25 Types of Orchids to Use as Houseplants

These are the best orchid types to grow at home

White and pink phalaenopsis orchids in living room

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

There are thousands of orchids (Orchidaceae) found around the world, each more exotic than the last. But there are only two dozen or so types of orchid that are easily grown as houseplants. Once you've mastered growing and caring for these 25 types of orchids in your home, you might become so hooked on orchids that a greenhouse is in your future.

types of orchids

The Spruce / Nusha Ashjaee 

Growing Tips

  • Orchids grown as houseplants typically need quite a lot of light—either through supplemental lighting or by placing them in a location that provides enough diffused natural light. Placing your orchids near an east or south-facing window provides them with the amount of bright light they need. A north-facing window doesn't provide enough light, and a west-facing location is too hot in the afternoon.
  • Use a light, fast-draining growing medium and an unglazed terracotta pot that allows good airflow. Orchid bark is a good choice for growing medium.
  • Feed with an orchid-specific fertilizer at half strength when the plant is actively growing.

These 25 types of orchids that can be grown as houseplants are listed in alphabetical order. If you are an orchid novice, start your collection with these types of orchids: Phalaenopis, Cattleya, Denrobium, and Cymbidium.

  • 01 of 25

    Aerangis Orchids

    Aerangis orchid hanging from moss mount

    The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

    As is true of most tropical orchids, successfully growing Aerangis orchids depends on maintaining a proper balance of required elements. They need a well-aerated environment, lots of sunlight, and lots of moisture (humidity) in the air. They should be fed regularly for good bloom results.

    • Native Area: Tropical Africa, Madagascar
    • Height: 6–24 inches, varies by species
    • Sun Exposure: Part sun, bright filtered light
  • 02 of 25

    Ascocenda Orchids

    Ascocentrum flowers

    The Spruce / Gyscha Rendy

    Ascocenda orchids are a hybrid of Vanda and Ascocentrum orchids. This compact plant with it's jewel-like flowers has a single upward-growing main stem and can easily be grown indoors.

    • Native Area: Asian tropics
    • Height: Varies by species
    • Sun Exposure: Strong bright light
  • 03 of 25

    Brassavola Orchids (Brassavola spp.)

    Flower Orchid Brassavola
    User10095428_393 / Getty Images

    Brassavola orchids have white or greenish flowers with narrow petals and are exceptionally fragrant, especially in the evening when its perfume is released. The white color is indicative of many flowers that depend on moths for pollination.

    There are at least 20 species within the Brassavola genus, of which B. nodosa commonly called 'Lady of the Night' is one of the easiest to grow, especially for beginners.

    • Native Area: Central and South America, West Indies
    • Height: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright light
  • 04 of 25

    Brassia Orchids

    Brassia orchid with long spotted sepal petals closeup

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

    Commonly called the spider orchid due to the long, bizarre shapes of its sepals, which spread out like a spider’s legs, these orchids prefer conditions with extreme humidity and lots of warmth to help them flourish. Brassia blooms can be spotted, bright orange, red, or many other vivid shades.

    • Native Area: Mexico, South America
    • Height: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor lighting
    Continue to 5 of 25 below.
  • 05 of 25

    Catasetum Orchid (Catasetum spp.)

    Catasetum Orchid

     Arne and Bent Larsen​ / Wikimedia Commons / CC By 2.5

    The species within the Catasetum genus are known for their unusual waxy flowers. The plant produces male or female flowers, which bear little resemblance to each other. The male flowers have an anatomical trigger that forcefully ejects pollen onto visiting bees. This deciduous orchid loses its leaves naturally during winter dormancy.

    • Native Area: Central America and Northern South America
    • Height: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright diffused indoor light
  • 06 of 25

    Cattleya Orchid (Cattleya spp.)

    Cattleya Orchid

    DebraLee Wiseberg / Getty Images

    Cattleya orchids have been widely hybridized leading to a large variety of colors and forms. Many Cattleya orchids have appealing freckles, streaks, or other bicolor features. Some varieties are quite fragrant, and they are the most popular corsage orchid.

