Wondering if there are more orchid types out there than the handful you always see in garden centers?
Well, you are in for a treat because there are upwards of 25,000 orchid species in the world (and many more hybrids and cultivars!)
The good news for us is that many of these lovely orchids do not require specialized knowledge and equipment to grow. And it’s not hard to get them to flower again if you know their secrets!
Get your planters and potting medium at the ready, because in this article we’re going to introduce you to 22 incredible types of orchids that are suitable for homes, offices, and other indoor spaces.
Along with the plant descriptions and pictures, scientific names will help identify each species of orchid do you have.
We’ll start off with 12 easy orchid varieties, perfect for a beginner enthusiast. Then we’ll move onto 10 more demanding orchid types that will offer you a fun challenge once you’ve got the hang of things.
22 Different Types Of Orchids With Pictures And Care Guide
Here are a few of the most stunning orchid types you can grow indoors, and information about their specific care needs.
12 Easy Orchids (And How To Keep Them Happy)
1. Brassavola Orchids
This orchid genus is perfect for new orchid enthusiasts wanting to see some quick results. Brassavola is easy to grow and produces its delicate star-shaped blooms from a young age.
If you take good care of your Brassavola it may very well reward you by blooming many times in the year.
Flowers are usually a whitish-cream, often with a green center, and possess a large, rolled white lip. You’ll also get to experience a delicious fragrance at night!
Brassavola nodosa (also known as The Lady of the Night) is an excellent species to try. It’s known to flower pretty much all year, and the nighttime, citrus scent is almost as heavenly as its pure white flowers.
Care Guide For Brassavola Orchids
2. Brassia – Spider Orchid
It’s easy to see how these dainty flowers gained their common name of ‘Spider Orchids.’ The long, narrow spikes resemble legs, and the central flower lip looks a lot like an abdomen.
The flowers are arranged in neat rows along pendant spikes, like a line of slender dancers waving their limbs in the air.
Brassia blooms are a soft creamy-white and often marked with brown or purple flecks. Most types reach around a foot in height, but some are much larger (up to 1 meter) and will need support.
Brassia orchids will do well on a window sill but need protection from direct sun by use of net curtains or a similar kind of light-diffusing screen.
Brassia verrucosa is a classic Spider Orchid and very popular. Blooms can reach 8 -10 inches, and the fragrance is divine.
Care Guide For Brassia Orchids
3. Cattleya Orchids
If you are aiming to impress, Cattleya orchids will put on a spectacular show for you! They are the show ponies of the orchid family, sporting enormous blooms that can reach an incredible 8 inches across.
Flowers are often frilled too, and with a dramatic contrast color on the lip. Most are also highly fragrant, with a dreamy vanilla and cinnamon scent.
Hybrid Cattleya plants are especially prized as they possess some spectacular combinations of colors. The hybrid Cattleya Bob Betts, with crisp white petals and a yellow, frilled lip, is often used for wedding corsages.
The trade-off for the maxi-size blooms is that the plants themselves tend to be very large. Many are in the 2-4 foot range, so better kept in a greenhouse or conservatory rather than on a windowsill.
Cattleya orchids can be a little fussy and definitely won’t thrive in a dry air environment with little ventilation. Placing them on a humidity tray is beneficial.
If you can’t fit the larger varieties in your home, you’ll want to check out the ‘Mini-Catts,’ which only reach a tiny 4-8 inches. Perfect for squeezing many different varieties onto your window sills!
Care Guide For Cattleya Orchids
4. Cambria orchids (Vuylstekeara)
Plants of the orchid genus Vuylstekeara get sold under their hybrid name of Cambria. No doubt you will have seen many Cambria orchids in garden centers and grocery stores, as this hybrid is incredibly popular.
These plants are a three-way hybrid between Odontoglossum, Miltonia, and Cochlioda. They make excellent plants for an orchid beginner, as they tolerate a wide range of temperatures and don’t require a resting period.
Cambria orchids produce huge, extravagant blooms on single or branched spikes. Most species bear vibrant red and white flowers, with large lips marked in yellow, that last for several weeks.
Vuylstekeara Cambria ‘Plush’ is an ideal choice to add to your collection. The gorgeous red and white blooms with elegant large lips can number up to 12 on each flower spike, and if you treat it well, it may bloom more than once a year.
Care Guide For Cambria Orchids
5. Cymbidium – Boat Orchids
It’s easy to see why this variety is so popular among florists and garden centers. Cymbidium’s tall upright flower spikes can bear huge numbers of incredible blooms in all colors of the rainbow barring blue.
Petals are often rounded and waxy in texture. The lip resembles the shape of a boat, explaining the common name for these beauties.
