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The Epidendrum genus contains thousands of orchid species. The name is an interesting one as it means upon trees. Why? As Epidendrum orchids are mostly epiphytic growing on trees. Hence, they collect nutrients from the air and surfaces surrounding them.
The best part is your orchid will not be growing on a tree. But it will grow in the safety of your home in a container. So, today we will help you care for the Epidendrum orchids no matter what variety, as the care is similar.
More About Epidendrum Orchids
When you look at Epidendrum orchids, you will see it has waxy yet leathery leaves, while the flowers vary in orange, white, purple, yellow, and red. For indoor plants, this orchid is easy to care for.
While you can find many dwarf species, many of them can grow up to 6 feet tall. The flowering can happen several times throughout the year, from spring to summer. Your reed stem Epidendrum can grow in the ground living on low nutrients.
If you have one with a group of three-lobed flowers, it is the crucifix orchids as it looks like a religious symbol. Yet, the other species grow pseudobulbs you need to keep moist when in bloom. Once the plant flowers, it goes dormant for a couple of weeks.
These plants are native to tropical and subtropical areas of the American continent. Still, you may find some of them terrestrial, like the Epidendrum fulgens, while the Epidendrum calanthum is lithophytic growing on rocks.
Hence, knowing your species is essential to providing them with the correct care.
Epidendrum Orchid Care
Epidendrum orchids are relatively hardy plants that bloom more than once a season. It can thrive in low-nutrient media and needs no intensive maintenance. Hence, it can acclimate to different conditions when looking at orchid species.
Epidendrum Orchid Preferred Potting Mix
Choosing a pot and medium depends on your orchid species and where it grows in its native habitat. For example, epiphytic orchids prefer small pots, or you can mount them to tree bark.
When growing in containers, you need a potting media that drains well like a mix of coconut husks, sphagnum moss, tree fern, and bark. If the moss makes up a considerable part of the mix, you can add some charcoal to remove stagnant water.
The Epidendrum prefers a coarse mix with enough air circulation in the soil. With the orchid in a hanging basket and adding charcoal, you need to keep it moist as it can dry out fast. The same applies when you plant them in clay pots, as they will need more watering than in a plastic ones.
Your terrestrial orchid prefers being planted in the ground and can thrive in coarse sand to loam soil with low nutrients. Yet, if you grow Epidendrum orchids outdoors, we recommend not growing different species together before checking their habitat.
It can lead to plants competing with each other leading to the detriment of weaker plants. Repotting of your orchid can be expected every three years after the bloom.
Light Requirements for Epidendrum Orchid
The essential condition for your Epidendrum orchids is full sun or bright indirect light throughout the year. If there is too little light, your plant has elongated darkish leaves and will not bloom.
The Epidendrum orchids with reed stems tend to get a red tint when happy with the lighting. Yet, species growing at a higher altitude enjoy shade more. Furthermore, if you leave your orchid outside in summer, provide them with partial shade as the direct sunlight can burn the foliage.
How Often to Water Epidendrum Orchid
When growing Epidendrum orchids, most love the abundance of water during the growth phase. Still, as with your other plants, do not overwater as it leads to root rot. Instead, we recommend leaving the soil dry before you water again during the flowering season and winter.
After watering, leave the excess water to drain from the drainage holes and throw the water out from the saucer. Most species are not fussy about water quality, and you can use tap water if you have species growing at higher elevations that prefer distilled or rainwater.
Fertilizing Your Epidendrum Orchid
Regardless of the plant’s reputation, being survivors in very harsh conditions, they love a feed. You can feed them with a well-balanced fertilizer or a slow-release one. We recommend any standard orchid fertilizer by following the instructions provided.
Epidendrum species that grow in low light or the northern climates do not do well with a feed rich in nitrogen.
Temperature and Humidity Level Needs
The Epidendrum orchids can tolerate temperatures between 60°F and 90°F during the day. During the night, they can handle temperatures lower. Still, do not keep your orchid in freezing temperatures for too long. For instance, an Epidendrum conopseum can thrive in freezing conditions.
While your Epidendrum cinnabarinum only grows in cool conditions. These orchids flourish in 50% to 80% moisture when it comes to humidity levels. If you find the humidity levels too low, you can invest in a humidity tray or spray your plants during summer with water.
Propagating Epidendrum Orchid
Most species of Epidendrum are easy to propagate. The reason is that it grows roots on the side of the cane, forming an orchid Keiki or plantlet. The best is to leave the roots up to three inches long, increasing one-third on the mother plant before removing it.
Popular bedding to transplant Keikis uses moist sphagnum moss.
Epidendrum Orchid Varieties
If you are orchid enthusiasts, you will be glad to know that there are quite a few Epidendrum varieties you can take home to grow.
The crucifix orchids are a widespread species found in Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela. The orchid has a long stem with leathery leaves and long-lasting flowers. It is also a reed stem Epidendrum.
The fire star orchid is native to Mexico and found throughout Central America. The plant grows roots along the length of the stem and grows well outdoors and indoors. It blooms a long flower spike between fall and spring.
The lopsided star orchid, another familiar name as the angel orchid, is also a crucifix-type orchid. You find it native in Brazil with beautiful blooms.
Epidendrum Orchid Diseases and Pests
Pest and disease you find on most plants, even orchids. Some common orchid pests are brown scales and aphids, as the blossoms have nectar attracting these pests. Other concerns are brown spots and brown rot that affect these orchids.
To prevent these diseases, it helps to provide your plants with ample airflow around them. If you notice these concerns on the leaves, like the brown spots, we recommend removing the leaves and treating the cut ends with cinnamon.
For widespread infection, you can use a fungicide or bactericide spray.
Where to Buy Epidendrum Orchid?
The fantastic news is you can visit your local garden center or browse through Plantly’s collection to find this beautiful orchid.