Orchid Information – A Note On The Cultural Information

The cultural information given is not in any way intended to be a definitive account of how orchids should be grown. Success with orchids, in fact with any group of plants, requires the grower to get to know their plants. Armed with basic information on how to care for your orchids, whether gleaned from books or websites, you can begin the wondrous adventure into orchid growing.

The first important step you need to take is getting to know them, not as a group, but as individuals. Check your charges daily, look at what they are doing; this may entail daily lifting of the pots and taking a close look at what is going on. Are they showing signs of slowing down? Are the roots healthy? Or is root action just starting for the spring? Only with this daily observing will you know what your plants require, or are suffering from, and this is no different whether you grow orchids, roses or African Violets.

The information I offer is based on nearly 30 years of growing orchids. Like everyone else, I started with a book and advice from other growers. As a gardener for many years on Scottish estates, I was expected to be able to grow orchids, amongst other things, so information was passed on to me by retiring head-gardeners I replaced. This information I used and modified to suit my own growing techniques and facilities, and that is the best piece of information I can pass on to you.

Orchid flowers

Read and digest the information, whether here or in books or on other websites, but modify it when needed, use it only as a guide, rearrange to suit you and your plants. As is often said about this hobby and many others, your plants don’t go to libraries, nor do they surf the web, they will always do something completely different to what you read, they are like children and animals, they have a mind of their own.

You may be wondering why I chose the group of orchids I did, to write about. Simply, they are plants that are often easy enough to buy, especially now that trading is much easier across borders, but basically, they are the plants that I either currently grow or have grown at some time over the last three decades.

Use the information offered to enhance your growing experience, or perhaps to do better with a particular plant you have been struggling with. Use a bit from here and there, and mix it with what you already know, or someone else has already told you, but more importantly, don’t get yourself bogged down in detail and remove the pleasure, enjoy your plants.



  • Ada aurantiaca : The orange-red Ada
  • Ada ocanensis : The Ada from Ocana


  • Aerangis biloba : Two-lobed, referring to the lobed leaves.
  • Aerangis citrata : Lemon-scented
  • Aerangis mystacidii : Mystacidium-like. Referring to its similarity to the genus Mystacidium.


  • Aerides falcata : Sickle shaped, probably referring to the leaves.
  • Aerides lawrenciae : Lady Lawrence’s Aerides


  • Ascocentrum miniatum : Red coloured


  • Bifrenaria tetragona : The four-angled Bifrenaria


  • Calanthe cardioglossa : Heart-shaped lip Calanthe



  • Cattleya aurantiaca : Orange Cattleya
  • Cattleya forbesii. : Forbes’ Cattleya an English orchid collector.
  • Cattleya loddigesii : Loddiges’ Cattleya. An English orchid collector and nurseryman.
  • Cattleya percivaliana : Skinners Cattleya. An English orchid trader and collector.
  • Cattleya skinneri : Skinner’s Cattleya. An English orchid trader and collector.


  • Ceratochilus biglandulosa : Having two types of glands


  • Chiloschista usenoides : Like Lichen


  • Cochleanthes amazonica : From the Amazon
  • Cochleanthes discolour


  • Coelogyne cristata : Crested
  • Coelogyne fimbriata : From the fringed lip
  • Coelogyne mooreana : Moore’s Coelogyne – 19th century director of Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.
  • Coelogyne ochracea : The ochre Coelogyne.


  • Cymbidium atropurpureum : The purple flowered Cymbidium.
  • Cymbidium finlaysonianum : Finlayson’s Cymbidium.
  • Cymbidium pubescens : Downy, short-haired.


