Orchids are prized for their rare and exotic beauty. Each species boasts a unique shape and bloom. Amongst plant collectors and enthusiasts, orchids are some of the most cherished and sought-after additions. South Florida has some of the most beautiful varieties of these precious beauties, with an incredible range in its biodiversity. If you’re looking to celebrate the variety Florida has to offer, learn more about our favorite orchids.
The giant orchid commands attention with its gorgeous blooms. It is the queen of all orchids and deserves to be front and center in any garden or arrangement. They are found in the most Southern parts of the state, all the way down to Cuba. These massive beauties can grow up to over 5 feet tall, but the average size is closer to 2 feet. Their flowers come in hues of yellows, greens, and purples, often with black-brown stripes. If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of giant orchids in the wild, the best time is between the months of July – October. If you bring them into your home, you can expect peak blooming time to be in September.
Clamshell orchids have a peculiar and whimsical shape to them. The blooms, in shades of blue and purple, are like tiny, delicate clams when they open up. The soft green leaves are long and thin, giving the appearance of strange tentacles. These orchids thrive in the damp forests and swamps of Florida. If you choose to add a clamshell to your collection, make sure you can provide it with plenty of moisture and indirect light.
Florida Butterfly Orchid
Butterfly orchids have an understated but still stunning beauty. They can be found in abundance throughout most of the South, particularly on oak trees. You may also spot them on cypress, pond- apple, and pine trees. At first glance, butterfly orchids could be mistaken for a type of grass. The leaves are incredibly grass-like, and the blooms are quite delicate. Look closer, and you’ll get a glimpse of their gorgeous white blooms with a splash of pink or purple.
Fragrant Ladies’ Tresses
The fragrant ladies’ tresses blooms spiral out of the stem a bit like tightly-wound curls. The spirals unfold into small, white flowers. These orchids are aptly named as they give off a delightful fragrance, especially during the daytime. Unlike fair ladies, they prefer a swamp or marsh environment. When planting them yourself, keep the soil wet and give them plenty of space to grow. Fragrant ladies’ tresses will put on their best performance during the autumn months.
Also known as the bee swarm orchid or cigar orchid, this variety puts out stunning, large, fiery blooms and has a flair for the dramatic. The flowers are usually yellow with memorable red spots and are shaped a bit like a horn or cigar. This plant uses its sweet fragrance to attract many pollinators, which is where it got its moniker, bee swarm orchid. While this species is currently endangered in Florida, a deep appreciation and respect for it can help bring it back to being a secure species.
Orchids are prized for their rare and exotic beauty. Each species boasts a unique shape and bloom. Amongst plant collectors and enthusiasts, orchids are some of the most cherished and sought-after additions.
Dingy Flowered Star Orchid
The dingy-flowered, or big-mouth, star orchid gets its respective names from its open flowers that are often yellow but also come in hues of orange, green, and purple. It’s favored pollinators are moths, who are attracted to it because its fragrance is more akin to ripe vegetables. This orchid can send out stunning blooms at any time during the year. They can grow up to 3 feet in height in marshy and woodland areas.
South Florida has so many wonderful varieties of orchids to discover. As mentioned, be sure that the species you are searching for is not at risk of extinction. If it is, admire it from afar and snap a photo as a memento. Otherwise, we’d love to help you choose the next addition to your orchid collection, and if you’re looking for even more information about orchids in South Florida, contact us and we’ll be happy to help!