Exquisite, elegance, exotic...familiar terms used to describe the orchid. While the orchid is thought of as a tropical plant, there are so many varieties you should be able to find one for your area.
In general, orchids can be grown outdoor in climates with a temperature range of 40-90 degrees. If you live in an area that exceeds these temperatures, consider growing orchids indoors.
If you are new to growing orchids, talk to your local garden shop. They will be familiar with your local growing conditions and can recommend an orchid variety known to do well in your area.
Indoor or out, orchids prefer moderate temperatures, but not a lot of direct sun. They will die quickly if the roots are continually wet, so they must be in well drained soil. Indoor gardeners should note that the largest cause for failure of indoor plants of all kinds is over-watering.
Outdoor, plant your orchids in an area that is partially shaded by other plants during the heat of the day. Peat Moss added to the soil helps hold the moisture needed without soaking the roots. Orchids thrive in high humidity, so on hot, dry days mist the foliage occasionally. Fertilize very lightly every 2 weeks. Most garden shops have fertilizer designed specifically for orchids.
Indoor, use a good planting mix designed for orchids (available at most garden shops). Make sure your pots drain well and place in a window that gets subdued sun most of the day. Again, be very careful with watering. Do not water unless the soil is dry about 2-3 inches under the surface.
Some of the popular orchid varieties are:
* Cattleya Hybrids- These are the highly popular corsage flower
* Oncidiums- Can tolerate a less tropical environment
* Epidendrums- A good temperate climate orchid that will stand nearly full sun
* Plalaenopsis- Grows a long, arching spray of flowers. Thrives in humid, warm climates