The Orchid flower is one of the most prized flowers in the world and is a member of the 28,000-strong Orchidaceae family.
Yet despite being the second largest family of flowering plants on the planet, new species are being discovered by botanists all the time from the deepest jungles of tropical forests to all the other corners of the world apart from the frigid wastelands of Antarctica.
This incredibly beautiful flower that has enchanted and charmed emperors, kings, queens, and your average citizen for thousands of years and has been in existence for over 100 million years but only came to prominence a mere 4,000 years ago in China and Japan.
This Orchid flower guide outlines some of the most popular types of orchids that you can grow and cultivate, and includes planting tips and growing and care instructions so that your flowers will gracefully flourish.
- Family: Orchidaceae
- Genus: Orchis
- Leaf: The leaves of Orchids are either light or dark green, lanceolate, ovate, or orbiculate.
- Seed: The seeds are incredibly tiny with each capsule holding between 20-50 in some types, and up to 4,000,000 in others, they are that small.
- Blossoms: Orchids generally blossom in spring
- Native Habitat: Orchids require well-draining soil and a partially shaded location
- Height: Orchids grow to heights of 1 to 3 feet.
- Canopy: The plant grows to a width of between 6 to 12 inches.
- Type: This plant is a perennial
- Native Growing Zone: Orchids grow well in USDA planting zones 2 to 11 and in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, the Caribbean, South America, Australia, and Central America
There was a time when the Orchid Flower is very uncommon and extremely costly.
At one point they were only the flower of the rich and powerful, yet are now the most popular kind of houseplant found across the United States.
That price reduction grew out of a wider desire by horticulturists to cultivate this exotic flower because of its increasing popularity and to make it more commercially available to Orchid enthusiasts.
They succeeded in creating cultivars that lasted longer, were even more exotic, and could be mass-produced, all thanks to a laboratory technique of propagation called Meristeming.
Propagating Orchids (Orchid Growing) and Orchid Flower Growth Rate
Meristem propagation is a method used in the lab by commercial nurseries to create several identical clones of a certain Orchid species that are not easy to grow.
There are some types of Orchids that are simply breathtaking, and these always tend to be the most coveted, but they are also the hardest to propagate and care for, and whose characteristics are even harder to replicate successfully.1
Growing From a Seedling
Starting your Orchid from a seedling rather than from seed is advisable unless you want to wait anywhere from 3 to 8 years for it to flower. From a seedling, you can expect to see blooms within a timeframe of between 18 to 24 months.
When they are first planted, seedlings should be sprayed to keep them damp, but be careful not to leave them soaked.
Enough water will seep into the soil from below for the roots and a gentle misting above will ensure the rest of the plant is hydrated and humid.
At this early development stage, the plant needs very little light so the plant should never be put on a windowsill that gets harsh direct sunlight.
Growing From a Seed: Is It Possible To Propagate Orchid Seeds?
Unlike most other species where one growing technique fits all, Orchids are a tad more particular with numerous varieties requiring their own perfect growing conditions to bloom at their best, or if at all.
With most other plants, the go-to method of growing is from seed, but that is not the case with Orchids. This method for growing Orchids can take years before blossoms are produced and can also be incredibly finicky as the seeds are so small so it is not typically used.
The sun exposure, too, has to be just right, the soil has to be to the correct pH level, and the amount of water really can’t be one drop too much or one drop too little. This is what makes growing them for a casual gardener finicky.
It’s not impossible by any means as long as you’re willing to put in the time, and effort, and cater to the plant’s exact requirements and aftercare.
Without understanding the intricacies of growing an Orchid flower, many gardeners are confused when the flowers first burst into full bloom, and then appear to just stop growing.
It is easy to assume that the flowers have died, have been lost when they begin to droop for apparently no reason, and that all that effort has been wasted. It can be a little disheartening and many individuals simply give up.
What isn’t visible to the inexperienced eye is that the plant is really conserving energy in preparation for the following blooming season.
But by then it would be too late, the watering would have stopped, care would have been abandoned and the plant would actually die in its dormant sleep period.
Growing and caring for these magnificent flowers from seeds can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive, not to mention that replicating the exact flower that you have grown to love for the following year is just too much hard work.
And this is where commercial, large-scale enterprises have leaped to the rescue.
Orchid Flower Growing Zone
Orchids are typically thought of as tropical plants, however over the centuries wild Orchids have adapted to survive on every continent, in all environments apart from Antarctica.
Not all Orchids seek out such harsh and remote living conditions, fortunately, and can be cultivated in USDA Hardiness zones 2 to 11, or, of course, you can just pop down to your local florist or nursery to pick up some seedlings and get to work with your little green fingers.
Choose the right species for your environment or else your rose bushes are going to have some stiff competition from the new exotic Orchid plants that will soon be vying for center stage and for your undivided attention.
Choose the wrong ones for your type of soil and daily sun exposure, and the blooms that once seemed so vibrant when you first planted them as seedlings will soon start to look sad and dreary.
This Orchid species is most often found in the forested regions above the bogs in North America.
They enjoy the dappled sunshine and humus-rich, somewhat drier but consistently damp peat/sand soil of the forest floor, so if your landscape can replicate that environment, this variety could be a good fit for you.
Even better, this extra hardy specimen is able to survive with just a touch of dappled shade in a wide range of temperate conditions, from Zone 3’s deep freezes to Zone 9’s milder temperate winters.
