Orchids have a very undeserved reputation for being difficult. If you choose the right ones and know some important tips, however, they will not only be easy, but addictive!
Orchids for Beginners
Orchid plant care should not be difficult. There are an overwhelming number of different orchids, so it is important to choose wisely. Want to know what orchids are easy to grow? Here are 5 to get you started. These orchids for beginners are great for newbies, or even seasoned gardeners trying their hand at something new.
Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are the obvious choice and for good reason. My own orchid obsession started with these plants. They are widely available, can bloom for months, and are among the lower light orchids.
Most of my Phalaenopsis are sitting in front of eastern exposure windows and will grow new flower spikes about once a year. They can also rebloom off the old spikes. They like bright indirect light, and a little sun is okay, especially morning sun.
Be careful not to let the bark or moss they grow in dry out completely. Use your finger to test the dryness, and then water. I let approximately the top half of the pot dry out before taking them to the sink and thoroughly soaking the potting medium. For my orchids growing in bark, it tends to be about once a week. For those growing in sphagnum moss, it can go much longer.
If you have any stubborn Phalaenopsis that won’t bloom, give them a period of a couple weeks or so of nighttime temperatures around 50 F. (10 C.). This will often do the trick.
Also called Lady Slipper orchids, due to the unusual pouches that the flowers produce, these like to grow in the same conditions that Phalaenopsis like. If you have been successful with Phalaenopsis, these are a good orchid to try next. They also have the bonus of having beautiful mottled leaves.
Although these produce dainty white flowers, Ludisia orchids are grown mainly for their stunning dark foliage with pinkish stripes. These lower light orchids are terrestrial orchids, so these grow in ordinary potting soil versus bark mixes than many other orchids need.
Lady of the Night orchid
Brassavola nodosa is another one of my favorites. These are higher light orchids and do need some direct sunshine to bloom and do their best. These will produce intensely fragrant white flowers. Be sure to allow the bark mix to dry out before thoroughly soaking to water.
Various Cattleya orchids, particularly “mini cats,” are wonderful windowsill houseplants. The full size Cattleya orchids can often get very big. If you are short on space, try growing any of one the mini Cattleya orchids, which are actually hybrids of different orchid genera.
These are considered higher light orchids as well, so be sure to give them a few hours of direct sunshine indoors. There are a wide variety of size and colors in the flowers and many of them are also fragrant. My favorite mini Cattelya is one with orange flowers that I’ve had over 16 years.