About Orchids

If you can grow houseplants, you can grow orchids. Orchid lovers in Michigan grow many varieties on windowsills, under lights and in greenhouses. Not every species will grow everywhere, but there are beautiful species that will grow in the conditions you can provide. The Michigan Orchid Society can help you determine which plants will grow easily in your home and can help you learn how to make your plants thrive.

There are about 35,000 species of orchids and more than 60,000 hybrids. Orchids occur everywhere from the tropical rainforests to the sub-artic. They grow in trees, on rocks, in the ground and even entirely in the ground. Several species are native to Michigan.

Orchids, the largest plant family, are amazingly diverse. Some orchids can be full-grown in a tea cup while some easily outgrow a bucket and some form vines many feet long. Some orchids have flowers so small you need a microscope to enjoy them while others have flowers the size of a plate. Not all orchids look like the familiar “corsage orchid”.  There are also “lady slippers” with pouches, “moth orchids” that look like a moth or butterfly and many other forms. Some flower for less than a day but others last for weeks or months. Each species has its own blooming time. Some bloom in the spring but others favor summer, fall or winter.

Orchid growing was once a hobby only for the rich. Modern propagation methods have made orchid collecting available to everyone. Join the Michigan Orchid Society and learn more about the thousands of orchid species.

Welcome to the Michigan Orchid Society

The Michigan Orchid Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

Our members share a love of orchids, and belief in our mission. We work to:

  • increase awareness of orchid conservation
  • teach techniques for the propagation of orchids
  • support and conduct scientific research on orchid development
  • share information about orchids with members and the public through publication and exhibition

This website is designed to be your resource. If you have a question, check our FAQ page to see if we have an answer for you, or ask us directly through our contact form. Find dates, times, and locations for our upcoming events, join us as a member, or donate to support our work (donations are tax-deductible).


A little piece of our history

The inspiration to form a club for orchid growers started with an article in the Detroit News in 1951. The first official meeting took place in January 1952.  Meetings were set on the third Sunday of the month from September to June. At the time, dues were $3 per year with an initiation fee of $2.

Our first annual Palm Sunday Show was held on April 11, 1954 at Stanley Norton Greenhouse in Ypsilanti.  Palm Sunday shows were held there for more than 20 years until the size of the show necessitated a larger site.  Shows were subsequently held at the Detroit Bank Building, Penobscot Building, Chrysler Imperial Showroom, Southfield Town Center and local malls.  Laurel Park Place in Livonia hosted the Palm Sunday Show in 1990.  In 2011 the show took place at the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Building in Madison Heights, now its current site.

The Michigan Orchid Society hosted its first Mid American Orchid Congress Conference/Show in 1968.  The Mid American Orchid Congress is a regional affiliation of orchid societies.  We have since hosted the conference in 1974, 1981, 1988, 1995, and 2000.  To celebrate these events we published the book, “North American Terrestrial Orchids”, and commissioned two original watercolor paintings for use in our posters.  In 1984, the Michigan Orchid Society participated in the World Orchid Conference in Miami, Florida.  Hundreds of pounds of sandstone for a waterfall for our display was shipped by truck and plants provided by our members were flown to Miami.

Members have volunteered at the orchid greenhouses at the Belle Isle Conservatory since 1993.  These greenhouses are home to approximately 5000 orchids, some of which were donated by Michigan Orchid Society members.  In addition to dividing and repotting orchids, some of the more handy members replace greenhouse glass and repair and install greenhouse equipment.