    • Native Area: Central and South America
    • Height: 3 inches to 2 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor light
  • 07 of 25

    Cymbidium Orchid (Cymbidium spp.)

    closeup of cymbidium orchid

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Cymbidium orchids, commonly known as boat orchids, have multiple flower spikes to ensure a satisfying display. Good choices for beginners include the lime green 'Chica', the yellow and red 'Showoff', or the bright pink 'Frae', all recipients of the American Orchid Society’s Highly Commended Certificate.

    • Native Area: Tropical and subtropical Asia and Australia
    • Height: 1 to 4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Bright diffused indoor light
  • 08 of 25

    Dendrobium Orchids (Dendrobium spp.)

    Dendrobium Orchid


    Goddard_Photography / Getty Images 

    The top-heavy blooms of Dendrobium orchids often require staking. With more than 2,000 species included in this large orchid genus, the Dendrobium orchids defy easy categorization. The most common varieties feature white, yellow, or purple blooms.

    • Native Area: Asia, Australia, Pacific islands
    • Height: 6 inches to 4 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright diffused indoor light

    Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for Dendrobium Orchids

    Continue to 9 of 25 below.
  • 09 of 25

    Encyclia Orchids (Encyclia spp.)

    Encyclia orchid with white flowers with purple stripes near large leaves

    The Spruce / Heidi Kolsky

    Encyclia orchids, also called cockleshell orchids, thrive when planted on an orchid mount to simulate the epiphytic growing conditions of the wild. Some horticulturists say this orchid looks like an octopus because of its dangling petals and sepals. Although not fragrant, it can bloom for several consecutive months.

    • Native Area: Florida, Mexico, Caribbean
    • Height: 3 inches to 2 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright diffused indoor light
  • 10 of 25

    Epidendrum Orchids (Epidendrum spp.)

    Epidendrum Orchid

    Praiwun / Getty Images

    The Epidendrum genus is large, containing more than 1,000 pure species and many more hybrids. The flowers are petite, and the plants need very bright light to bloom and thrive. Epidendrum orchids usually need supplemental grow lights when grown indoors.

    • Native Area: Tropical and subtropical North and South America
    • Height: 6 inches to 6 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright diffused indoor light; supplemental artificial light is often required
  • 11 of 25

    Laelia Orchids

    Laelia orchids with yellow and pink and white striped flowers closeup

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The Laelia genus is one of the workhorses of the orchid world and is often crossed with other species. A Laelia orchid typically blooms in the autumn or winter after their growing period stops. The two most common species, L. rubescens and L. anceps feature inflorescence ranging between one and three feet, and the flowers are usually white or pale lavender.

    • Native Area: North and South America
    • Height: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor lighting
  • 12 of 25

    Ludisia Orchids (Ludisia discolor)

    Ludisia Orchid


    Carmen Hauser / Getty Images

    Growing the ​Ludisia orchid, commonly known as the jewel orchid, is rewarding in that the plants look attractive in or out of bloom. The plants bear many stems of tiny white flowers once a year and its velvety dark green leaves are equally attractive. This is a rare orchid genus that contains only one species and is often difficult to find, but when you do, it is quite easy to grow.

    • Native Area: Southern and Southeast Asia
    • Height: 3 to 18 inches
    • Sun Exposure: Bright diffused indoor light
    Continue to 13 of 25 below.
  • 13 of 25

    Miltonia Orchids (Miltonia spp.)

    Miltonia Orchid


    Nakano Masahiro/amanaimagesRF / Getty Images

    It is easy to see how the pansy orchid got its nickname. The blossoms have the same face-like features that give our favorite cool-weather annual so much personality. However, unlike pansies, the Miltonia orchids continue blooming from late spring into summer. There are 12 twelve epiphytic species within this genus as well as several naturally-occurring hybrids.

    • Native Area: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica
    • Height: 12 to 20 inches
    • Sun Exposure: Bright diffused indoor light
  • 14 of 25

    Phalaenopsis Orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.)

