the earth's soil.

Global orchid population surpass the twenty five thousand species mark, divided into over eight hundred genera.

Flora of North America lists 208 orchid species divides into 70 genera. Roughly fifty percent of native North American orchid species grow in Florida.

Platanthera, the genera with the largest amount of species, approximately four dozen, generally go by the common name fringed orchids. Fringed orchids extend their range across the entire North American continent. Two species, the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea) and the Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera praeclara) are listed on the endangered species, due primarily to the conversion of native prairies and grasslands to agriculture lands. Where they survive, they tend to stand out in a crowd, growing up to four feet in height, and covered by multiple white flowers.

A popular indoor and garden orchid, the Yellow-fringed orchid (Platanthera ciliaris) thrive in both sun and partial shade areas. They prefer slightly acid soils (pH from 5 to 6).

Growing up to three feet in height, flower color ranges from bright yellow to deep orange.


Growing Orchids

Growing orchids as house plants or garden plants adds to the orchid's enthusiastic reception among gardeners world wide. For well over one hundred years, lengthy textbooks, along with smaller sized pamphlets offering orchid growing advice have attracted gardeners' attentions.

While the lists of easy to grow and care for orchid house plants varies slightly, a handful of species from different genera tend to make most lists.

For example, an orchid growing pamphlet published by the Agricultural Extension Service of the University of Tennessee, lists species from four genera, Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum and Oncidiums as easy to grow orchids.

A pamphlet from Pasco County, Florida horticulture specialists lists seven popular, orchid house plant genera: Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, Oncidiums, Vanda, Epidendrum and Paphiopedilum.

Growing species from any of these genera requires an understanding of the basic light, water, temperature and nutrition needs. Some genera such as Cattleya, for example, are high light orchids, requiring a good deal of sun or artificial lighting when grown indoors. Phalaenopsis, on the other hand, are medium light orchids that grow well without extensive sun exposure.

© 2006-2014 Patricia A. Michaels