If you are a beginner orchid enthusiast, we would suggest you steer away from the species Cymbidium orchids early on. There are thousands of gorgeous hybrid cymbidiums to choose from, and they are much more tolerant of temperature errors.
Standard Cymbidium hybrids are enormous, reaching up to 5 feet, and they require a cool greenhouse to thrive. If you have the facilities to house them, their care is uncomplicated.
Miniature Cymbidium hybrids, on the other hand, make wonderful houseplants. They still reach a respectable 1-2 feet in height, and their showy flowers last for up to 2 months.
Cymbidium Golden Elf is a rather stunning miniature hybrid, with bracts of cheerful yellow flowers which have the bonus of being fragrant.
To achieve success with your Cymbidium hybrids, they’ll need a little vacation outdoors each summer. These plants love fresh air, so ensure they have ventilation. A significant difference in day and night temperatures is also essential for Cymbidium orchids to reflower.
Care Guide For Cymbidium Orchids
6. Dendrobium – Bamboo Orchid
There is no standard Dendrobium flower shape, as this orchid variety is so large and varied. Every color under the sun is available, apart from the two shades no natural orchid can appear in (blue or black).
Due to the enormous variety, trying to describe a typical Dendrobium is a little pointless. Instead, we’ll introduce you to a few of our favorites.
Dendrobium kingianum is a breeze to grow successfully and a great place to kick off your Dendrobium collection. The flowers are small and dainty, (usually pink, lavender, or white) and sweetly scented.
Like most Dendrobiums, they like a cool environment, and a substantial drop in temperature during the winter.
Dendrobium nobile is a popular type of orchid that grows to around 2 feet. It usually bears pretty groups of pink and white flowers, although many other colors are available.
Keep your Dendrobium Nobile in an unheated part of the house in winter to ensure blooms the following year.
Care Guide For Dendrobium Orchids
7. Encyclia – Cockleshell Orchid
Although some Encyclia orchids have a regular orchid flower shape, many are part of the ‘cockleshell’ group.
Cockleshell orchids have an upside-down pattern that is very distinctive. The lip sits at the top of the bloom, and the long and narrow sepals and petals hang downwards.
Flowers sit at the top of upright spikes and often come in pale colors like pinks, creams, and yellows. As well as looking pretty, the blooms also smell divine.
One of the most popular Encyclia’s variety available is Encyclia cochleata, also known as the Octopus Orchid. Flowers have the classic cockleshell upside-down appearance, with a purple striped lip up top and long, leg-like petals twisting downwards,
Encyclia radiata is another fantastic species for a beginner orchid grower. The one inch, creamy blooms have a delicious scent.
Care Guide For Encyclia Orchids
8. Epidendrum orchids
Epidendrum orchids variety live on trees in their native habitats. They are used to surviving in little to no soil and do not require many nutrients to thrive.
The average Epidendrum is robust and tolerant of a range of temperatures. Just ensure that it never gets as low as freezing as that will surely kill the plant.
Epidendrum orchids tend to have reed-like stems, which bear clusters of gorgeous, brightly colored flowers. Warm to hot colors like red, orange, purple, yellow, hot pink, and lilac are common.
Virtually all species have the same ruffled lip, fused to the column (the rod structure at the center of the flower). Some species are a solid color, while others have spots and striped markings.
Epidendrum ibaguense – Apricot, also known as the Crucifix Orchid is a typical epidendrum and a perfect choice for a beginner.
It’s extremely tough, and the sprays of delicate orange flowers will cheer you up for weeks at a time. The unusual lip on these orchids looks like a small cross.
Care Guide For Epidendrum Orchids
9. Miltoniopsis – Pansy Orchid
You may see these glorious orchids mislabeled as Miltonia, but they are Miltoniopsis hybrids. You can identify them by the broad pansy shaped flowers sitting on upright spikes.
Also, like pansies, the flowers can feature an ornate ‘mask’ in a contrasting color, made up of spots or stripes. The large blooms are generally white, red, or pink, and last a good long time.
There are plenty of Miltoniopsis hybrids that do very well in the average home environment, so long as the heating is not turned up too high. Humidity is vital for these plants to thrive, so provide them with a pebble tray to keep them at their best.
Miltoniopsis Herralexander is a lovely example of a white hybrid, with a sweet, pansy-like mask in magenta and yellow.
Care Guide For Miltoniopsis Orchids
10. Oncidium – Dancing Lady orchids
Oncidium orchids have been around since the very beginning of ‘Orchidmania’ and collected by enthusiasts since the 18th century. The flowers vary widely, but a typical Oncidium features a large cluster of blooms on top of tall stems.
