Orchid Types Explained – A Mesmerizing Flower

(STL.News) Multiple different orchid types grow throughout the world, and they can be confusing if you don’t consider yourself a gardener.  Since they hail from all parts of the world, they have different career requirements and instructions, so it’s essential to check before purchase.  Orchids are divided into three groups: cool, intermediate, and warm.

The Different Orchid Groups

While any orchid type will look great in your living room, only a few types of these flowers will thrive outside during spring, summer, or fall.

Cool orchids like the Dendrobium, Cymbidium, Miltoniposis, and Odontoglossum only thrive in springtime temperatures and can’t exceed 70°F.  Intermediateorchids like the Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Cambria, and Cattleya can’t exceed75°F while warm orchids like the Vanda Phalaenopsis are comfortable at 80-85°F.

Let’s look at each type of orchid more in-depth.


The Phalaenopsis orchid is the most common type you’ll find orchid plant delivery services.  Also known as Moth orchids, they have flat, wide, and dark leaves and carry long stems.   Moth orchids come in a wide range of colors and need humidity and tons of light and heat and grow.


A cool orchid that can thrive in mild temperatures, these cylindrical and or cone-shaped flowers shave less coverage on the base of their leaves.  The Dendrobiums petals are usually free and don’t connect, and the labellum is more egg-shaped and narrower at the base.


Another cool orchid, the Cymbidium, is also known as the boat orchid and almost always has leaves and contains thin stems.  The petals are usually thin, free form, and similar, but the labellum looks much different from the rest of the petals.  This orchid has three erect lobes and side lobes.


The Miltoniopsis is actually a Miltonia hybrid or a pansy orchid.  They have large flowers with the distinct look the pansies have.  Even though they can grow in cold temperatures, they won’t survive too many temperature fluctuations.  They are often one solid and pale color.


The final cool growing orchid, the Odontoglossum (or the butterfly orchid), has a unique,cup-like appearance while growing.  Their two tooth-like calluses at the base of their lip make them look even more unique.  While opened, their 5pedals are large and of equal shape.


The first of the intermediate orchids is a large variety that is often referred to as the “dancing lady.”  Oncidiums are characterized by their column wings, three leaves, several basal bracts, and lips.  They’ll look great in your garden in white, red, yellow and pink.


Also known as the Venus Slipper because of its slipper-like appearance, the Paphiopedilumtraps insects with its nectar and consumes them.  In every way, this plant is unique compared to the orchids but still maintains the iconic stripy petal appearance and stem.


This intermediate orchid commonly has spotty petals that come in white and red.  The Cambria has stretched pseudobulbs and long floral stems where the plant itself usually produces 5 to 7flowers.  Cambria is capable of making its own seed directly from the pseudobulb.


Cattleyas are a terrestrial breed of orchids that have fleshy noodle-like roots.  Their pseudobulbs are usually spindle or conical-shaped, but they always grow upright.  Cattleyas can vary in color and appearance but will always have their distinct four pollinia (organs filled with pollen).


Vandas produce large and beautiful flowers that extend out and resemble a hand.  They’re sought after for their showy, long-lasting, fragrant, and intensely colorful petals.  The Vanda is considered to be the most specifically adapted of all orchids and prefers hot temperatures.