Extremely popular in Europe because of their preference for growing in marshes, rock gardens, and woodlands, this, too, is a hardy plant that tolerates cold temperatures.
The ideal condition for sun exposure is partially shaded for some varieties and full sun for others with humus-rich soil that drains well but still retains moisture.
If you live in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8, this could be a good choice as it will fend for itself in the winter without any outside interference.
These types of Orchids don’t mind having their roots getting wet but love to have them constantly immersed in soggy soils. If your backyard is more bog than dirt, then these are the only Orchid species that you will be able to keep alive.
Give them lots of full sun and lots of water, and they will grow in the wet areas of your garden where other Orchids fear to even glance at.
Most gardeners select flowers to complement their landscapes and expect the flower to adapt to its new environment. Not so with Orchids.
Though they are hardy plants for the most part, varying widely in their appearance and needs, each variety knows exactly what it takes to survive and thrive. Anything less, whether the soil is too wet or too dry, whether the sun is too harsh or not dappled enough, or the nutrients in the ground are not to its liking,2 and you will find it a constant battle to keep it alive.
Confirm with the nursery before you purchase the flashiest Orchid on the shelf that has mesmerized you, that it will be a breeze to grow in your garden.
Types, Temperatures, and Growing Zones for Orchid Flower (Where To Grow)
Depending on their preferred environment, Orchids may be classified as either tropical or temperate, where the daytime temperature can be 73° to 85°F for tropical plants and 55° to 70°F for temperate plants.
Orchids classed as Phalaenopsis and paphiopedilum do best in the hottest environments where the humidity level is in the 80 to 90 level,8 while Orchids that are Cymbidiums and Dendrobiums prefer a lower level of heat.
Whenever you’re undecided about which Orchid to choose, conduct a process of elimination starting with which variety is likely to survive in the zone where you live, and how easy it is to grow.
It’s important to understand that Orchids are classified as monopodial and sympodial.
The plant has a single, erect stem and oppositely oriented leaves, and the bloom opens out just below the leafiest part of the plant. This growth pattern is typical of Orchids like Phalaenopsis and Vandas.
The rhizome of these Orchids spreads horizontally, giving rise to new plants, and these types are the normal types of Orchids that you will find locally.
With them, the tips of the new stems develop into leaves and flower stalks with enlarged branches that store water and nutrients to enable the plant to endure dry spells.
Orchids like the Cattleya, Cymbidium, Oncidium, and Dendrobium all bloom on a single stem and are some of the easiest Orchids to grow into houseplants.
Always remember that Orchids from warmer climates, including Cymbidiums and Dendrobiums, need a constant supply of moisture, moderate heat, and enough air circulation, and will give you their best when in a south-facing window, however, some summertime shade may be necessary.
While Orchids like Cattleyas and some Oncidiums thrive in areas with dry, chilly days, they thrive in lengthy dry seasons of 80° to 90°F, followed by a clear rainy season, and rely on a lot of light so don’t skimp on the heat even if you have to get grow lights.18
Watering Needs for Orchid Flower Plants
Often appearing to be light and delicate, Orchids, in general, can withstand periods of dryness far better than they can prolonged periods of over-saturation.
Get into the habit of allowing the growing media to dry out completely between watering which should be once a week if and when the topsoil feels dry to the touch.
One of the worst things you can do is to leave your precious Orchid in a container that is always soggy so plan ahead and make sure that if too much water is accidentally applied that it will drain away easily through the soil and the bottom of the container.
Pour water very sparingly when you first introduce the plant to your interior environment while you adapt to its needs.
Insufficient water is indicated by green leaves becoming yellow, brown, or red while leaves that are being overwatered will look limp and start to look yellow and even leathery.
How Much Sunlight Does Orchid Flower Need Each Day? (Do Orchids Need Sunlight?)
Because there are so many species in the Orchadae family and thousands more hybrids, it’s just not feasible to provide a simple guideline for maintenance and sunlight requirements for all Orchids
An Orchid’s appearance, however, may give hints as to the kind of light, water, and growth media it prefers, and the amounts and types you have to supply.
More direct lighting is required for plants with a few thick leathery leaves, such as most Cattleyas and Oncidiums, whereas plants with limp, floppy leaves are likely to be very sensitive to sunlight, such as several varieties of Phalaenopsis and all Paphiopedilum, and will suffer if put in a south-facing window where the light is too harsh.
Anywhere between 6 to 8 hours a day is sufficient for most Orchids although there are varieties that yearn for 12 to 14 hours, and a lot of humidity.
Unless you’re growing in a greenhouse with grow lights, achieving this 365 days a year can be just a little hard to achieve.
Planting Tips for Orchid Flower
Orchids are different from the plants you usually see and grow in a container, but don’t be intimidated by what you’ve heard about them being divas or if you’ve never worked with them before.
If you take the time to understand what they need, and how to keep them warm and cozy, then growing Orchids may be a breeze.
With more than 880 distinct genera within the Orchid family and over 22,000 unique species, Orchids are now the fastest-growing and most numerous blooming plant family in the world, with an incredibly diverse membership.
The vast majority of Orchid species are epiphytes, known as “air plants”, that cling to the bark of trees in tropical regions. After that, there are the terrestrials that grow from the ground upwards and then there are other types called lithophytes, or “rock plants,” since they like to thrive in rocky environments.
