Many different types of orchids can be found growing in Florida. Each one has its own unique appearance and growing requirements. Some of the most common Florida native orchids include the butterfly orchid and the Florida ghost orchid. Let’s look at some of the most beautiful species of orchids native to Florida.
Florida Native Orchids
Florida is home to approximately 90 species of orchids, many of them native to the state. Many of the tropical orchids belong to the Cymbidieae family and naturally grow in tropical and subtropical regions.
Orchids are either terrestrial, which means that they grow from the ground. Or they can climb a tree and live off other plants. These are known as epiphytic orchids, and they can grow very tall and live amongst the forest canopy.
The following eye-catching Florida native orchids:
Butterfly Orchid (Encyclia tampensis)
The butterfly orchid is part of the Orchidaceae family and is found growing across Florida. It has a very unique appearance and beautiful orange to yellow flowers with darker tips of petals. It’s an epiphytic orchid that can often be found growing near waterways and most commonly grows up oak, red maple, bald cypress, buttonwood, gum, pop ash, and pond apple trees. These plants are also native to Cuba and the Bahamas.
In the late spring or early summer, the butterfly orchid is one of the first orchids to bloom in Florida. It thrives when planted in sandy soil with good drainage under a canopy of trees. All parts of this orchid are poisonous, so it should not be ingested. The butterfly orchid blooms from March through to May.
Florida Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii)
The Florida ghost orchid is one of the most unique and beautiful orchids globally. This plant can grow up to 20 feet tall and is an epiphyte, living on trees. It has white flowers and blooms from June through to August. The flowers have a very strong smell which attracts nocturnal pollinators.
The Florida Ghost Orchid is also found growing in the wilds of Cuba. It is also commonly referred to as a white frog orchid or a palm Polly. These plants are one of the rarest orchids in the world. This species is protected by law, so do not collect it from nature. It can be purchased as a fully rooted plant at local nurseries throughout Florida. The Florida Ghost orchid prefers sandy soils with high organic matter and dappled light.
Wild Coco Orchid (Eulophia alta)
The wild coco orchid is native to Florida and Georgia and is a terrestrial orchid. It can also be found growing in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. The wild coco orchid is a large species that produces beautiful pink flowers. It has wider leaves than other native species and blooms with pink flowers throughout spring and summer.
This orchid requires well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It can be grown in containers or in the ground. The wild coco orchid is best propagated by division of the clumps but shouldn’t be taken from the wild.
Pott’s Giant Orchid (Pteroglossaspis pottsii)
The Pott’s giant orchid is a large, showy orchid that can reach up to six feet in height. It has long, strap-like leaves and blooms with showy flowers. The flowers are typically red, white, and pink with burgundy lips.
This orchid thrives in filtered sunlight to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. It cannot tolerate drought or standing water. Pott’s giant orchids are very rare. They can be grown in containers or planted directly into the ground. Propagation is best done by stem cutting, but you should ensure you buy from a reputable source rather than taking the flowers from the wild.
Cigar Orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum)
The cigar orchid is a small, delicate orchid that can be found blooming throughout the year. It has thin, strap-like leaves and blooms that are yellow and brown with dabbled patterns. This orchid is also commonly referred to as a cowhorn orchid or bee swarm orchid. The flowers are unique and eye-catching, and a single plant can produce up to 500 flowers. This orchid prefers moist, well-drained soil in shady areas.
Florida is home to many different types of plants, trees, flowers, and shrubs. The above orchids are some native orchids in Florida. These plants are interesting and beautiful, so they provide great landscape value for your home or garden. Many species of orchids that are native to Florida are very rare. If you want to grow these orchids, you should ensure that they have been collected reputably. Don’t take orchids or cuttings from wild plants.