24 Different Types of Orchids (Plus Amazing Facts)

Orchids are some of the most beautiful and mysterious flowers. The most expensive flower ever sold and the most priceless are both orchids.

A close up of orchids in a garden.

Orchids belong to the Orchidaceae family and have 800 known genera, over 25,000 species and over 100,000 hybrids and cultivars. They are found all over the world except in Antartica. The different types vary extremely in size, weight and color. The smallest orchid was initially mistaken for a fungus and is only half a millimeter.

Grammatophyllum speciosum is the largest type of orchid and grows up to three meters in height. The world’s most expensive orchid, Shenzhen Nongke, sold for $200,000 at an auction in 2005 and is named after the university that developed it for eight years. Sri Lanka’s Kadupul flower, on the other hand, is considered the most priceless because it blooms just once a year in the night and withers before dawn breaks.


Angraecum Orchid

Angraecum orchid

This type of orchid has over 200 species and has a star-shaped appearance. Most of them have small- to medium-sized blooms and come in colors such as yellow, white, or light green, although most of them are white. The flower has a wonderful fragrance, needs even amounts of water, and prefers temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, mainly because they are not a bulb plant and therefore cannot store water. They also look beautiful in hanging baskets and pots.

Brassavola Orchid

Brassavola Orchid

The main characteristic of this type of orchid is its very pleasant aroma, which means you will likely smell it even before you see it. The pure white flowers release their scent at night, are frequent bloomers, and can bloom all year long in many places. They are a small but showy type of orchid, and their leaves are long, reed-like in shape, and light green in color. They are also easy to grow and are low-maintenance flowers.

Catasetum Orchid

Catasetum orchid

These orchids are snowy white and have a dark yellow-orange center. It is a deciduous orchid that turns yellow and falls off during the winter when it’s dormant. Because they grow both male and female flowers, their blooms can look quite different, with the former consisting of an anatomical trigger that injects pollen into nearby bees.

Cattleya Orchid

Cattleya orchid

Often a stunning two-toned orchid of bright pink-red and white, this flower is a hybrid that can actually have various freckles and specks, and even other colors, such as orange. The Cattleya orchid are very fragrant, and they are very popular for use in corsages. They grow up to eight inches in width and come in a variety of colors and designs. The flower is also very popular among breeders and collectors, and they do well indoors.

Cycnoches Orchid

Cycnoches orchid

This orchid is also called the Swan orchid. It consists of many male flowers, which look like the neck of a swan, and it has a strong, almost spicy scent. It can grow up to 30 blooms on a single stem, and it is a sturdy and long-lasting flower.

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium orchid

The petals of these orchids are a bit smaller than those of other orchids, and it consists of many spikes so there are a lot of those petals to look at. The Cymbidium orchid has won several international flower awards, and it comes in colors such as yellow and red (the Showoff), lime green (the Chica), and bright pink (the Frae). These and other Cymbidiums are excellent for first-time growers, because they are easy to grow and are low-maintenance. They also do better in cold climates than many other orchids do, and they make beautiful centerpieces.

Dendrobium Orchid

Dendrobium orchid

Because these orchids are top-heavy with lots of blooms on each stem, this type of orchid often requires staking. There are over 1,000 species in this category, and they usually come in colors such as white, lavender, or yellow. One of its biggest advantages is the fact that it can grow almost anywhere, regardless of the zone you live in, and some of them keep their leaves all year long. They can also come in more than one color per bloom, which makes them especially attractive.

Encyclia Orchid

Encyclia orchid

Also called Cockleshell orchids, they have no fragrance, but they do bloom for several consecutive months, making them appealing for people who want color in their garden for long periods of time. The Encyclia orchid has dangling petals and sepals, which is why some people say it resembles an octopus. It thrives when planted on an orchid mount because this simulates the epiphytic growing conditions found in the wild, and it comes in colors such as yellow-white with purple throats at the top.

Epidendrum Orchid

Epidendrum orchid

With over 1,000 pure species and many hybrids, this type of orchid is petite and attractive. They need a lot of bright light in order to grow and thrive, and if grown indoors, you may even need artificial lighting of some type. The Epidendrum orchid comes in colors such as pink and dark orange with yellow throats, and if treated right, it will bloom year after year.

Ludisia Orchid

Ludisia orchid

Also known as the Jewel orchid, this orchid looks great whether it’s in bloom or out of bloom. Its large leaves are green and variegated with stripes, and it grows tiny white flowers in the fall and winter.

Lycaste Orchid

Lycaste orchid

The Lycaste orchid is deciduous and sheds its leaves during the winter when it’s dormant. When this happens, sharp spines appear on the tips of the pseudobulbs, which are so sharp they can actually draw blood if you brush against them. They usually come in colors such as lavender, red, white, and pink, and they have beautiful yellow centers.

Masdevallia Orchid

Masdevallia orchid

The characteristic that makes these different than many other orchids is their shape, which is triangular, blocky and compact, or thin, whiskery, and elongated. They bloom in the summer and require certain temperatures and humidity levels, so you should research them before you decide to purchase them. They can be tricky to grow and therefore, they are better for people who are more experienced in the garden, and they come in colors such as yellow-orange and have leaves that are a beautiful shade of green.

Maxillaria Orchid

Maxillaria orchid

With over 300 species, this type of orchid is well-known but not as common as people think, in part because only a few of the species consist of showy flowers that catch people’s attention. The ones that do, however, come in colors such as yellow with white tips and dark red edges, or dark red with wide white stripes. They contain three separate lobes and beautiful, narrow leaves that perfectly complement the petals.