    Phalaenopsis Orchid


    borchee / Getty Images 

    Commonly known as moth orchids, the species in the Phalaenopsis genus are ideal orchids for beginners. They tolerate clumsy repotting efforts, bloom on and off throughout the year, and are easy to propagate via keikis, the child plantlets that develop from a mature plant. There are about 75 recognized species within the genus and many dozens of readily-available cultivars in nearly every color of the rainbow.

    • Native Area: India, China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and Australia 
    • Height: 1 to 3 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Indirect indoor light or a shady outdoor location in its hardiness zone
  • 15 of 25

    Phaius Orchids (Phaius spp.)

    Phaius orchids with light pink petals surrounding deep pink tubular petal closeup

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    If you have a Phaius orchid in your collection, you will quickly find out that these four-foot-tall specimens do not belong on a windowsill. The leaves are large and strappy, and the many flower spikes produce purple, white, or yellow flowers. This winter bloomer also goes by the common name nun’s cap orchid. There are about 45 species within this genus; the one most commonly grown is Phaius tancarvilleae commonly known as the nun’s orchid.

    • Native Area: Tropical Africa, Asia, Australia, and Pacific islands
    • Height: 1 to 4 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor light
  • 16 of 25

    Phragmipedium Orchids (Phragmipedium spp.)

    Phragmipedium orchids with central green ouch surrounded by long yellow and red petals

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    If you cannot stop yourself from watering your orchids to death, Phragmipedium is the type of orchid for you. It is different from other orchids in that it thrives in wet conditions, even preferring wet feet. You can recognize these flowers by the little pouch flanked by Fu Manchu mustache petals. There are about 20 recognized species within this genus.

    • Native Area: Southwest Mexico, tropical Central, and South America
    • Height: Up to 3 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor light
    Continue to 17 of 25 below.
  • 17 of 25

    Psychopsis Orchids (Psychopsis spp.)

    Psychopsis Orchid


    danielzgombic / Getty Images 

    Psychopsis, butterfly orchids, should be more popular than they are. They are easy to grow and have fascinating flowers with burgundy and green speckled foliage. Grow these in moderate light for months of blooms. They have a good tolerance for a wide temperature range. This is a relatively small genus, with only five recognized species.

    • Native Area: Central and South America, Trinidad
    • Height: 12-16 inches
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indirect light
  • 18 of 25

    Oncidium Orchids (Oncidium spp.)

    closeup of oncidium orchids

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    If your orchid resembles a dancing lady, chances are you are growing a Oncidium orchid. Oncidium 'Sharry Baby' is sometimes called the chocolate orchid for its sprays of brownish flowers with a rich cocoa scent. There are more than 300 species in this genus, most of which are epiphytic, growing on the surface of other plants and absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air.

    • Native Area: Mexico, Central and South America, West Indies 
    • Height: 6 inches to 10 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indirect light
  • 19 of 25

    Rhynchostylis Orchid

    Beautiful purple orchid flower, Rhynchostylis gigantea orchids are planted and bloomed in the garden. soft focus

    pongvit/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

    Not an orchid for beginners, Rhynchostylis orchids require care and attention to thrive because they can be damaged by many different factors. Too much sunlight can cause leaf-tip burn or discolorations, while poor drainage in their containers can damage the roots. Their visual appeal when hanging in an orchid basket is worth the effort.

    • Native Area: Southeast Asia
    • Height: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright filtered light
  • 20 of 25

    Schomburgkia Orchid

    Front view of a blossoming schomburgkia orchid

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Schomburgkia orchids are large plants that thrive in hot, tropical conditions. As they mature they become quite impressive in size—some of these plants grow up to five feet tall, bearing up to 15 flowers.

    • Native Area: Mexico, South America
    • Height: 5 to 60 inches, varies by species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright light
    Continue to 21 of 25 below.
  • 21 of 25

    Spathoglottis Orchid

    Spathoglottis Plicata orchid
    Bkkweekender / Getty Images

    Spathoglottis is a genus of about 40 orchids colloquially known as garden orchids. Spathoglottis is an easy introduction to the world of orchid cultivation for beginners.

