HomeArtsyTwo Types of Orchids: Terrestrial and Epiphytic Orchids

Two Types of Orchids: Terrestrial and Epiphytic Orchids

Orchids are a popular house plant with over thousands of species in existence. Surprisingly, there are basically only two types of orchids, the terrestrial and the epiphytic. Each species can be classified between the two.

The main difference between these two types is where they grow. Terrestrial orchids grow in the soil on the ground, while epiphytic orchids grow on structures like trees, rocks and poles.

Many people think of orchids as showy plants that are grown in pots or inside a greenhouse, but did you know that they can also be grown in your garden, on the ground? Terrestrial orchids flourish growing in the soil, preferring their roots to be planted firmly on the earth.

Over 200 species of orchids are included among terrestrials, and many of them grow wild in the tropical areas in America. Though most orchids prefer hot, humid climates, many terrestrials actually thrive in cold weathers. Some even need the sub-freezing temperature to bloom properly. Similar to other bulb plants, these orchids become dormant during the winter before blooming again during spring.

Some terrestrial orchids can actually grow both in the soil and on structures, and these are called semi-terrestrials. A well-known orchid that is semi-terrestrial in nature is the Cymbidium. It is native to Southeast Asia, Japan and even Australia. Cymbidiums are popular among home gardeners because they are easy to grow and provide beautiful, fragrant flowers.

Typically, the orchids that people grow at home on a pot are epiphytic orchids. To properly care for this type of orchid, you need to understand how they grow naturally. Generally, these orchids grow in between tree branches where organic matter accumulates. This is where they get their nutrients to thrive properly.

To grow epiphytic orchids at home, you need to have a pot with drainage holes as well as a potting mixture that drains well. These plants need circulating air and good water drainage to flourish.

Some examples of epiphytic orchids that can be grown well in a pot include the Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, Oncidium and Vanda. All of these prefer a warm, humid climate and enjoy both the sun and shade.

Both types of orchids are similar in the fact that they grow beautiful flowers in a rainbow of colors, have wonderful fragrances, and exist in a great variety of sizes and shapes. This makes orchids an interestingly unique flower that you can grow at home and enjoy for years to come.

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