Guest Author - Haidy Ear-Dupuy
Some of the easiest orchids to grow include the genus phalaenopsis, dendrobium and the oncidium. I’ve had the joy of growing them all in my front yard while living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The phalaenopsis the common type that can be found in grocery stores, hardware stores and flower shops. They have large oval leaves that are fan out like a very flat letter V. As they grow, new leaves appeared from the center of the plant. The flowers are white, purple or some combination of the two colors either with stripes of spots. Because the flowers can sometimes look like moth, they are also called moth orchids. They are popular in Japan, but they are originally from the Philippines. They tend to like cooler temperature than the other two that are recommended in this article. Often portrayed in Asian art, the phalaenopsis are an ideal plant to decorate an apartments or home that is not too crowded with decorated, because its presence can make a strong fashion statement when in bloom.
Dendrobium has about 1200 species with many bright colors. The plant is skinny and tall, resembling a bamboo plant. It reproduces by putting out new shoots along the stem where the leaves attached to the plant. Also a plant can sometimes produce plantlets instead of flowers if not property fertilized. The dendrobium is the orchid of choice for Thai Airway’s symbol. The deep, rich purple color of the airline attendants uniforms resemble the color of the orchids that they give out to women passengers upon arrival to their destination.
Perhaps not as common as the other two, the oncidium is a bit harder to locate. Sometimes they can be found in grocery stores but often you will have to go to orchid vendors or greenhouses to get them. Oncidiums are seudobulbs orchids that resembles the plump drumstick with long and pointy leaves sticking out from the top of the plant. When in bloom the delicate flowers all in a row can resemble little women dressed up in fanciful dresses dancing, miniature butterflies or delicate little bugs all perched in a row. They are delightful and the color ranges from yellow to brown, red and purplish. Some are even stripe flowers of brown and pink. Under proper care, the plant will reproduce more seudobulbs and before long you can divide them and make more plants from one original. While growing them in Cambodia, my oncidium reproduce faster than any of the other plants.