Miltonia Orchid

Miltonia orchid

The Miltonia orchid is also called the Pansy orchid, due to its face-like appearance. It blooms from late spring into the summer and comes in colors such as hot pink and white with golden yellow centers. It can have a combination of two or more colors that include red, various shades of pink, and white. It is a truly stunning-looking plant.

Odontoglossum Orchid

Odontoglossum orchid

A very showy flower, this type of orchid comes in colors that include white, yellow, brown, purple, red, and a few varieties that are multicolored. They can be a challenge to grow, but they grow well if the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit because they are used to cool or cold climates. The Odontoglossum orchid has stems that can grow up to four feet high and blossoms that can reach up to six inches in width. Between 20 to 150 blossoms grow on each stem, and their petals are ruffled and very fragrant.

Oncidium Orchid

Oncidium orchid

With a shape that is similar to a dancing lady, the Oncidium orchid is low-maintenance and easy to grow, and it comes in stunning colors such as bright yellow and gold. The variety called Sharry Baby has a chocolate-like scent, and although simple to grow, the Oncidium orchid does require a lot of moisture and humidity to thrive. If you notice any type of deformities in the leaves of this plant, it is likely because this requirement has not been met. They are truly beautiful bloomers.

Paphiopedilum Orchid

Paphiopedilum orchid

Also called the Lady’s Slipper orchid, this type of flower is easy to grow and is great for the beginner flower-grower. They come in a wide variety of colors, including cheery colors such as pink, white, and yellow, as well as more somber colors such as brown, burgundy, and near-black tones. In addition, many of the varieties include petals that have bristly hairs, freckles, and even stripes, with an added bonus of specks on some of the varieties’ leaves.

Phaius Orchid

Phaius orchid

This is not a type of orchid you’ll want to place on your windowsill, because the stems grow up to four feet high. Phaius orchids have large, strappy leaves, and they usually produce petals that are yellow, purple, or white. Also known as the Nun’s Cap orchid, it is a winter bloomer and makes a great addition to anyone’s garden, regardless of what else is planted there.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis orchid

Also known as the Moth orchid – which is much easier and less cumbersome to pronounce – this orchid is great for beginners because it is easy to grow and maintain. Appearing in lovely colors such as yellow, light pink, and spotted with burgundy, the Moth orchid blooms on and off throughout the year and can tolerate repotting efforts – again, making them a great plant for those who are new to planting flowers in their garden. They have long-lasting flowers and look great as an indoor plant, which are a few of the reasons why they are one of the most popular types of orchids.

Phragmipedium Orchid

Phragmipedium orchid

If you love watering plants, this type of orchid is for you, because it can tolerate a lot of dampness and regular watering. In fact, this orchid loves water so much that it can even tolerate wet feet. The petals consist of little pouch-like shapes surrounded by a moustache, and it comes in colors that include light green, white, and light burgundy.

Psychopsis Orchid

Psychopsis orchid

Also called the Butterfly orchid, this flower comes in striking colors such as burgundy and bright gold, and it can even have foliage that is green and speckled. It blooms for several months, needs only moderate light conditions, and it is very easy to grow and maintain. It is a truly stunning plant that can complement your garden regardless of what else is planted there.

Vanda Orchid

Vanda orchid

With long, thin foliage and beautiful colors that include violet, lavender, and white, the Vanda orchid is better suited for more experienced growers. They need bright light and high humidity, as well as chunkier growing mediums, and because of their elegance and eye-catching beauty, they make a great addition to any type of orchid basket.

Vanilla Orchid

There are over 60 varieties of the Vanilla orchid, and unfortunately, it only blooms for one day, opening in the morning and closing at night. They grow in clusters of 12-20 buds, and they are yellow-green in color and reach approximately six inches in length. Just like their name suggests, you can actually get vanilla from these flowers, and the blooms have a nice vanilla scent as well. They have to be mature in order to flower, which can take two to three years, and they grow up to ten feet in height. They do best in a garden or a greenhouse, but never as an indoor plant, and they need vertical support to grow and thrive.

Zygopetalum Orchid

Zygopetalum orchid

This orchid blooms consistently from the fall to the spring and comes in colors such as purple, burgundy, and chartreuse. The foliage is green with splotches of deep purple, and they often have veins of a darker or lighter color running through the petals. These multi-colored flowers are beautiful and eye-catching.

Amazing Facts about Orchids

  • Orchids can be as small as a penny and large enough to weigh a few hundred pounds, so they vary greatly in size.
  • Their roots are somewhat different than other types of plants, because they have either rhizome, aerial, or tubular roots.
  • Every petal of every type of orchid can be divided into two equal parts; this is known as being bilateral symmetric.
  • Some species of orchids are parasitic and are unable to obtain food using carbon dioxide and the sun like other types of plants. Instead, these orchids get their food from the fungi that live within their roots.
  • Although orchids produce several million miniature seeds, only a few of these seeds develop into a mature plant.
  • Orchids are used for various purposes, including as a spice for some foods, in certain types of herbal medicines in Asia, and as a way to scent perfume.
  • One of the species, the Vanilla planifolia, has vanilla in its pod that can be removed and utilized in various products.
  • Orchids have been around for approximately 100 million years, according to fossil evidence.
  • Certain species of orchids can live for up to 100 years.
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