Fragrant Orchids

Fragrant orchids go toe to toe (pseudobulb to pseudobulb?) with some of the sweetest-scented flowers you could name. 

Here you'll discover the most captivatingly scented orchids you can grow indoors -- from charming pansy orchids to the frilly blooms of cattleyas, and more. 

Oncidium Sharry Baby, Fragrant Orchids

Oncidium 'Sharry Baby'

Oncidium 'Sharry Baby' (shown above) is a prolific bloomer, sending up a branched spike with sprays of red and white flowers. She blooms when she wants to, which may be spring, summer or fall. And sometimes twice a year.

These stunning orchids are among the most popular Oncidiums -- not just for their rich colors -- but because they're some of the easiest to grow. Could it get any better? Oh, yes. Those gorgeous blooms are deliciously chocolate-scented.

dendrobium parishii, fragrant orchids


Dendrobium parishii (shown above) has a sweet, fruity scent. It reminds me of strawberries, but I guess that's just what my nose wants to imagine.

A cool winter rest will give Dendrobium orchids more blooming power. Gorgeous blooms in spectacular colors place dendrobiums among the most popular orchids. This one has beautiful lavender-pink flowers with a characteristically contrasting throat color.

pansy orchids, fragrant orchids

Pansy Orchids

Beautiful fragrance, along with its charming "pansy" faces, makes this a delightful orchid to grow.

Most pansy orchids (Miltoniopsis spp.) will bloom in spring and some will give a second show of flowers in autumn, if you can keep your plant happy. Keep it slightly pot-bound, and provide plenty of humidity (at least 60% relative humidity).

You'll get the most blooms by deadheading faded flowers. Each bloom lasts about a month, then wilts. Cut off spent flowers right away to keep your orchid blooming.

Green Thumb Tip For Your Fragrant Orchids

Free-flowing air is key in preventing orchids from catching a fungal disease.

Put them in a spot where they'll enjoy plenty of air circulation. Fans are fine, but keep orchids away from heat or AC vents.

vanilla orchid, fragrant orchids

Vanilla Orchid

Vanilla is one of the most popular scents AND flavors -- and it starts here. Known botanically as Vanilla planifolia, this southern Mexican native grows seed pods that we know as vanilla beans. Those creamy yellow flowers are deliciously scented, too.

Growing as a sprawling vine on trees, it reaches up to 70 ft (21 m) long in its native tropical forest habitat. Vanilla orchids can be grown in a greenhouse, but you won't get the bean pods unless you hand-pollinate the plant, plus provide ideal conditions -- high humidity, bright light and plenty of room to grow. They're more of a novelty indoors.

nun orchid, fragrant orchidsPhoto by: Hectonichus [CC BY-SA]

Nun Orchid

Phaius tankervilleae get its common name from the white-backed sepals and petals that drape forward, resembling a nun's habit. 

Although not a common houseplant, this tropical, fragrant orchid is among the easiest to please indoors. You'll keep Nun orchid blooming with indirect sunlight, high humidity, and plenty of warmth. 

cattleya orchids, fragrant orchids

Cattleya Orchids

Cattleya orchids are hands-down the most popular with orchid growers. And it's no wonder. Countless cattleya hybrids offer exotic color combinations, big blooms and frilly petals. They are -- without a doubt -- some of the showiest orchids around.

Cattleya labiata is the species on which the genus is based and is one of the most fragrant orchids you'll find anywhere. Look for this species, or a hybrid based on C. labiata, for captivating fragrance.

zygopetalum orchids, fragrant orchids


Endless color combinations and patterns make Zygopetalums captivating for the orchid collector.

Bright light is key to keeping Zygos blooming indoors. These South American natives also appreciate humidity. don't have to turn your home into a greenhouse; just place the orchids on a humidity tray. You'll love these exotic beauties' sweet fragrance.

  1. Home
  2. Caring for Orchids