Orchids have a reputation for being difficult or fussy plants, particularly when you want to get them to reflower. But like any plant, not all species have that reputation deserved.
Several genera are not tough for beginners to manage, with care no more complex than any other potted plant you may have experience growing. Some basic requirements are enough to keep them happy, with a resilience that makes up for common beginner mistakes.
If you’re scared of orchids, I’m here to tell you there is no reason to be. Try one of these ten types to start, slowly expanding your horizons as you gain more experience.
Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, excel as beginner-friendly plants with adaptability and low maintenance.
Commonly known as the moth orchid, Phalaenopsis is the quintessential orchid for beginners. You’ll find these everywhere, from gift shops to grocery stores. It has broad, glossy leaves with long flowering stems that make the intricate flowers really stand out.
Beyond their stunning looks, there is a reason Phalaenopsis are the go-to orchid for beginners – an incredible adaptability that makes them forgiving for growers new to orchids.
Unlike some of their more temperamental relatives, Phalaenopsis are not as fussy about their environment, making them perfect for those just starting. This is also one of the reasons why they are often given as gifts (along with their long blooming time).
Phalaenopsis prefers a warm spot with indirect, ideal for keeping indoors. As epiphytes, these orchids love a bit of air around their roots and need a well-draining container with a bark-based planting mix. Overwatering is a common mistake for beginners, so when in doubt, it’s better to underwater than overwater.
Cattleyas originate from Central and South America and are resilient and elegant orchids suitable for indoor cultivation.
Originating from the warm forests of Central and South America, Cattleyas are also great candidates for growing indoors or outdoors in warmer climates. Although they aren’t as ubiquitous as moth orchids, they are quite easy to find and equally as easy to grow.
Cattleyas have thick leathery leaves that store water, helping them manage mistakes from forgetful waterers well. They also sport prominent pseudobulbs, unlike Phalaenopsis, and store water and nutrients as reserves in times of need.
Despite their exotic and intricate appearance, Cattleyas are surprisingly adaptable. They are more tolerant of varying light conditions than many other orchids, tolerating some direct sun but preferring bright indirect light for most of the day.
When caring for your Cattleya, it’s important to avoid waterlogging. Allowing the potting medium to dry out will simulate the natural rain cycles they experience in their native habitat and prevent fungal problems like root rot.
These orchids offer diverse, low-maintenance options for beginners, showcasing vibrant blooms and adaptability indoors.
Dendrobium is a diverse genus that offers versatility for beginners looking for something a little different.
The star-shaped blooms range from delicate pastels to bright and eye-catching hues. With just under 2,000 species and many more cultivars, you could keep a whole collection of Dendrobiums and never get bored.
These orchids are not overly demanding about their environment, meaning fewer potential mistakes if you’ve never grown orchids before. They can handle a range of temperatures, adapting well to growing indoors and out. And with their intricate look, you’ll look like an orchid expert for keeping these beauties happy.
Like the previous ones, these orchids also enjoy bright, indirect light throughout the day. Too much direct sunlight can damage their leaves, while too little light may prevent them from blooming. Dendrobiums also enjoy a bit more humidity than some other orchids, helped by a pebble tray or humidifier indoors in dry areas.
This family of orchids is adaptable in various conditions and has stunning, colorful blooms.
Cymbidium orchids know how to steal the show with long flower spikes in a wide range of bright and vivid colors. Despite this complex look, they are not difficult plants to grow, joining the list of adaptable orchids for newbies.
Cymbidiums can withstand less-than-ideal conditions that might challenge other, more delicate orchids. They can tolerate lower temperatures well, thanks to their cooler native environments, and don’t mind if you miss a watering or two.
This hardiness makes them less intimidating for novice growers and provides more leeway as you get accustomed to orchid care. Their ability to bloom in cooler temperatures can also provide stunning floral displays where other tropical orchids might not.
This preference for cooler weather impacts care – they need cooler temperatures (especially at night) to flower successfully. But beyond that, they are just as easy to grow as the previous entries. A balanced orchid fertilizer and ample bright light during the growing season will help them grow to their full potential.
This species thrives indoors with manageable care, requiring consistent moisture and airflow for optimal growth.
Oncidium have smaller flowers than some other orchids but stand out with their numbers and bright colors. They are commonly known as dancing lady orchids, with more than 300 species in the genus.
While they require a bit more attention than some of the other beginner orchids to thrive, their care is still manageable and can be a rewarding challenge for newbies. They grow best in bright indirect light and warm temperatures, conditions often found in our homes that make them suitable houseplants.
These orchids enjoy consistent moisture but plenty of airflow around the roots. Maintain a consistent watering schedule by checking the potting medium regularly, but avoid waterlogging as root rot remains a risk. They also appreciate higher humidity, so consider placing them in a higher-humidity room in your home or near a humidifier.
Since they appreciate a little more moisture, airflow is essential to avoid problems with fungal disease. Avoid overcrowding and keep them in the path of a very light breeze indoors to limit your risk.
