I can tell you that there’s nothing quite like the sight and smell of a beautiful orchid. The delicate petals, vibrant colors, and sweet aroma make them one of nature’s most treasured gifts. But with so many varieties available, it can be difficult to know which ones are truly the best-smelling. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of the top 10 best-smelling orchids for your pleasure!
In my years of planting orchids, I have come across some truly special specimens whose scents linger in my memory long after their blooms have faded away. From tropical paradise fragrances to subtle floral notes, each of these ten unique species has something special to offer – and all will provide hours of olfactory delight! Whether you’re searching for a gift for someone special or just want to add a touch of aromatic beauty to your own home, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
I figured I would post the top 10 best-smelling orchids and not put them in any order because they all give off very different smells, but I wanted to give you a variety to choose from. Some are great because they put off a great smell but don’t produce the most extraordinary-looking flowers, and some are both! It depends on what you are searching for to complement your collection.
Table of Contents
1. Odontoglossoms (o-don-toh-GLOSS-um)
Commonly referred to as Ondots, Ondontoglossoms are closely related to Oncidiums. Odontoglossoms are some of the most fragrant orchids around. They have a unique scent that’s often described as sweet and spicy, with notes of pine needles and honey.
They will produce large groups of impressive flowers in pink, yellow, orange, red, and white. Ondots thrive in medium to bright light with water once every week and making them an eye-catching addition to any garden.
Plus, their long-lasting flowers can last up to six weeks! With proper care and maintenance, these stunning plants make for a wonderful gift or home decoration. As far as their aroma goes, you won’t be disappointed; odontoglossums will fill your home with a delightful fragrance all day long. And since they’re relatively easy to maintain, even novice gardeners can enjoy this special type of orchid.
They should be fed with orchid-specific fertilizer once a month during the Spring and Winter. Ondots should be in an environment with temperatures ranging from 50 to 70F. Make sure you select the right Ondontoglossom, as some can be more challenging than others.
2. Neofinetia Falcata
Image credited: Flick
This petite orchid is a real charmer! Neofinetia falcata, also known as the Japanese vandaceous orchid, has an exquisite fragrance that will linger in the air long after you’ve left the room. Its white and yellow flowers are almost ethereal in their beauty, and its foliage is evergreen – making this one of the most popular scented orchids on the market today.
It produces a sweet jasmine smell that has been recognized for a long time in Asia but is just really starting to hit its peak popularity here in the US. People love this one because it is one of the best-smelling orchids, but its foliage is often thought to be more beautiful and eye appealing than its flowers.
The Neofinetia’s delightful scent isn’t just limited to its flowers; it can also be detected from its leaves and roots. It’s no wonder why this plant has been prized by gardeners for centuries! The key to getting the best out of your Neofinetia is proper care: with enough light and humidity, along with regular watering during dry spells, these plants will really thrive – sometimes even blooming twice each year.
For those looking for a unique addition to their home’s atmosphere, look no further than Neofinetia falcata. This fragrant little flower won’t disappoint! With minimal effort, it could become a cherished part of any household – adding ambiance and elegance all year round.
3. Rhynchostylis Gigantea
Rhynchostylis gigantea is a species of orchid native to Southeast Asia, most commonly found in Thailand and Vietnam. It produces beautiful blooms that produce an exquisite scent. I’m sure you can understand why this one has made it onto my list of the top 10 best-smelling orchids!
The flowers grow on long arching stems and come in many unique colors from yellow to orange-red. Their shape is quite unusual too – they look almost like upside-down tulips with their pointed petals curling outwards at the edges. The fragrance of these flowers is sweet but also slightly spicy, making them very captivating when grown indoors.
These plants are not necessarily easy to care for, however, as they require specific temperatures and humidity levels to thrive. But if you’re up for the challenge, Rhynchostylis Gigantea makes a wonderful addition to your home’s collection of fragrant flora. And with some patience and dedication, you’ll be rewarded by its heavenly aroma time after time!
This is a great orchid for anyone’s collection, it has an unmistakable spicy smell that can fill up a room. Also, it has the ability to produce many flowers, and the great thing about them are you never really know what they’ll look like until they bloom.
4. Maxillaria Tenuifolia
This orchid is for island lovers and has the smell of coconut. Like the Neofinetia Falcata, it’s a great-looking plant to have around the house just for the foliage! Don’t expect large flowers or even a lot per plant because these orchids typically grow one flower per spike and are fairly small, but the reason people have such a demand for them is because of their intoxicating scent.
