Orchids come in all sizes and colors, making them a favorite at home and at NYBG. This year our horticulturists put together Spotlight on Orchids, a display of some of our favorite orchids from our world-renowned collection—which includes over 2,000 varieties. Explore orchid care tips and videos and learn more about the diverse world of orchids from home.
Orchid Care Tips
Where to purchase
Plant nurseries tend to have a wider variety, and the orchids are generally in better condition than those found at big box stores.
Getting the orchid home
Orchids are sensitive to changes in temperature. If it is a cold day, request the that vendor wrap the plant for your trip home, or keep the orchid in a bag.
The orchid needs time to adjust to its new environment. Establish a regular watering routine, keep it away from other plants for three weeks, and check regularly for signs of pests or disease.
Watering starts with the right pot
Orchids need water, but it is easy to overwater if you’re not careful. Make sure your plant’s pot has good drainage.
Orchids love humidity
This can be achieved at home through misting the leaves, setting up a humidifier near the plant, or placing its pot atop a tray of pebbles in water.
The amount of water an orchid needs depends on the type of orchid and the potting medium. Here is a good place to start.
Orchids should be repotted every one to two years. Look for roots growing out of the pot, or potting medium that is compacted or rotting.
Wait until after the orchid has finished flowering, otherwise the flowers will wilt and fall off from the shock of repotting.
Keep it clean. Orchids are at their most vulnerable when being repotted. Before starting, soak the new potting medium and thoroughly clean all tools and pots.
How to Repot an Orchid
Learn the simple steps to keeping your own orchid thriving at home.
Orchids are one of the largest and most highly evolved flowering plant families. An estimated 30,000 wild species grow worldwide in habitats ranging from rain forest to desert. Orchid breeders have augmented this remarkable natural diversity by hybridizing and naming more than 100,000 horticultural varieties.
#NYBGFacts: Vanilla Orchid
Did you know vanilla comes from an orchid? Check out this video to learn more about this amazing flower.
The New York Botanical Garden maintains the highest horticultural standards of orchid conservation, working tirelessly to ensure the preservation of the Orchidaceae family—one of the most varied in the plant kingdom.
In spite of strict international regulations, many wild orchids today are under severe threat of extinction from over-collection, poaching, and destruction of their native habitats. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is an agreement between governments to ensure that international trade of wild plant and animal specimens (and products made from them) does not threaten their survival.
In accordance with this agreement, all such shipments must be properly documented. In the case of live plants, it must be shown that the plants have been bred in cultivation and not taken directly from the wild, thus potentially harming rare species. Improperly documented shipments are seized at international borders and sent to Plant Rescue Centers (PRC), which have proper facilities to care for them. As a designated PRC since 1990, The New York Botanical Garden has received and tended thousands of plants through this program.
Orchidelirium: The Hand Lens
Explore our virtual herbarium—a repository of dried examples of plant species from around the world—and read about our favorite orchids.
These “dancing” orchids are all in the genus Oncidium.
No Leaves, No Problem
Not all plants have leaves, and many leafless plants are orchids.
New York Orchids
Orchids can be found all around world, even right here in New York.
History of Vanilla
Edmond Albius, a 12-year-old enslaved Black boy from the island of Réunion, was the first to discover how to hand-pollinate the vanilla orchid—the source of one of the world’s most treasured flavors.