Ideal houseplants with striking foliage, they’re low-maintenance and rewarding for beginners.
Paphiopedilums are commonly known as slipper orchids after the unique shape of the flowers. The shape is not the only unique part of the blooms either – they also sport rich colors and intricate patterns that look far more complex than some of the other types on this list.
When not in flower, the foliage also adds ornamental interest. The leaves are often mottled like the flowers, adding a unique look to orchid or houseplant collections indoors. Another reason they make ideal houseplants is their ability to flower in slightly lower light, tolerating positions a little further from bright windows inside your home.
They are also less demanding of humidity and optimal temperature and happy in most indoor home conditions throughout the year. This lower maintenance requirement, combined with their stunning and unusual flowers, makes Paphiopedilums a rewarding and manageable option for first-time orchid growers looking to add something unique to their collection.
As these orchids prefer moderate light, avoid placing them in harsh, direct sun, even indoors. Also, avoid low-light areas (like rooms with only north-facing or no windows) if you want to promote flowering.
Unlike typical orchids, its modest flowers take a back seat to the year-round allure of its exceptional leaves.
Unlike most orchids, the exciting part of growing Ludisia is not because of its flowers but rather its stunning foliage. The leaves have a velvety texture and unique deep green color, striped with gold and red. The main species (previously thought to be the only species in the genus) is Ludisia dicolor, also known as the Jewel orchid.
Although part of the orchid family, this plant isn’t quite what you would expect. The flowers are pretty but don’t have as much interest as the foliage, providing year-round appeal. In this way, they are treated more as a tropical foliage houseplant than an orchid, with the flowers an extra benefit rather than the star of the show.
Like Paphiopedilums, Ludisia thrives in lower light conditions than most other orchids. If you’re happy to enjoy them for their foliage only and not their flowers, they are one of the few that can survive in moderate to low light indoors. This adaptability eases the challenge of finding the ‘perfect spot’ for orchid growth inside your home.
Their care routine is relatively simple, allowing beginners to enjoy the beauty of orchids without the stress of complex care requirements. As terrestrial orchids, these grow well in airy soil mixes like those made for tropical houseplants. Water when the soil starts to dry out and increase the ambient humidity to keep the leaves looking lush.
Bulbophyllums, with alien-like flowers, comprise one of the largest orchid genera.
Bulbophyllums are a little more unconventional, with flowers that look almost alien-like in structure. It is one of the largest genera in the orchid family, with over 2,000 species, each with its own unique characteristics.
The draw of these orchids is their unusually shaped flowers that look completely unlike any other orchids that beginners typically grow. They come in various forms and colors, often with intricate patterns and textures.
Despite their exotic appearance, many Bulbophyllum species are great orchids for beginners. They are generally adaptable to many indoor conditions and can be quite forgiving, particularly the more resilient species. Their captivating appearance also offers a rewarding experience for beginners exploring beyond the more common orchid varieties.
Bulbophyllum prefers consistent humidity and moderate to bright indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as this can damage their delicate flowers and leaves. Since most species are epiphytes or lithophytes, a well-draining orchid mix is essential to prevent root rot and promote airflow.
These require consistent moisture and cooler night temperatures for optimal blooming.
Miltonia are known as pansy orchids after their cheerful pansy-shaped flowers. Each flower has vivid colors and eye-catching patterns, making the entire plant look almost unreal. Many feature a blend of pink and purple and a distinctive lip, with a touch of white for contrast, to add a pop of color to indoor gardens and greenhouses.
These orchids are well-suited to indoor environments, thriving under the same conditions we enjoy in our homes. As long as they are placed in bright indirect light and out of the path of direct sun, they will flower without much effort from beginners.
Miltonia grows best with consistent moisture, ensuring the potting medium is damp but not soggy. Overwatering can quickly kill off the roots and, by extension, the entire plant, so ensure you plant in a container with adequate drainage.
Regarding temperature, Miltonia appreciates cooler dips at night, which can help trigger blooming. Keep that in mind during the flowering season, moving them to a cooler room if needed or keeping them away from any heating appliances.
Vibrantly colored epidendrums bloom year-round.
Epidendrums are most appreciated for their ability to bloom almost the entire year, ideal for adding color and floral beauty to indoor spaces. These flowers are available in many vivid colors depending on the species. Look for orange blooms for extra warmth indoors or delicate pink options for more muted interiors.
Blooming time is not all they have going for them. These orchids can withstand an impressive range of environmental conditions, suitable for beginners not versed in manipulating environments and choosing the perfect spot for growth.
They can adapt to varied light conditions, from moderate indoor light to more intense outdoor sun (depending on your chosen species of over a thousand). They are tolerant of light changes and temperature, too – a forgiving characteristic for newbies.
Regular watering will keep their long stems and lush leaves healthy. But it’s important to let the potting mix dry out a bit between waterings to prevent root rot, especially if your chosen species is epiphytic.
Orchids may look intricate and difficult to manage. However, if you choose a beginner-friendly species and follow some basic care guidelines, you’ll become an orchid expert in no time.