Orchids are one of the most brilliant and diverse plant families. With well over 28,000 species to choose from, it can be difficult to choose which ones you want to grow. You can fill your garden with native orchids or opt for keeping tropical flowers as houseplants, which only makes the choice harder.
Rather than combing through thousands of pages of orchid guides, these varieties stand out as some of the most impressive and easiest to care for.
Word on the street is that orchids are fussy, needy flowers. While this is true for some species, Phalaenopsis is easygoing and well-suited for beginners. It will often survive rough potting efforts and don’t require any fancy equipment or lighting setups.
You can expect your Phalaenopsis orchid to bloom several times through the year with white, lavender, pink, or yellow petals, depending on the species.
Why light a candle when you could plant a Brassavola orchid? These varieties have narrow petals for an exceptionally delicate appearance. Despite its apparent frailty, Brassavola is unbelievably fragrant. The scent becomes stronger in the evening when the flower begins to release its perfume.
B. nodosa is one of the easiest species to grow, even for orchid newbies.
What the Cymbidium orchid lacks in size, it more than makes up for in excitement. Also known as boat orchids, this variety blooms with multiple dazzling flower spikes that will liven up any display.
Cymbidiums are also among the oldest known orchids and even Confucious once referred to them as the “King of Fragrance.” Good options for beginner orchid caregivers: showoff and sword-leaf varieties.
If you’re in the market for something a bit otherworldly, look no further than the Dracula orchid. As you might expect, many species of Dracula orchids boast a blood-red color and long, creeping spurs.
Some of the most notable varieties are D. vampira, D. chimaera, and D. gorgona. Just like the mythical creature they're named for, Dracula orchids like their environment cool, moist, and shady.
Bletillas are hardy orchids that can thrive in a range of conditions, though they do best in cooler environments. Typically, only the Chinese ground orchid variety, B. striata, is available. It is famous for its striped petals and for being extremely easy to grow. The flowers can have white, pink, or purple petals.
Some flowers amaze you with bright colors and wild shapes, but Vanilla orchids strike a different note. The 110 varieties of this genus will attract people looking for a calming option.
They have alluring, creamy-white petals and subtle shapes, not to mention a powerful vanilla scent that can easily brighten any room.
Roughly 80 types of orchids make up the Vanda genus and each one is more beautiful than the last. Vanda blossoms feature both unique patterning and vibrant colorations. Plus, they bloom multiple times throughout the year, so you have more time to enjoy their beauty.
While Vandas have unique growing requirements, once you get used to these, caring for them is straightforward. Be ready to provide more light and humidity than you might expect.
Also known as tulip orchids, the Anguloa plants have round petals in white, yellow, red, or green that curve inward, giving them a tulip-like appearance. This very fragrant orchid has a strong scent of cinnamon.
Because they originate from South American rainforests, Anguloa prefers high humidity and cool-to-intermediate temperatures with lots of light.
Native to Mexico, Barkerias are sturdy flowers that can grow on rocks, trees, or shrubs. They do well in dry, hot environments with bright light, though they are difficult to grow in pots and usually do better mounted.
Barkerias are leafless, so they often resemble dry twigs during dry spells. However, when the blooming season comes around, those twigs burst to life with vibrant purple and lavender petals.
If orchid genuses were a girl group, Phaius orchids would be the divas. These incredible four-foot-tall specimens will be the focal point of your garden thanks to their four-inch-wide flowers. They are winter bloomers that are extremely easy to propagate, so you can fill your space with superstars.
You'll need to be patient, though: it can take two to three years for Phaius orchids to reach flowering size.