This beautiful flower produces an aroma that lingers in the air and will make any room smell delightful. It’s a popular choice for those looking to add some beauty and scent to their home.
The petals on this particular species are typically quite large, with a yellowish-green coloration that can be quite captivating. The leaves are usually dark green in color and have a glossy sheen when exposed to light. The plant itself grows best in climates with high humidity levels, so if you live somewhere too dry it might not be the ideal option for your garden or greenhouse.
When it comes to its fragrance, Maxillaria Tenuifolia has been described as “a sweet combination of honey and jasmine” – making it perfect for adding a romantic touch to any environment. Its heady aroma means it’s sure to please anyone who catches a whiff of its delicately perfumed petals.
5. Brassevola Nedosa – ‘Lady of the Night’
Brassevola Nedosa gets its name because it gives off a gardenia/citrus/lillyish smell. The cool thing about this orchid is that it is an easy plant to care for and looks great when you mount it to a piece of bark. You can expect multiple flowerings from this orchid per year, and it is a great air freshener. It produces its fragrance at night because this is when it can attract insects to pollinate it. In the case of Brassevola Nedosa, it’s trying to attract a certain type of moth only active at night.
It has a unique aroma of sweet honey and spice with hints of cherry and rose. Its beauty is unparalleled and its fragrance is captivating. This particular species grows best in tropical climates and requires bright indirect light for optimal flowering potential. Unlike many other orchids, it can also tolerate some shade during the summer months without compromising on blooms.
With proper care, Brassevola Nedosa can produce up to four flowers per stem at peak bloom time! The petals are delicate but sturdy enough to withstand moderate wind gusts while still holding their shape. The deep hue of its vibrant purple velvety petals will surely draw anyone’s attention, making this hybrid one of the most sought-after varieties available today.
Plus, its delightful scent lingers around long after all the blossoms have faded away! All these reasons make Brassevola Nedosa a great choice when selecting an orchid that looks beautiful and smells heavenly as well.
6. Cattleya (KAT-lee-a)
Often referred to as a corsage orchid, the Cattleya is a great indoor orchid. The blooms are so beautiful and unique that they are common cut flowers as well. Their flowers are often not fragrant and can be seen in colors from yellow to red, pink, white, and orange. Cattleyas thrive in medium to bright light while being watered weekly. They should be fertilized once a month in the Spring and Summer to see the biggest blooms. They will be happiest in moderate temperatures between 60-70F.
Make sure your Cattleya gets plenty of light. This will allow them to bloom quicker and more frequently as their blooms only last a couple of weeks. They will bloom twice a year, though, if put in the correct light.
The popularity of cattleyas is due to their unique beauty combined with ease of growth and strong scent profile. Although they are not easy to grow from seed, once established they become quite hardy and adaptable to various conditions. When mature, these plants often reach heights up to 3 feet tall with dozens of gorgeous flower heads spread across multiple branches. With proper care, you can expect your cattleya plant to bloom anywhere between 2-5 times per year!
7. Encyclia (en-SEE-clee-ah)
Commonly known as the Cockleshell orchid, Encyclia’s are very distinct orchids. They will produce purple-clam-shaped flowers with green sepals that resemble tentacles. The blooms will last a month or so, but mature plants will produce many blossoms that will bloom year-round.
Encyclia’s thrive in bright light with water once a week. It is key for the orchid mix to dry out a bit between watering. Enjoy vibrant blooms by fertilizing them once a month and placing them in temperatures between 60-80F.
Bright light and higher temperatures will put this orchid in an environment it is happiest. Encyclia spikes will come from the top of the pseudobulbs in the early Spring or Winter, and they prefer to be repotted when a new pseudobulb is beginning to grow.
Encyclia is a genus of orchids that are renowned for their exquisite scent. They have an incredibly strong, sweet smell reminiscent of honey and vanilla. Their big, beautiful blooms come in a variety of colors, including pink, yellow, white, and purple. All Encyclia species thrive in humid environments with plenty of indirect sunlight. With proper care, these stunning plants can bloom several times throughout the year.
One of the most popular varieties within this group is the fragrant Encyclia cordigera, which produces large clusters of showy flowers with a powerful aroma. These flowers possess an intense floral fragrance similar to jasmine and gardenias. The Encyclia tampensis is another commonly cultivated species; its small blossoms have an enchanting spicy-sweet scent that’s highly sought after by perfumers around the world.
8. Jewell Orchid (Ludisia discolor)
The great thing about the Jewell Orchid is that it is still an eye-catching plant when it is not in bloom. It has beautiful purple foliage with pink stripes. Its blooms are a great addition to the foliage with their small white appearance.
