Essential Information on Orchid Types

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You might be asking yourself, "With all of the orchids available how do I know which one will be the right type for me?" Well, there is a simple answer to this question.
You see, there are, in fact, only two orchid types: terrestrial orchids and epiphytic orchids.
When we talk about orchid types, we are actually referring to the root system.
Terrestrial orchids, as their name implies, harbor their roots in the ground, while epiphytic orchids have their roots above ground-they are typically seen on trees, poles, or rocks.
There are many different genera, species and hybrid species that can be divided out from the orchid types classification.
There are currently over 800 known genera of orchids, with over 25,000 known species.
In addition to this, orchids have been regularly hybridized and there are over 100,000 hybrid orchids around the world today.
With so many orchids available it can be overwhelming to know where to begin, but the first thing you need to decide is which type of orchid you'd like to grow: terrestrial or epiphytic.
Some of the best loved and easy to grow orchids are terrestrial orchids.
Probably the most popular of this orchid type are the eye-catching Cymbidium orchids.
This genus is comprised of 52 species and countless hybrids.
The popularity of these orchids has to do with their beauty, colors, fragrance and easiness to grow and care for.
Additionaly, they bloom more frequently and longer than many other orchids.
One of the most magnificent of these plants is the Cascading Cymbidium.
These beautiful plants most commonly bloom tiny pink or white flowers that flow downward off of the orchid delivering the cascade effect.
If you're looking for a show-stopping orchid, then this is the ticket.
Terrestrial orchids have two ways of storing water that are important to be aware of.
Some terrestrial orchids store water underground in their tuber structure.
Others store them in their pseudo-bulbs.
It is easy to tell when the later have sufficient water storage because the pseudo-bulbs are plump and full.
Epiphytic orchids are probably the most popular and have the most well known species of orchids.
In fact, I can almost guarantee you're familiarity with at least one epiphytic genus.
Do you enjoy vanilla? Do you use it for baking? Well, vanilla is actually a genus of orchids that are found in the tropical climates of the Americas, Asia, Pacific Islands and West Africa.
Now, I don't recommend growing these at home as they take up a lot of vertical space (at least ten feet!), so lets take a look at some of the popular and practical orchids that you can grow in your home.
If you've been to a wedding recently you've probably seen a Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid, integrated into the wedding ceremonies.
These stunning epiphytes have bold palettes of yellow, pink, white and even stripes.
They are relatively easy to care for and can have long lasting blooms when looked after properly.
They love the sunlight and heat, which is another part of their appeal for wedding ceremonies, because they don't easily wilt throughout the day.
If choosing an epiphytic type it is important to remember that because they are above ground that their nutrient, air and water requirements are received in a different way.
In general, epiphytic orchids need proper drainage to allow water to flow through them and air to circulate freely around the roots.
You'll want to pot your epiphytic orchids in potting bark, a bark/charcoal mix, or New Zealand sphagnum moss, depending on your specific species.
These potting media will allow proper drainage and circulation.
Epiphytic orchids store water in their spongy root structure, which commonly turns green when it is full of water.
The color gradually becomes paler as it uses up its water reserves.
Filtered light with good air circulation will go a long way to promote health for many of the epiphytic orchid types.
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