Types of Orchid


Although there are many, many different species and hybrids of orchids, there are actually only two different types of orchids. Growing ground orchids is called terrestrial.  The other type of orchid is the epiphytes orchid that grows in trees, rocks or even on poles.

Terrestrial orchid species are some of the most popular orchids.  Although terrestrial orchids have roots that grow beneath the surface of the soil just like most other types of plants, some terrestrial orchids are semi-terrestrial.  This means that they have both underground and aerial roots.  Cymbidium orchids are a terrestrial orchid consisting of more than 40 species with thousands of hybrids.  They are one of the first species of orchids to have been cultivated. These orchids are a great example of terrestrials that not only grow on the ground but they can also grow on trees and rocks. They grow extremely well in the loose humus of rotted wood or decaying leaves. Cymbidium orchids can be found in their natural habitat which extends from Southeast Asia to Japan as well as being found in Australia. Cymbidium orchids are so popular because they are easy to grow and are therefore a perfect choice for beginners. Additionally, with the proper care, they will provide beautiful flowers each and every year.

The term epiphyte is actually not reserved to a type of orchid. It refers to any plant that has a root system above ground. Dendrobiums are the best known epiphytes orchid. Although they are easy to grow, they require slightly more care than Cymbidiums and do not flower as easily on a regular basis. There are over 1000 species of Dendrobiums. They can be found in their natural tropical conditions of Northern India, South East Asia, Australia and Polynesia. Because they are found in tropical conditions, Dendrobiums thrive in warm, humid growing conditions and should be kept moist. Another popular epiphyte type of orchid is the Phalaenopsis. These orchids are easy to grow and have long-lasting flowers. They are often seen at weddings and can be found in various colors including pinks, yellows, and even stripes.

Epiphytic orchids grow upon structures like trees. Even tho they grow attached to the tree, they do not receive their nourishment from the tree itself. They establish themselves by their fleshy roots on branches or bark of trees. The organic matter that accumulates between the roots and branches is used as nutrients for the plant. The roots of epiphytic orchids can also sustain the plant throughout wet and dry periods. A spongy off-white covering that can absorb water easily surrounds the tough, stringy core of the root. When it rains, this cover soaks up water. When it is completely saturated, it turns light green. The orchids roots retain the moisture and will release it gradually to the plant tissues. There are also some species of epiphytic orchids that cling to rocks. As they are suspended from trees or rocks, the epiphytes thrive in filtered light and always in open, airy situations.



Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “The Golden Book of Orchids” is available Here! Be sure to check out all 12 of Kali’s free bonus e-Books on gardening.  Learn more about Herbs here.

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Follow all Kali’s Orchid Series:

Wedding Orchids-
Orchid Growing Tips With Lights-
Caring For Orchids-
Types of Orchids-
Orchid Water Tips-

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