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There are over 30,000 species of orchids and at least that many additional hybrids, but only certain ones will grow well in the home. Let's look at few of the best prospects.
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Cattleyas are the type most people identify as orchids. The colors of their flowers cover nearly the whole spectrum. Many of them have delightful fragrances as well.
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Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchids are probably the most popular orchids because of their beauty and ease of culture. Their blossoms are frequently used in bridal bouquets.
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Lady's Slipper Orchids or Paphiopedilums are noted for their long lasting, waxy flowers and striking foliage. Their compact habit makes them perfect for the light garden.
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Most Oncidiums have large sprays of bright, long-lasting blossoms. There are thousands of different Oncidium hybrids available, many of which are suitable for the home gardener.
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Cymbidium blossoms can last two or three months, which is one of the reasons that they are so popular for corsages and as potted plants. For most home gardeners the miniature varieties are the better choice since the standard plants get very large.
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Vandas and Ascocendas are most frequently grown in greenhouses or outdoors in southern climates where there is plenty of light. Some of the smaller Ascocendas will do well in a sunny south window.
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Dendrobium is a huge orchid genus that contains many species that are suitable for home gardening. One of the easiest and most popular is Dendrobium phalaenopsis.