Not surprisingly, any care instructions for cultivating Orchids in pots are not going to be one size fits all.
It may be a good thing that only a few dozen species are mass-produced, with even fewer readily accessible at your neighborhood nursery or florist to narrow down the selection process.
Hybrids make up the majority of plants seen in these retail outlets and they have intentionally been bred for sought-after colors, aromas, bloom sizes, and, most importantly, ease of care.
These 8 types of Orchids make for an easy-growing experience for indoor experts and novices alike.
- Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)
- Ludisia (or Jewel Orchids)
- Oncidiums (Dancing Ladies or Tiger Orchids)
- Phaius Orchids (Nun’s Orchids)
- Miltoniopsis Orchids
Fortunately for new Orchid aficionados, breeding techniques have taken out many of the problematic inbred obstacles to successfully caring for pure-bred Orchid species. If you take the time to learn their fundamental demands, modern Orchid hybrids may be highly rewarding to nurture and enjoy in the home.
Freshly Cut Orchid Care Indoors
If you ever want to make a lasting impression, a bouquet of elegant Orchids will do the trick. They will be appreciated for the sheer exoticism they bring to a room along with their heady aromas.
But how to keep them looking as vibrant in week 6 as they did on day 1?
The thing is not all Orchids are grown to be used as cut flowers so where some will last for 6 weeks, others may just hang around for 6 days.
Orchids with a thicker, heavier, almost waxy feel tend to endure in vases longer than their more delicate counterparts. Hardier, and carefully cultivated for just these types of situations, they will stay fresh for a much longer period of time, bloom rapidly, never lose their vibrant colors, and rarely get bruised.
That’s not to say that you can’t increase the lifespan with a few tips so they can be admired for as long as possible.
- Fill the vase you intend to use with water and leave until it is the same as the room temperature.
- While you’re waiting, gently spray the cut flowers so they won’t dry out at all in the meantime.
- To extend the life of your flowers, sprinkle flower food into the water if you happen to have any handy. If not, make your own. To 4 cups of water, add a teaspoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of sugar, a few drops of bleach and pour into the vase of water.
- If the stems are long, cut them at an angle with a clean pair of scissors, stopping at least half an inch from the base. This is a top tip to know because cutting flower stems will prolong the Orchid’s lifespan as the end can sometimes unknowingly become fully or partially sealed, restricting water absorption.
The idea behind having a shorter stem is simply so that more water will reach the flower head faster and easier.
- Place the vase on a window ledge in natural lighting where it won’t be exposed to harsh direct sunlight.
- If the water becomes hazy, it’s time to change it and give the stems a good scrub.9 If the bloom is not getting enough water, you may try recutting the stems all the way back to the base again while they are submerged in the water.
Indoor Potted Orchids and the Orchid Bloom Cycle
Having Orchids in your house is a visually pleasing and personally satisfying experience for both its inhabitants and visitors alike. But if you’ve ever tried to grow Orchids indoors or outdoors you already know that they are not the easiest of plants to nurture into life and to keep them thriving.
Yet it need not be an uphill battle to grow an Orchid flower inside and as long as you select the correct species, you can expect your plant to go through a bloom cycle once a year, and some even bloom twice a year with beautiful, long-lasting flowers frequently on show.
This flowering process will continue for the next 10 to 15 years with the right maintenance regimen and watering schedule.
How To Identify Orchid Flower for Indoor Use
The first place to start is with a species that is not rare, is not mega expensive, and is not nearly impossible to keep alive.
Some common varieties that will make your new Orchid venture easier are Moth Orchids, or Phalaenopsis as they are also known, and may be found in almost any store or greenhouse.
If you want to expand your green thumb and add an Orchid or two to your houseplant collection, this hardy Orchid is an excellent option and will virtually grow itself. Cattleya, Dendrobium, and Oncidium are some other recommended species for new growers to start with that are just as colorful and easy to maintain.
Whatever you do, if you are not an experienced Orchidist, avoid the rarer species even if they look spectacular and unusual. Generally, they are even more expensive and rare for a reason.
Orchids are perennials, but those rare beauties that you are tempted to try out from day one may have you toiling for 3 years before there are any blooms to show for your troubles.
Until your experience with container planting Orchids has increased,14 make life easier for yourself and stick to the easy growers. With those varieties, you will have the time to experiment with different plants that you can have alongside them to ensure they grow trouble-free.
Indoor Orchid Care and Planting Tips
Once you have painstakingly sieved through the range of Orchid flowers that are available from the stores in your area, brace yourself for the challenge ahead that is going to be filled with ups and downs, and then dive right in.
Pick the Right Container
If your Orchid isn’t very big, a little pot will do just fine but be aware that Orchids with long roots will quickly encounter problems as they become restricted. Err on the side of caution and choose a long, slightly bigger pot than what you think you will need to cater for Orchids with deep or expansive roots.
Over-watering is usually the enemy of Orchids so ensure that the container has more than enough drainage holes or you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.
Most Orchid gardeners still choose clay pots but Orchids like Cymbidiums have very lengthy root systems and may need specially designed containers made of wire mesh.
The advantage of these, and other transparent plastic containers, is that they may be positioned strategically to maximize exposure to sunlight for the entire plant including the roots.
Use Appropriate Potting Soil
Inexperience has led some gardeners to use potting soil as a medium for their Orchids because they incorrectly believe that, like other flowering plants, Orchids must be planted in soil.