    • Native Area: Southeast Asia, India
    • Height: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright light (but some species can grow in sun)
  • 22 of 25

    Trichocentrum Orchid

    Trichocentrum orchids with bright yellow lips clustered on long stem

    The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

    Considered by orchid aficionados to be among the most beautiful of all orchid species, Trichocentrums orchids, also known as mule ear orchids, are epiphytes with quite large leaves—up to 24 inches long. T. undulatum, common to South Florida, grows yellow flowers, and T. tigrinum is perhaps the most beautiful species in the genus; its flowers are quite large and mixed purple and white. This is also one of the easier species in the genus to cultivate. 

    • Native Area: Southern North America, South America
    • Height: Depends on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor light
  • 23 of 25

    Vanda Orchid

    Vanda Orchid

     Nisoh Salaeh / Getty Images

    The Vanda genus includes about 80 recognized species known for their showy, fragrant, long-lasting flowers. You will often see them growing in orchid baskets; otherwise, you must use a very chunky growing medium for these plants. These orchids are picky about their environment and demand high light and humidity.

    • Native Area: East and Southeast Asia
    • Height: 1 to 3 feet, depending on the species
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor light
  • 24 of 25

    Vanilla Orchid

    Vanilla bean orchid with long yellow flowers and large leaves

    The Spruce /Phoebe Cheong

    The vanilla orchid (V. planifolia) produces seed pods that are the source of natural vanilla flavoring used widely in desserts and beverages. Growing this vining orchid requires carefully controlled conditions and must be pollinated by hand in order to produce seeds. This plant likes high humidity and moisture, does not like to dry out, and requires regular fertilizing. It is a high-maintenance plant that is not an easy option for beginners to grow but is beautiful when you succeed.

    • Native Area: North America, Caribbean, Central America
    • Height: 8-10 ft. long 
    • Sun Exposure: Bright indoor light
    Continue to 25 of 25 below.
  • 25 of 25

    Zygopetalum Orchid

    Zygopetalum Orchid


    pisces2386 / Getty Images 

    Healthy Zygopetalum  (Zygopetalum spp.) orchids produce fragrant blooms ranging from chocolaty to spicy and peppery to floral almost constantly from fall to spring. With proper care, these sturdy orchids will bloom up to four times a year for a period lasting three to four weeks.

    Flowers are two to four inches in size in shades of purple, burgundy, green, and white with spotted and patterned petals and lips. Some hybrids will produce flowers with shades of blue, a color considered rare for orchids.

    • Native Area: South America (mainly Brazil)
    • Height: Up to 2 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Bright diffused indoor light
  • Which type of orchid is the best for houseplant beginners?

    A beginning orchid grower should start with a Phalaenopsis orchid also known as a moth orchid. It prefers low light, temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity above 50%. The flowers can be white, purple, pink, salmon, or yellow. Water mature plants weekly and feed after watering at quarter to half strength of the recommended rate.

  • How do I know what type of orchid I have?

    If your plant doesn't have a tag, look at the shape, color, patterns, and size of the bloom. Because most orchid blooms come in a wide range of colors, you cannot identify an orchid solely by the color or size of the flower. If the orchid is not in bloom, it is much more difficult to identify it. If you need assistance to determine what type of orchid you have, see the orchid plant descriptions published by the American Orchid Society.

  • What are the most common types of orchids?

    If you purchase your first orchid at a home and garden center, the selection is usually limited to Phalaenopis (moth orchid), Cattleya, Paphiopedilum, Dendrobium, and Cymbidium. All are easy-to-grow as houseplants.

  • What are the most high maintenance orchids to grow indoors?

    Wait until you have some experience before you attempt to grow the Vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia), Schomburgkia orchids, and Rhynchostylis orchids as houseplants.

Originally written by
Jamie McIntosh
Jamie McIntosh
Jamie McIntosh has written about gardening and special occasion flowers for the Spruce since 2011. She has more than 20 years of experience caring for flowers and plants. She was a feature writer for Organic Gardening at Suite101, where she won awards for her writing.
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  1. Phaius. American Orchid Society

  2. Phragmipedium. American Orchid Society

  3. Top 10 Orchids for the Home. Missouri Botanical Garden