by Kimberly Caines, Demand Media
Epidendrums are a genus of the orchid family that consists of large and small plant varieties. Native to tropical America, the plants develop reed-like stems and 1-inch flowers. Epidendrum orchids can withstand a summer maximum temperature of about 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum temperature around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Epidendrum hardiness is zone-dependent -- many varieties are suited to Sunset Climate Zones H1 and H2, while others work well in the milder areas of zones 7, 17 and 21 through 24. Epidendrums don't tolerate extended exposure to frost. Grow them in pots, and move them inside when the temperature drops.
Grow the Epidendrum in fir bark potting medium. Fir bark allows water to drain quickly and promotes air circulation.
Place the orchid in a semishaded area and gradually reintroduce it to full sunlight. Once acclimated, after about two weeks, expose the orchid to full sunlight in the morning and provide a sheltered area during hot, sunny afternoon weather.
Feed the plant weekly with a 30-10-10 fertilizer during the growing period. Reduce the frequency to once a month during late fall and winter. Orchids grown in fir bark require more nitrogen to compensate for the nitrogen lost during decomposition of the growing medium.
Water the orchid with a spouted watering can two times per week, or as soon as the pot feels light and the potting medium is drying. Flood the soil surface and allow the liquid to drain into a humidity tray place below the pot. Watering in this manner helps boost the humidity level and prevents overfeeding -- it washes out any residue and excess fertilizer. Increase the watering frequency during warm weather and spray the leaves with a water-filled spray bottle or dab them with a moistened sponge. Avoid wetting the flowers, because this may trigger damp spots.
Point a small fan at the orchid when it's indoors, to help promote air circulation. In nature, orchids are used to light breezes. The fan mimics this and keeps the plant from getting sluggish.
Things You Will Need
- Fir bark potting medium
- Humidity tray
- Spray bottle or sponge
Epidendrum orchids can take up to five years to flower. Purchase an established, potted plant that's close to blooming or already blooming to avoid having to wait a long time for the flowers to grow.
Buy a potted plant that doesn't need to be repotted immediately. Make sure the foliage is clean, and if the plant is flowering already, check that the blooms are fresh.
Repot the orchid to a larger container with fresh growing medium every two years after blooming.
Water your plant in the morning so the foliage is dry by nighttime. Plants in clay pots may need to be watered more often than those in plastic pots -- water evaporates faster in clay pots.
Plants that are dehydrated and have leaves and stems that turned brown can be rescued by rehydrating them. Place the pot in a bowl of water. Keep the water below the top of the pot to avoid washing away the potting medium. Allow the plant to soak for about one hour.
- Growing & Displaying Orchids A Step-By-Step Guide; Wilma Rittershausen, Gill & David Oakley
- Clan Orchids: Epidendrum and Encyclia Culture Page
- Orchid Mall: Reed-Stem Epidendrums
- Orchard Nursery and Florist: Growing Epidendrums