In reality, Orchids need a looser, more porous mix since their roots require significantly more air than potting soil would provide, but they still require something for their roots to attach to.
It is possible to formulate your own potting mix from components like sphagnum moss, charcoal, perlite, and a bark mixture, but it can be hit-and-miss.
It’s far easier to confer with an experienced nursery that grows Orchids and purchase a ready-made mixture that will have all the nutrients and minerals specific to your Orchid species, and that will allow water to drain through it unhindered.
Know When To Fertilize
Part of caring for your Orchid flowers is to make sure they get enough nutrients to sustain them.
Unfortunately, the growing media used for Orchids doesn’t consistently provide sufficient nutrients and needs supplementation. Additional fertilization is therefore essential for the plants’ continued health and development, and the most efficient type is a liquid fertilizer that can be heavily diluted and applied monthly.
Check the labels before purchasing to verify the suitability for your plant but remember you should only use it during periods of rapid plant growth, not in the winter when the plant is dormant.
If you want to give the plant an extra micronutrient boost when you’re repotting, mist them with a fish emulsion or seaweed extract mixture.
Study the Best Growing Conditions
The ideal temperature for growing Orchids is between 50° to 75°F but can also be as high as 90°F depending on the variety.
Make sure your Orchid is kept at just the proper temperature that its species requires or anything less or more can create unwanted problems.
Recreate their native conditions, supply them with enough water and daily sunlight exposure whether it’s for 8 hours or 12 hours, and it will remain in bloom for up to 10 weeks.
In the autumn and winter, new buds may be encouraged by lowering the Orchid’s nighttime temperature by around 10 degrees, and if you’re lucky you may just be able to get two blooms a year from your tropical plants.
Companion Plants for Growing Orchid Flower Indoors
Finding the proper companions for your Orchid might be a time-consuming endeavor, and a bit hit-and-miss, but the results will be worth it when your Orchid plant flourishes in response to the different species you have brought in from the cold.
In nature, in the natural habitat that Orchids inhabit, they very rarely grow in isolation, being the equivalent of a people-person in the plant kingdom. In fact, it’s fair to say that many species of Orchids are epiphytes and can even be grown as vines.3
Mimicking nature with the nearby introduction of other flora and fauna will benefit the health and well-being of your Orchid houseplant immeasurably.
Here are just 4 to consider so your Orchid doesn’t feel like it’s all alone in the urban jungle.
If you need a plant to complement your Orchid collection, a Bromeliad is an excellent option. They are not only a beautiful and interesting decoration, but they also assist your Orchid development by providing a humid atmosphere.
They are low-cost, simple to cultivate, demand little in the way of tending, provide the grower with beautiful, long-lasting flowers and decorative leaves, and collect rainfall or filtered tap water in the natural water tank at the middle of their rosette.
This natural feature helps to maintain a high humidity level which is immediately beneficial for your tropical Orchids who will thrive when placed in a container with them.
Furthermore, Bromeliads are available in several forms, sizes, and colors and can be cultivated indoors during the colder months and taken outside once the weather rises above freezing, just like your Orchids.
They are the perfect undemanding companion plant that thrives in low-light environments and may be grown anywhere, regardless of how much or how little room you have on your shelf or windowsill.
Bird’s Nest Fern
The Bird’s Nest thrives nicely when planted with Orchids in indoor pots, its vivid green foliage a stark contrast to the Orchid plants’ whimsy flowers.
Just like Orchids, this plant appreciates warm, humid conditions with indirect lighting and a moist but not soggy foundation.
Watering once a week is plenty throughout the summer, but make sure the top two inches of soil are dry first so you don’t overdo it.
Planting a small Philodendron with your Orchids in the same container is a great idea to complement them as they thrive in the same high humidity and survive under indirect light.
But more than that they are air cleaners. Recent research has discovered that Philodendrons not only need little in the way of upkeep but also aid in improving air quality by removing pollutants like formaldehyde and other harmful particles from the air.16
Popular among horticulturists of all levels because of their ease of maintenance, Anthiums are tropical natives to South America and grow well alongside Orchids due to their lush, eye-catching heart-shaped leaves.
Over the last few years, it has become increasingly popular as a standalone plant or as a friendly companion next to colorful Orchids.
Not to be overshadowed, it blooms long-lasting flowers of rich reds, pinks, purples, and bright whites that are nestled within its deep green leaves.
Just like Orchids, the Anthurium Lividum can live for decades when grown under the correct temperatures of 65°F to 80°F, bathed in indirect sunlight, and treated to the same humidity levels that they are accustomed to in nature.
An added bonus is that, just like Philodendrons, they will act like natural air filters, purifying the air by removing noxious substances like formaldehyde, ammonia, and xylene.
How To Grow Orchids Commercially
Commercial Orchid breeders use the Meristem technique as a mass-production method that allows them to recreate exact duplicates of a particularly stunning plant time after time that is in demand and is expensive.
Purchasing hard-to-find and even more difficult Orchids to grow, can cost anywhere from $100 up to $1,000. Of course, if your tastes are at the extreme top end, you could easily pay $6,000 for the very rare Gold of Kinabalu Orchid or $200,000 for the Shenzhen Nongke Orchid.