Oncidium orchids come in many shades, but most are yellow, white, purple, pink, or green. The top part of the bloom resembles the torso and arms of a woman, whereas the extravagant lip is the flowing ‘skirt’.
If you are after an Oncidium for your home windowsill, stick to the more robust hybrids. The species have some very particular needs and are best off in a greenhouse with strict temperature controls.
Oncidium Twinkle is an adorable dwarf hybrid, with the incredible vanilla scent typical in this genus. The spikes only reach about 8 inches in height but are covered in a profusion of dainty, often bicolored, blooms. It’s commonly available in white, pink, orange, and red.
Oncidium Sharry Baby is another hybrid but much larger, with branched flower spikes reaching up to two feet tall. The stunning red flowers with white markings on the lips can last an incredible three months before fading (and it often blooms more than once a year!)
Care Guide For Oncidium Orchids
11. Paphiopedilum – Slipper Orchid
These distinctive orchids are super popular with beginner growers and lifelong orchid enthusiasts alike. Sold in a wide range of stores, you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking down one of these beauties to add to your collection.
Paphiopedilum gets its common name from the unique pouch-shaped lip, which often resembles a dainty women’s slipper. The pouch’s purpose is to ensure visiting insects fall in and pollinate the plant.
At the top of the flower, the sepal is normally large and extravagant and decorated with spots or stripes.
Unlike many orchids, the leaves of Slipper Orchids are numerous and form an attractive fan shape, so there is no need to hide your orchid away between flowering periods.
Some species even have unusual mottled leaves, which are much easier to grow in a shaded location than most species of orchid.
All Slipper Orchids appreciate extra humidity. Misting is not recommended as water can collect in the leaves and encourage rot. Try putting your plants on a pebble humidity tray.
Paphiopedilum Transvaal is a genuinely stunning hybrid, featuring attractive mottled leaves. Similar to the famous species orchid, Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, Transvaal is much easier to grow for a beginner. The upper sepal is yellow with contrasting dark red stripes and the pouch, or ‘slipper’ is a blushed pink.
Paphiopedilum Catherine Briois is another lovely hybrid, with soft and rounded sepals and slipper pouch in pale pink with hundreds of dark red speckles.
Care Guide For Paphiopedilum Orchids
12. Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchid
The stunning Moth Orchid seems to be almost tailor-made for the modern living room. Unlike other orchid genera, they adore the warmth created by centrally heated homes, and their light needs are relatively modest.
All this would be beside the point were it not for the Moth Orchids incredible blooms. The many flowers have large rounded sepals and a beautiful lip made up of three distinct sections.
The flowers last and last, remaining on the plant for months at a time. It’s easy to see why they have become such a favored plant for sellers in DIY and garden stores across the world.
Once they have flowered, it’s not all that difficult to encourage your Moth Orchid to produce a new flower spike. Simply cut back to around an inch, and another spike should begin to form.
Phalaenopsis Lipperose is a classic pink hybrid and the mother of many other pink moth orchids. Beautiful pink sepals and petals frame an elegant gold and white lip, covered in dark red markings.
Phaelaenopsis schilleriana is a large and dramatic species and makes a magnificent display orchid. The spikes can hold numerous blooms that reach over three inches in size. Pale pink to white sepals create a backdrop for an ornate lip with gold and dark pink speckles.
‘Keiki’ is a rather cute Hawaiian word for baby plantlets that can sometimes form on Phalaenopsis orchids. It looks like another narrow, segmented stem, which then forms tiny leaves and a root system.
Once these roots reach about two inches in length, you can then detach the Keiki from the parent plant and pot them up in orchid potting medium. Cover the whole plant in a plastic bag or mist regularly to ensure it gets enough humidity.
It takes a little while for a Keiki to grow into a full adult, but in two to three years, you should have another beautiful Moth Orchid to add to your collection.
Care Guide For Phalaenopsis Orchids
10 Advanced Orchids (And How To Meet Their Needs)
If you’ve had some success with the easier varieties of orchid, you may want to step up your orchid game and take on some more advanced species.
To find some of these orchids, you’ll probably need to do some investigating online to discover plant breeders in your area. Visiting these places is a real eye-opener.
But fair warning, these species are not for the faint-hearted! Keeping them content can feel like a full-time job at times, but when one of these divas decides to bloom, it will be all worthwhile.
13. Angraecum orchids
Although classic Angraecum orchids are limited to white and green colors, don’t let that put you off. Ancraecum’s produce gorgeous, magical spikes of star-shaped blooms that give off a delightful night time fragrance.
Ancraecum Veitchii is a 100-year-old hybrid that can reach over three feet tall. It’s easy to grow in warm conditions and with moderate light.