  • Dendrobium amethystoglossum : Amethyst tongue
  • Dendrobium arcuatum : Bow-shaped or arched. Possibly referring to the shape of the canes.
  • Dendrobium dearei : Deare’s Dendrobium. An English plant collector.
  • Dendrobium draconis : Dragon
  • Dendrobium hercoglossum
  • Dendrobium heterocarpum : Different Fruit
  • Dendrobium laevifolium : Smooth leaves
  • Dendrobium linguiforme : Elongated
  • Dendrobium miyakei : Named after a Philippine orchid collector.
  • Dendrobium nobile : The showy Dendrobium.
  • Dendrobium pierardii : Pierard’s Dendrobium. An Indian Civil servant who retired to Kew.
  • Dendrobium sanderae : Named after Sander & Sons.
  • Dendrobium scheutzei : Schuetze’s Dendrobium.
  • Dendrobium sulcatum : The furrowed-lip dendrobium.
  • Dendrobium thyrsiflorum : Flowers arranged in a thyrse. (A flower cluster with a central spike).
  • Dendrobium tortile : Twisted. Refers to the twist in the sepals and petals.
  • Dendrobium victoria-reginae : named for Queen Victoria.


  • Dendrochilum convallariiforme : Like Lilly of the valley.


  • Doritis pulcherrima : Beautiful Doritis


  • Encyclia bulbosa : Bulbous.
  • Encyclia campylostalix
  • Encyclia cochleatum : From the Greek, meaning to twist or spiral. Commonly known as the cockle shell orchid.


  • Epidendrum janeirense : From Rio de Janeiro
  • Epidendrum radicans : Roots from the stem


  • Galeandra baueri : Named in honour of the Austrian botanical artist


  • Holcoglossum kimballianum : Kimball’s Holcoglossum, an American orchid grower
  • Holcoglossum subulifolium : Awl-shaped leaves


  • Kefersteinia tolimensis : The Kefersteinia from Tolima.


  • Laelia anceps
  • Laelia tenebrosa : The shade-growing Laelia.


  • Lemboglossum cordatum : Heart Shaped


  • Lycaste lasioglossa : Woolly-lipped


  • Masdevallia barleana : Barla’s Masdevallia. A Brazilian orchid collector.
  • Masdevallia caesia : The light blue Masdevallia.
  • Masdevallia coccinea : Scarlet Masdevallia.
  • Masdevallia infracta
  • Masdevallia molossus


  • Maxillaria picta : The painted Maxillaria.
  • Maxillaria tenuifolia : Slender leaved Maxillaria.


  • Neofinetia falcata : Sickle-shaped. It is also known in Japan as “The Wind Orchid”.


  • Odontoglossum crispum : Curled or wavy margins.
  • Odontoglossum crocidipterum : From Croc meaning Saffron yellow, and dipterum meaning two-winged
  • Odontoglossum harryanum : named for Harry Veitch, English orchid grower
  • Odontoglossum portilae


  • Oerstedella centradenia
  • Oerstedella pinifera


  • Oncidium batemannianum : Bateman’s Oncidium. An English orchid grower
  • Oncidium bolivianum : From the Bolivian Oncidium
  • Oncidium cariniferum : Carina – keeled and ferum – bearing; the keeled Oncidium.
  • Oncidium croesus
  • Oncidium flexuosum : Winding. Referring to the winding, arching inflorescence.
  • Oncidium forbesii : Named in honour of Mr Forbes, orchid grower to the Duke of Bedford in the 19th century.
  • Oncidium hookeri
  • Oncidium ornithorynchum : Bird’s beak.


  • Paphiopedilum bellatulum : Pretty Paphiopedilum.


  • Phalaenopsis aphrodite : Aphrodite’s Phalaenopsis
  • Phalaenopsis schilleriana : Schiller’s Phalaenopsis, a German Orchid Enthusiast.


  • Phragmipedium longifolium : Long leaves.
  • Phragmipedium pearcei : Named for Mr Pearce a 19th century orchid grower.


  • Pleione formosana : From Formosa.


  • Pleurothallis hemirhoda : From the Greek, hemi meaning half, and rhoda meaning rose-colored.


  • Promenaea xanthina : The yellow Promenaea.


  • Rossioglossum splendens : Splendid flowered.
  • Rossioglossum williamsianum : Named after Williams, a 19th century orchid nurseryman.


  • Sophronitis coccinea : The scarlet Sophronitis.


  • Vanda coerulea : Blue coloured Vanda.
  • Vanda denisoniana : Named for Lady Denison an orchid enthusiast.


  • Warmingia eugenii : Named for Eugenius Warming.


About the Author

With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...

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