The cloning technique of Meristemming may not be able to recreate these two extraordinary specimens just at the moment but there are thousands more that the horticulturists will be able to make more accessible and affordable at a tenth of the current prices.20
These commercial growers are confident that within a few years, there will be no such thing as a rare Orchid with this tissue-culture technology more than able to take a sample of the parent plant and generate thousands of identical plantlets.
Originally developed for carnations and dahlias by botanist Dr. Morel in the 1960s, Meristemming has the ability to revolutionize the rate at which rare Orchids can be grown.
Some varieties that are extraordinarily beautiful, and expensive, take years to bloom and are not cultivated by your average grower for these reasons.
Commercial Meristemming nurseries are now opening the door to a diverse range of Orchid flowers that were previously only seen in magazines in far-away exotic locations.
4 of the Most Expensive Types of Orchids
Orchids are notoriously difficult to cultivate, with many of the rarest and most beautiful types taking years to grow under particular conditions that are hard to replicate in other regions.
The prices that they demand are therefore reflected in the time, effort, and investment dedicated to their development and cultivation, processes that earn them the title of one-of-a-kind.
Here is a list of just 4 of these delicate blooms that are widely sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, with prices that will make your eyes water.
Yet no doubt you would still love to have any one if not all of them blooming on your front lawn if you just had a little spare cash to splurge on any one of these exotic and highly valued hybrids.
1. Ghost Orchid
In the wild, this species is classified as endangered and can only be found in the inhospitable swamps of Florida in the USA and parts of the Bahamas and Cuba.
Its appearance is unique and even though many Orchidists have tried to cultivate it outside of its natural habitat, few have succeeded as it tends to perish within a year of removal.
The cost of purchasing a plant if one can be found would set you back around $3,000.
The rainforests in the high mountainous regions in Borneo are where this rare flower proliferates, growing in very unusual soil called ultramafic.
The soil composition could well be one of the reasons why they are not grown in other locations, but also perhaps casual gardeners may be put off by the 8 to 10 years it takes to grow them.
A price tag of $6,000 is placed on one of these stunning plants if you can pry one out of a collector’s ground.
3. The Koki’o Orchid
Growing only in Hawaii, there are only 23 of these endangered trees with these vibrant red blooms. It was first discovered on the Islands in 1860 but was then thought to have become extinct by 1950.
A lone tree was discovered by chance 20 years later but was then badly burned in a fire that only one branch was able to be salvaged. It was from that branch that the 23 trees that are alive today were painstakingly cultivated.
Even though hundreds of Orchids are produced from these 23 survivors every year, the trees remain rare and nigh on impossible to propagate due to the lack of viable seeds, so the flowers are known to fetch prices of $20,000.
4. Shenzhen Nongke Orchid
Named after Shenzhen Nongke University, this Orchid is the product of 8 years of scientific endeavors in the laboratory of this renowned Chinese establishment. It is a marvel of modern agricultural technological achievement that has engineered the plant with the ability to withstand exceptionally high or low temperatures.
It has an absolutely unique flower shape that stands out even in the diverse range of species in the family Orchidaceae, and to top it all off an extended blooming period.
This all probably accounts for the price tag between $200,000 to $240,000.
However, it does take 5 years to grow one.
Orchids in Nature: Wildflower Orchid
Hiking along trails and through forests is a pastime that millions enjoy so they can get back in touch with nature. There are those who appreciate the unusual birds they rarely see on an everyday basis, and there are those interested in finding rare types of butterflies that haven’t been seen for years.
Some of the Orchids that can be found in the wild are just as stunning as the ones on display in the windows of florists, in nurseries, or possibly even resting in a vase at this very moment in your home.
Next time you’re out for a walk on the wild side in your area, keep an eye out to see if you can spot any of these incredible specimens.
Found across North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, the bee Orchid has a reputation as being sexually deceptive. Not only do they copy the actual look of a female bee but the flower emits a pheromone called allomones that copies the female scent as well.
From wooded areas, along roadsides, grasslands, and even quarries, fly Orchids may be found on soils rich in chalk and limestone, and have taken a leaf out of the bee Orchid book of attraction.
Tall green spikes bear blooms that look like flies complete with antennae in late April and, just like the bee Orchid, it emits pheromones that attract digger wasps.
Despite their fly-like appearance, these blooms are really magnets for these types of wasps who are tricked into thinking the scent is that of a female.
Feeling duped, they quickly buzz off but not before being covered in pollen.
White Lady’s Slipper
Some of the National Forests in Canada are where you can accidentally stumble across these enchanting Orchids that can be spied hiding in the shadows of towering trees.
In the central and eastern United States, the plants can be spotted in open grasslands but their presence is becoming a rarity possibly due to the effects of climate change.
Although the name may not envision images of a hardy plant, the White Lady’s slippers are able to thrive on the outskirts of forests in damp soil, on the backs of bare limestone, and even along the dusty side of train tracks.
The Common-Spotted Orchid
If you find yourself rambling in the United Kingdom and come across a field littered with tiny white to pink flowers with light pink spikes, odds are you’re looking at the common spotted Orchid.
They can be found through the months of June through August in forests, roadside verges, hedgerows, abandoned quarries, sand dunes, and marshes.
Most definitely the most recognizable Orchid in the UK, the Common-Spotted Orchid is anything but ordinary.
The green leaves are covered in purple oval spots, from which the plant receives its popular name and, before the flower spike emerges, they create a colorful rosette at ground level.
