Epidendrum Orchid Care: The Basics
Epidendrum (eh-pee-DEN-drum) orchids are one of the earliest established genera of orchids with well over 1,000 different species. Some species are found growing at sea level, while others thrive in higher elevations up in the mountains.="float: right; margin: 15px 0px 0px 10px;">Most Epidendrums have reed-like stems that are fairly similar in appearance to the Dendrobium orchid’s cane stems. These inflorescences are long and produce brightly colored bunches of flowers in shades of orange, red, yellow, lavender, or fuchsia. In almost all species of Epidendrums, the blooms have a fringed lip that’s fused to the column along its entire length. The blooms are sometimes solid in color and other times are marked with spots or streaks.
As mentioned earlier, there are over 1,000 types of Epidendrum orchids and hybrids and they vary in their growing requirements. For this reason, it is important that you get detailed care information for your certain type of Epidendrum because the care can greatly vary depending on the type you have. The requirements mentioned below apply to two very popular orchids; Epidendrum radicans and Epidendrum ibaguense. If you have a different species, you’ll want to find out where it grows in the wild and then adjust its care accordingly.
Watering frequency – as covered in this article about watering orchids – can be determined by a few different things. Epidendrum orchids should be watered regularly and abundantly. As a rule of thumb, you will want to water more frequently (approximately every 4-5 days) during the warmer months and less frequently (once a week) in the cooler months. You can help encourage bud growth by withholding water for about a month, however, make sure that your orchid remains happy.
As covered in this article about orchids care and light, Epidendrum orchids thrive with medium to high light conditions. If you orchid is receiving the ideal amount of sunlight the foliage will be grassy green in color. If your plant is receiving too much light the leaves can start to turn a brownish-bronze color, and not enough light will cause the orchid to become very tall and will keep the plant from producing flowers. A great inside location to place your Epidendrum is on an eastern facing windowsill. Remember to not let the orchid receive direct sunlight because this could cause the orchid to get sunburned leaves.
Epidendrums are intermediate to warm growers, depending on the particular variety. Those that come from higher elevations tend to do best with temperatures on the cooler side, and those that come from warmer regions will need warmer temperatures. Generally speaking, the average daytime temperature should range from 60°F to 90°F (15.6°C to 32.2°C) and average nighttime temperature should be between 50°F to 70°F (10C to 21.1°C). These orchids can even tolerate near-freezing temperatures for short periods of time. For more information on orchid plant care in regards to temperature, check out this article.
As covered in this “humidity” article on how to care for orchids, the ideal humidity range to grow your Epidendrums is somewhere above 50% humidity. Remember to have adequate air movement for your orchids by opening a window and letting in the breeze or by placing an oscillating fan nearby. This will help mimic the breeze that the orchid would receive in nature.
When Epidendrum orchids are in full growth they should be fertilized regularly. A balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) is recommended at a half-strength solution every time you water. During the winter, when the plant is not in active growth, you will want to cut back on fertilizing frequency. Each month you will also want to remove the buildup of fertilizer and salts by running plain water through the pot.
Epidendrum orchids should be potted with a medium that allows for good drainage. A recommendation is to mix both a fine and medium-grade bark with perlite or coconut chips. Epidendrums can also grow very well attached to a mount, in raised planter beds, or outside in tubs if you live in an area that doesn’t experience frost. Once the plants begin to grow taller you should stake them for support.
And that just about covers the basics! :-)
Next Steps: Where do you go from here?
A couple options:
#1 – More Free Epidendrum Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your Epidendrum right away…
#2 – Get Access to ALL My Articles on Epidendrums…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about Epidendrum orchid care (and caring for ALL types of orchids) we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.
The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.
The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.
Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!
(By the way, this link here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))
All my best,
Ryan “The Orchid Guy” :-)
IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.
It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! :-)
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