Care Guide For Angraecum Orchids
14. Bletilla orchids
Did you think there was no such thing as a hardy orchid? Not true! Bletilla orchids love colder temperatures, which makes them ideal for growing outdoors rather than on your window sill.
So long as you live in a relatively mild climate (no extremes of heat or cold), you should be able to plant Bletilla ‘bulbs’ in spring and watch them flower later in the summer. To ensure they survive the winter, cover the crowns carefully with a mulch in October.
Bletilla also make fantastic, unusual container plants. Imagine being able to surround yourself with orchids on your patio or deck!
To help container-grown Bletilla survive the winter, simply put the whole pot undercover in a greenhouse and ensure the compost does not dry out completely.
Care Guide For Bletilla Orchids
15. Bulbophyllum orchids
With so many thousands of species of orchid across the world, there are bound to be a few oddballs. The Bulbophyllum genus is home to some of these delightful weirdos!
The vast majority don’t even look like orchids, and there is a huge range in size.
One of the largest is Bulbophyllum fletcherianum, which can reach up to six feet. The plant produces large clusters of pink-red blooms, shaped like the bill of a toucan. Just be warned that the flowers smell terrible to attract flies.
Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann ‘Buckleberry’ is a stunning hybrid that looks incredible in a hanging basket display. The downward-facing flowers on thin stems resemble little pink sea creatures floating in the air.
Care Guide For Bulbophyllum Orchids
16. Coelogyne – Rag Orchid
The Coelogyne orchid usually bears large white blooms with lovely, ruffled petals and sepals that flop in a relaxed manner. The large lip is usually marked with a splash of yellow or orange.
Coelogyne is a lover of cool conditions and most species are best suited to live in a greenhouse. If you really want to try one in your home, opt for Coelogyne cristata.
Care Guide For Coelogyne Orchids
17. Laelia – Corsage Orchid or Star Orchid
Laelia orchids have similar care needs to Cattleya orchids, and they are, in fact, closely related. They tend to be a little smaller but are available in some beautiful bright colors.
Laelia Santa Barbara Sunset is one to watch out for. It sports dreamy, pinky-peach petals and sepals and a bright yellow lip edged in hot pink. A real attention-grabbing orchid!
Care Guide For Laelia Orchids
18. Masdevallia – Kite Orchid
As the name suggests, Masdevallia orchids have triangular, kite-shaped sepals, and usually one or more sepals with a thin tail that resembles the kite-line.
If you want to try growing them at home, opt for the easier hybrids and make sure you place them in a cooler part of the house.
Masdevallia glandulosa is a lovely Kite Orchid which possesses a spicy-sweet fragrance. It’s a small and compact orchid that produces dainty pink, spotted blooms.
Care Guide For Masdevallia Orchids
19. Pleione – Indian Crocus
Though small in stature, this dwarf orchid puts on a lovely display of large, Cattleya-like blooms. Colors are often soft pinks, mauve or white and the petals and sepals are dainty and narrow.
Finding the right spot for your Pleione will be tricky. They need cool conditions but placing them outside is a big risk.
An unheated greenhouse or perhaps an unheated room in your home may suit them best.
Care Guide For Pleione Orchids
20. Stanhopea orchids
The ultimate orchid for a hanging basket, Stanhopeas produce downward growing flower spikes that bear unique and fragrant blooms.
Sadly they only last a few days each, but flowers open in succession so the display itself can last over a few weeks.
Care Guide For Stanhopea Orchids
21. Vanda orchids
For more experience growers only! Vanda orchids are well suited to their native tropical conditions.
If you want them to do well in your home, you’ll have to mimic the warmth, brightness, and moist air of the tropics or they will sulk.
Once you have met their needs your Vande orchid will provide you with a cluster of neat, flat-faced flowers on upright spikes.
Care Guide For Vanda Orchids
22. Zygopetalum orchids
Although a small genus, with only 15 species, Zygopetalum hybrids are numerous. The big waxy blooms are usually green and brown with a delicate, velvety lip in shades of purple or Fuschia.
Zygopetalum orchids are well known for their divine, hyacinth like fragrance, which can easily fill a room!
Try Zygopetalum Blackii if you would like to try a more straightforward hybrid example of this genus. Its stunning blooms last for up to three months.
Care Guide For Zygopetalum Orchids
So have we inspired you to start expanding your orchid collection with strange and interesting varieties?
If you are struggling to locate some of the orchids listed above, take a look at an online breeder directory such as OrchidWire.com, where you can search by genus for vendors.
If you can find Orchid breeders in your home area we would totally recommend going along to check out all the unusual and stunning orchids they grow in person. You can also tap the experts for some valuable knowledge on how best to look after some of the fussier varieties.
Good luck with your orchid collection!
Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.