The three-lobed lips of the blooms may be any color from white to purple, but they always have a characteristic pattern of darker pink dots and stripes, all nicely clustered on short and conical stems.
White Orchid Flower in Nature
White Orchids exude a purity of beauty that allows you to focus more on the flower’s structure without being distracted by too many wild colors.
Many of these types of white flowers have such unusual and impressive floral designs that your head just can’t help but be turned as you can see from the head-turners below.
Star of Bethlehem
Often found growing on trees in Madagascar, these beautiful blossoms are especially striking because their petals are arranged in a pattern reminiscent of a six-pointed star, with three stars on the top and three on the bottom.
This extraordinary flowering also produces a rich, pleasant aroma of vanilla as the blossoms begin to wilt at night, the only time you’ll be able to smell this tantalizing aroma.
Sobralia Leucoxantha Orchid
This is one of the most beautiful white flowers with a bright yellow striped labellum in the center and is native to Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, and Peru, but you never know if you could stumble across one growing freely in the wild.
They have a fleeting existence, quickly emerging only to wither away within a few days, only to regrow anew again and again for weeks on end.
But rather than based on its appearance, the name is derived from the plant’s habit of blooming in response to weather systems that bring rain and shifts in barometric pressure and temperature, like during thunderstorms.
Native to the Western United States, it thrives well in its native habitat amid ancient trees, or in grassland environments that have acidic and sandy soils as found along coastlines.
Although a hardy plant, it does not fare very well in garden landscapes as it detests moving home so any attempts at transplanting it into a new location generally won’t end well.
Black Orchid Flower Types
If an Orchid is in full bloom and is completely black, it is likely a fake that has been colored. That is not to say that extremely dark flowers don’t exist in nature, just that they are not really black, just a very close facsimile in the right lighting.
Science is still working on creating the perfect 100% black flower by injecting the black pigment directly into the plant. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it produces interesting results.
(Maxillaria schunkeana ‘Black Velvet’)
The flowers are such a deep crimson color that they almost seem convincingly black. They bloom for approximately four short weeks in their natural habitat of the Brazilian rainforests where the amazing plant thrives in partial shade and a broad humid temperature range.
If you can recreate this challenging environment, then you may stand a chance of growing your own and impressing the neighbors.
(Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘Black Pearl’)
The Black Pearl is broodingly stunning and is hailed as the first virtually all-black Orchid to be created artificially in a laboratory setting.
Although not 100% black, its incredibly dark petals are small and cup-shaped, and the designers were mindful to imbue this phenomenal plant with a heady and spicy-sweet scent.
The blooms appear in all their broody magnificence when the leaves fall off and the autumn/winter transitional period encroaches.
(Cymbidium ‘Kiwi Midnight’)
The perceived black color of the Kiwi Midnight is not black but rather an extremely dark purple color that fools the eye until you can get close up and personal and verify it for yourself.
Blue Orchid Flowers
Most blue Orchids, whether Dendrobium or Phalaenopsis, are dyed, their color manipulated by florists using innovative infusion techniques to produce blue flowers. But, though incredibly uncommon, they do actually exist in the wild.
Here are a few that are the real deal.
Its purple-blue flowers streaked with intriguing white highlights, set it out as one of the true blue Orchids. It’s the real deal and gets an even deeper indigo hue 10 days after blossoming.
William Griffith, a famous explorer, was the first to find this bloom in 1837 in its native habitat in India, and now there are species in Burma and Thailand.
The Blue Vanda Orchid thrives in bright sunshine, for sure would look stunning in a vase on your kitchen table, but you’re better off buying this expensive beauty from the store as they are extremely hard to grow.
Blue Lady Orchid
Restricted to the wetland and coastal regions of Western Australia, the Blue Lady is actually becoming endangered due to problems in that area of Australia.
Which is a shame because the central golden crest contrasts beautifully against the varying shades of blue on the pointed petals that a.
Planting one of these in your flower bed isn’t really a problem, but obtaining one in the first place and then caring for it can be seriously challenging.
This one may be found in the peat bogs and swamps in New Zealand and Southeastern Australia. Under these inhospitable conditions, they form colonies of four to twenty plants and emblazon the dreary landscape with patches of light blue petals run through with deeply veined lines.
Despite their native living arrangements, they tend not to be so difficult to cultivate in different soils, as you can find one in the first place.
Common Pests of the Orchid Flower: Scale
More than 3,000 of these tiny yet terrifying scale insects have been documented in North America with an average of at least 25 of them lurking in and around your garden at any one time for an opportunity to strike.6
They are and should be treated as an invading army, relying on their mass to cause maximum damage, and they can quickly become a major problem for your Orchid flowers.
The adult males look like fluffy white balls, harmless when spotted singly, while the adult females hide their egg sacs inside white circular shields.
The female lays her eggs under her shell where they will stay even after she dies, patiently waiting to hatch within 1 to 3 weeks.
Once they have hatched, they shuffle along until they find a free space that isn’t occupied by one of the dozens of their brothers and sisters and lazily settle down to sink tiny teeth into your plants’ leaves.
With so many of them on one leaf it doesn’t take an eternity for the last drop of sap to be sucked dry, wounding your once-fresh Orchid. By the time that happens, they have already cocooned themselves in a white hard covering and are hard to remove after that.