It is one of the most exotic and beautiful specimens in the world. It’s an incredibly rare flower, with only a few dozen plants known to exist in nature. Its delicate white petals are adorned by yellow markings that resemble jewels, giving it its name. The scent of this orchid is sweet yet subtle – a perfect combination for any discerning nose!
The Jewell Orchid will bloom in late Summer or early Fall. Ludisia’s discolor thrives in low to medium light while watering only once a week or even once every two weeks. They need to dry out a bit between watering, so they are not too saturated. Fertilize once a month and keep in temperatures between 55 to 80F. Jewell Orchids need a high humidity level to keep their eye-catching leaves from developing brown and crunchy edges.
Growing this species can be quite difficult due to its rarity and special requirements. However, if you’re up for the challenge, I highly recommend trying your hand at nurturing a Jewell Orchid. With proper care, these flowers will bloom all year long and fill your garden with their delightful aroma. Plus, they make great gifts for friends and family!
9. Phaius (Nun’s Orchid)
The Nun Orchid is a large specimen of a plant that features gorgeous groups of purple, brown, and white blooms. The blooms are in full effect in the Winter and sit atop 3-foot stems with bright green wavy leaves.
The Nun Orchid is happiest in medium to bright light with a weekly watering from the Spring to the Fall. To see regular blooming, you should fertilize it every week during the Spring and Summer. It will thrive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 80F.
This gorgeous flower has a unique, sweet scent and its long petals will make it stand out in any garden. Its deep burgundy color makes it even more attractive. It prefers warm climates, so if you live in an area with warmer temperatures, this may be a great choice for your garden. The flowers can bloom year-round, making it easy to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of this stunning plant at all times.
Unlike most orchids, make sure your Nun Orchid doesn’t dry out and the air it is in doesn’t get too dry. If this happens, its foliage will develop crispy brown edges.
The blooms are fragrant both day and night, with some varieties having stronger scents than others. Additionally, there are many different shapes and sizes available which means that you can find one that fits perfectly into whatever space you have available. Furthermore, these plants require minimal care; they need only light fertilization once every few months and occasional watering depending on the climate where they are grown.
Phaius (Nun’s Orchid) is definitely a favorite among orchid enthusiasts due to its beautiful appearance and pleasant smell. With proper care, this species can last up to five years or longer – providing a lasting source of pleasure throughout its lifetime.
10. Oncidium Sharry Baby
Be careful with this one! You might want to pluck it off the stem and eat it. It smells like chocolate and is a gorgeous specimen. If you love chocolate and you love orchids, this is the one for you!
Some people say it also has the scent of many baking cookies (Chocolate chip, I’m guessing). It also produces a beautiful dark purple and white flower that’s almost as beautiful as appealing to the nose. If I were to rank my #1 pick of all best smelling orchids, this would be it!
This delightful hybrid produces large yellow and brown flowers that have an undeniable sweet scent of chocolate and vanilla. It’s so strong that you can smell the fragrance from several feet away! The plant blooms in late winter or early spring with single blossoms on each stem, making them ideal for growing indoors as potted plants.
The Oncidium Sharry Baby prefers bright light but not direct sunlight and does best when watered regularly. Fertilize monthly during the growing season using a balanced fertilizer diluted by half. Keep temperatures between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C) during the day and 10°F cooler at night for optimal growth. With proper care, this lovely orchid will reward you with its amazing floral display year after year!
Its hardy nature makes it perfect for indoor gardening even if you don’t have a green thumb, while its beautiful flowers make it an eye-catching addition to any home decor setting. If you want something truly special then this is definitely one variety worth considering.
Orchids can bring a world of unique and beautiful scents to your home. With the top 10 best-smelling orchid varieties listed here, you are sure to find something that will fill your space with fragrant memories for many years to come. From Odontoglossoms to Oncidium Sharry Baby, each has its own special charm and fragrance.
My favorite is the Jewell Orchid. Not only does it look stunning when in bloom, but its sweet aroma brings me back to my childhood days spent playing in the gardens of my grandparents’ house. It was an amazing coincidence that I discovered this particular variety while browsing online one day – and now it’s become a permanent part of my collection.
For orchid lovers, I highly recommend giving these plants a try if you’re looking for something truly special and fragrant! Each one offers a unique scent that’s sure to make any room feel even more inviting than before. The smell of an orchid isn’t just about enjoying their beauty, it’s also about creating lasting memories with them too.
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