Orchids: Most Popular Types and How to Care


Orchids are one of the most popular decorative or ornamental flower plants. Orchids are also a favorite in Southeast Asia as it becomes one of the world’s best orchids destinations. With more than 4,000 species, Indonesia has the largest number in Asia. Besides their best cultivation in a tropical environment, orchids also have a distinctive beauty and wide ranges of color, they are easy to care for, and they can last for a long time and even rebloom. For these reasons, it is no wonder that orchids are so well-liked in Indonesia and other Southeast Asia countries.

The scientific name for orchids is orchidaceae. It is a flowering plant family that has the most varieties. Numerous types of orchids spread all around the world. Indonesia has many tropical rain forests where it is a good place for orchids to live, therefore orchids can be found easily. There are also remarkable characteristics of the orchid flower which include shapes, petals, and structures.

Exotic orchids are often used as a symbol of luxury, love, strength, and beauty. Some people also associate orchids as a symbol of virility, fertility, and sexuality. So, whether you want to apply this flower’s meaning or not, it depends on your purpose of taking care of the orchids. Choosing orchids as a gift because of their symbol representation is very thoughtful, but if you only want to grow them as a house plant is also fine.

Earlier, orchids were only for the nobles and wealthy people because of the immense prices at flower auctions. As time goes by, now anyone can grow orchids as they are more affordable and easier to plant. It may be challenging for those who want to start growing the flowers since the orchid family offers a wide range of diversity in their flower species and may confuse the beginners.

You are probably wondering how long do orchids last. The answer to that, orchids could live a couple of decades, around 20 to 22 years. Orchids’ life depends on how adequately you take care of them and prevent them from harmful environments. Orchids are so enduring that once they are planted, they keep growing yearly. It is optional that you want to grow orchids at home or in the glasshouse. The most important thing is that you take care of them properly to prolong their lives.


Popular types of orchid and how to grow them 

There are two types of orchids based on the growth types, monopodial and sympodial. Monopodial orchids have one stem or one growing point as their characteristics. The flower starts to grow at the tip of the stem. Some of the well-known monopodial orchids are phalaenopsis and vanda. Moon orchids or moth orchids with the scientific name phalaenopsis amabilis fall into this category.

Sympodial orchids have more than one growing point. Flowers appear on the side of the stem. Some of them come out of the living roots. The benefit of sympodial orchids is that they can store water and food, kept in blocks or semi tubers. Dendrobium and cattleya are examples of sympodial orchids. Now let us talk about each type of most popular orchids.


1. Moon Orchid or Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis Amabilis)


Phalaenopsis amabilis or the moon orchid is the most popular species in Indonesia and is widely grown in West Kalimantan. People call it the moon orchid or anggrek bulan in Indonesia because its color looks like the moon at night. Generally, the moon orchid is pure white or with red hues in it. While a single-potted moon orchid is beautiful, white phalaenopsis amabilis look breathtaking in-group like three to four in one container for a dazzling flower arrangement.

Tips on growing moon orchid are giving it bright, indirect light, and to avoid burning it, cover the exposure with a sheer curtain to filter hot rays. Expect a flowering moon orchid to stay in bloom for two or more months. They could bloom for months, flowering annually, and will live for years if you take care of them in bright and diffused light.

The watering needs of moon orchids depend on the potting medium. Bark pot will not retain much water. Consequently, you need to water it quite frequently. Give it some water once a week. Moss holds water better and enables you to wait longer for watering. Water the moon orchid when the top layer of moss seems dry. Usually, this is once every ten days.

The amount of light the moon orchid gets may affect the watering schedule. The season could also determine the amount of water your moon orchid needs. In the summer or dry season in tropical countries, you need to water it more often.


2. Dendrobium


Dendrobium orchids originally come from Southeast Asia. Different orchid varieties of dendrobium genus flourish in diverse climate conditions, surviving the cold mountains to the wet or hot lowlands. Dendrobium orchids are known for their linear leaves and attractive sprays of eye-catching flowers.

More than 1,000 species of dendrobium orchids have slightly different looks and care requirements, but they can be grouped into the cooler-growing types and the warmer-growing types. The size of the flowers that are not too big makes the dendrobium orchid favored by orchid lovers.

Dendrobium orchids are manageable to grow, though they need continuous maintenance to flower and look their prime. Tips on how to grow dendrobium orchids include regular watering, feeding with a specific orchid food, and misting to fabricate their natural humid habitat.


3. Pansy Orchids (Miltonia/Miltoniopsis)


Miltonia and miltoniopsis are generally known as the pansy orchids because of their close similarity to the garden pansy. Miltoniopsis is a cool-growing orchid and native to the higher altitudes of the Andes in Columbia, Panama, and Ecuador. Miltonia is the warmer-growing type that is native to the Minas Gerais area of Brazil. It nearly resembles large-flowered oncidiums.

Pansy orchids should be watered at least once a week, however, this can vary from place to place, depending on the weather. The best time to water the flowers is in the morning and let them drain freely. Avoid watering in the heat of the day as this may cause shoots to rot. Repotting is best to do after flowering and when the new growth starts to come out.

Choose a relatively shaded or low light for pansy orchids. Direct sunlight can burn the thin leaves in an instant. However, the warmer-growing types prefer more sunlight and only need around 40% shade. While the cooler-growing types need somewhere about 60% shade.

Miltonia and miltoniopsis are suitable for adding color and charm to homes and interiors. It can also be moved to various locations with indirect sunlight. Picturesque multicolored petals make these types of orchid a showstopper. To highlight the stunning colors, place them in a plain background room.

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