There are many varieties of scale insects, yet they all have the ability to kill your plant if enough of them go unnoticed and are allowed to proliferate at their leisure.
Natural Pest Control for Scale Predators
When a large-scale insect infestation is discovered in their cocooned state, they are hard if not impossible to scrape off without tearing a giant hole in your leaf.
Small amounts of scale, however, may be removed manually using a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol or by spraying an organic pesticide not harmful to Orchids or neem oil mixed with water.
Spray the undersides of the leaves and the axils of the leaves to make sure you get them all, but cover the whole plant that you don’t want to be splattered.
Common Pests of Orchid Leaves: Mites
These particular types of pests actually belong to the spider family, not insects, yet are no less bothersome because of their classification.
These spider mites are tiny, reddish-brown bugs that can barely be seen on the underside of plants feeding away as if there was no tomorrow.
Orchids with thinner leaves are more likely to be damaged by mites than those with broader leaves, although no Orchid is completely safe.
Red spider mites, flat mites, and wide mites are the three types of mites that often attack cultivated Orchids and at each feeding point, they remove chloroplasts, the cells that convert light into energy, along with the plant’s sap.
In extreme cases of infestation, the leaves may become mottled or stippled, and chlorotic spots may form because of the lack of chlorophyll. This depletion can weaken and horribly disfigure your prized Orchids so keep your eyes peeled for any telltale signs of their spidery webbing.
How To Care for Orchids Infested With Mites
If only your Orchids could warn you every time minuscule spider mites started leeching the sap from their leaf veins life would be so easy. As it goes, vigilance is your only option, for trying to catch them in the act.
Unfortunately, without a magnifying glass, you’re unlikely to see them doing their thing on the underside of the leaves until the damage is big enough to be easily noticeable.
To verify if they are creeping and crawling all over your Orchid, hold the plant up to the light and spray it with a thin mist of water on the leaves to reveal the webs.
Gently brush away all the webbing before spraying the plant with a solution of dish soap and wiping it down with rubbing alcohol or vegetable oil.
Continue to apply your treatment of choice once a week for three weeks, but in the event that the damage is too ingrained into the plant, then the available limited options are to separate the plant from the others and destroy it to prevent any further infestations.
Pictures of Orchids That Smell Like Chocolates
Orchids have a vast array of pleasant fragrances across the species, but are you aware that there are also Orchids in certain parts of the world with a delicious chocolate aroma?
These lovely hybrids are the result of a cross between two different Oncidium hybrids, Jamie Sutton and Honolulu, and are tree-dwelling plants that produce tall spikes of spectacular brick-red and cream-colored blooms.
Their flowering of just a few weeks at most is just enough time for the inhabitants in its native regions in Subtropical America to fully appreciate their unusual aromas until the next short blooming period.
Oncidium Heaven Scent
The Oncidium Heaven Scent has an equally deep chocolatey aroma as the Sharry Baby Orchid but is preferred by collectors due to its superior floral display of dozens of tiny brown and white flowers.
The bloom again only lasts for about four weeks but that hasn’t dissuaded Orchid growers from wanting them passionately.
Epidendrum atropurpureum Orchid
The Epidendrum atropurpureum Orchid, or Encyclia cordigera, thrives in the temperatures and humidity levels found throughout the Americas, South America, and Brazil.
Teasingly, it emits the familiar chocolate aroma but what sets this species apart from the other two is the fact that it comes in three different color variations that make it even more desirable.
The blooming period extends to well over a month, giving you plenty of time to take in the sight and smell of this fascinating Orchid.
Stanhopea Oculata Orchid
The Stanhopea Oculata Orchid, which grows between 900 and 1.500 meters above sea level, has been seen in Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and recently in Spain’s Botanical-Orchid Park in Malaga.
Its name, Oculata, comes from the two black dots on each side of its bright orange-yellow labellum that are nothing short of stunning. Even more, the flowers are slim and graceful with colors varying from creamy white to beige spotted with little circles and dark red flecks.
What sets this marvelous Orchid apart from the other three, is that it doesn’t smell of dark chocolate like they do but white chocolate.
Unfortunately, because it takes so much energy for this delicate plant to produce the distinctive and strong aroma of white chocolate, the blooming period seldom lasts more than three short days.
7 Fascinating Orchid Flower Facts
Orchids are unique among plants and animals in that they may mate with members of unrelated genera to create completely new species on a bewilderingly regular basis.
Because of this, an infinite number of hybrids are possible with new species being discovered virtually every year with types of flowers that are dramatic, colorful, and simply breathtaking.
- The largest Orchid species in the world is the Tiger Orchid, Grammatophyllum speciosum, and weighs 2 tonnes.19
- The hardest Orchids to grow are the Habenarias due to their method of dormancy and their liking for monsoon-like conditions.
- The rarest Orchid is called the Western Underground Orchid found in Australia and blooms once every 10 years, with only 50 still known to be in existence.
- Orchid seeds are some of the tiniest on the planet and they are so small that a magnifying glass is needed just to find them.
- An island close to Papua New Guinea is where the only known Orchid species in existence that flowers at night can be found.
- Orchids were used to treat respiratory ailments in traditional Chinese medicine, to boost energy levels for the Aztecs, and as an aphrodisiac for ancient Greeks.
- If you suffer from hay fever, have no fear. The pollen inside Orchids are locked away in sealed pockets called pollinia and are not airborne so the plants are safe to have around for allergy sufferers.
As a plant, Orchids have the capability to survive for decades. The advice an experienced Orchid grower would give to someone interested in tackling the intricacies of growing this fascinating plant would be to have patience and only try to grow Orchid flowers that can thrive in their planting zone.
Choosing incorrectly could make this new venture turn out to be your worst nightmare. Pick the right Orchid flower and growing it successfully could be one of your greatest achievements.
Frequently Asked Questions About Orchid Flower
What Is Orchid Flower Symbolism?
Orchid flowers symbolize love, beauty, purity, and luxury.
What Is the Average Time Span of How Long It Takes To Grow Orchid Flower?
It can take between 3 to 8 years for Orchids to bloom, yet some very rare species can take much longer.
What Is the Best Season When To Plant Orchid Flower for the Best Yield?
Orchids like warmer, more humid conditions, so spring and summer are the best times to start to grow them.
Are Orchids Perennials?
Yes, Orchids are perennials.
Where Are Orchids From?
Apart from the Antarctic, Orchids grow on every other continent.
What Are the Ways on How To Stop Orchid Flower Disease (Orchid Flower Disease Prevention)?
Control and preventive measures start with checking for visible signs and symptoms, ensuring sufficient airflow and correct temperatures, as well as spraying regularly with a natural fungicide made from cinnamon sticks and water.
What Is the Ideal Distance To Consider How Far Apart To Plant Orchid Flower in Pots?
Seedlings should be spaced about 2 inches apart.
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21Golden Bloom Orchids Farm San Rafael Bulacan Photo by Judgefloro / Public Domain. Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:09066jfGolden_Bloom_Orchids_Farm_San_Rafael_Bulacanfvf_42.JPG>
22Dendrophylax lindenii cultivated by Jeff Hale Photo by Jeffalanhale / Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dendrophylax_lindenii_cultivated_by_Jeff_Hale.JPG>
23Paphiopedilum rothschildianum Photo by Dick Culbert / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paphiopedilum_rothschildianum_%2814177345749%29.jpg>
24Kokia cookei Photo by David Eickhoff / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/dweickhoff/6277301132/>
25Photo by tallislandgirl. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/orchids-flowers-plant-pot-7025746/>
26Photo by milivigerova. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/orchid-flower-pot-violet-715907/>
27Photo by terimakasih0. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/canna-flower-orchid-yellow-nature-1341423/>
28Vanda Sunlight Asia Photo by Maja Dumat / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/blumenbiene/28612034771/>
29Orchids and Bromeliads at Rainforest Discovery Center Photo by Brian Gratwicke / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/briangratwicke/8553528398>
30Phalaenopsis hybrid ‘Yellow’ Moth Orchid, Anthurium andraeanum cv Flamingo Flower Photo by K M / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/131880272@N06/51282952850/>
31Photo by Illuvis. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/bee-orchid-wildflower-meadow-flora-7247447/>
32Ophrys insectifera (habitus) Photo by Hans Hillewaert / Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ophrys_insectifera_%28habitus%29.jpg>
33Cypripedium candidum flower in Ohio Photo by Allefant / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cypripedium_candidum_flower_in_Ohio.jpg>
34Photo by BettyStewies. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/dactylorhiza-fuchsii-dactylorhiza-4677718/>
35Angraecum sesquipedale Thouars, Hist. Orchid Photo by sunoochi / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Angraecum_sesquipedale_Thouars,_Hist._Orchid._66_%281822%29_%2844619753020%29.jpg>
36Sobralia leucoxantha\ Photo by Dick Culbert / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/92252798@N07/10989129255/>
37Orchidaceae flower from W Java Photo by gbohne / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orchidaceae_-_flower_-_from_W-Java_(5226310242).jpg>
38Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis Photo by mountainamoeba / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calypso_bulbosa_var._occidentalis_(3).jpg>
39Maxillaria schunkeana Photo by orchidgalore / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maxillaria_schunkeana.jpg>
40Dickinson Family Conservatory, World of Orchids, Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘SVO Black Pearl’ Photo by K M / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/131880272@N06/51123296325/>
41Dickinson Family Conservatory, World of Orchids, Cymbidium Kiwi Midnight ‘Geyserland’ Photo by K M / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From <Flickrhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/131880272@N06/51123295450/>
42Photo by Hans. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/blue-vanda-orchid-orchid-blue-93624/>
43Thelymitra crinita Photo by Jean and Fred Hort / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/jean_hort/50425808066>
44Thelymitra cyanea Falls Creek Photo by Chris Clarke / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thelymitra_cyanea_Falls_Creek.jpg>
45Cocciniglia – Pseudococcus longispinus – Mealybug – cochonilha] Photo by Giannia del Bufalo / Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/bygdb/18791433323/>
46Tenuipalpidae infestation at Phalaenopsis leaf Photo by Temdor / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tenuipalpidae_infestation_at_Phalaenopsis_leaf.jpg>
47Oncidium Sharry Baby Sweet Fragrance Photo by David J. Stang / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oncidium_Sharry_Baby_Sweet_Fragrance_0zz.jpg>
48Encyclia cordigera in Gothenburg Botanical Garden 2015 Photo by Averater / Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Encyclia_cordigera_GotBot_2015_001.jpg>
49Stanhopea oculata Photo by dwittkower / Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stanhopea_oculata_-_infl.jpg>