Epidendrum is considered the most numerous genus in the orchid family. Thus, this genus unites more than 1100 different plant species, among which there are epiphytes, lithophytes and terrestrial species of sympodial orchids. In nature, they can be found in the subtropical and tropical regions of South and North America.
Species of this genus, as a rule, have obvious differences from each other, which are both in size and in appearance. However, each of the species has branched short rhizomes (aerial modified creeping shoot), and they also have tough, rather thick, almost succulent vaginal leaves. These leaves may be arranged at the top of small pseudobulbs in pairs or alternately on erect thin stems. There are species in which the leaves have a linear-lanceolate shape and a pointed tip, and they are also slightly folded along the central vein, while in others the leaf plates are broadly oval, having a concave shape similar to a boat or scoop.
The apical peduncles are most often many-flowered, they carry dense inflorescences in the form of a ball or brush, however, some species have single-flowered inflorescences or loose spicate inflorescences, consisting of only a few flowers. The flowers, which have a rich color, can be either large (up to 14 centimeters in diameter) or quite small (diameter from 1 to 4 centimeters). The 3 sepals (sepals) and 2 true petals (petals) are usually similar in color and shape. A rather large complex lip (3rd petal) is folded into a tube near the base.
Epidendrum orchid care at home
Epidendrum is not yet very popular among Europa flower growers. However, in foreign flower shops, there is a huge selection of such orchids, both various hybrids and specific forms. This plant is recommended for growing by experienced growers, while beginners may have many problems with it.
Lighting for Epidendrum
Needs bright light all year round, but the flower should be protected from direct sunlight. It is recommended to place it on the windowsill of the western or eastern window. If the flower is located on a south-facing window, then at noon it should be shaded from the scorching sun.
It is not recommended to place an epidendrum on the window in the northern part of the room, because there is very little light even in summer. However, the flower will normally grow and develop in such a place, if it is provided with additional illumination with phytolamps, the illumination level should be 6000 lux, and the daylight hours should be from 10 to 12 hours. Also, supplementary lighting with phytolamps is recommended to be used in autumn and winter (especially in the evening).
This plant needs a moderate or moderately warm temperature regime. In this case, it is necessary to ensure the difference in daily temperatures. It is best if during the daytime the room will be from 18 to 25 degrees, and at night – from 12 to 16 degrees, it should be noted that the temperature difference should be at least 6 degrees.
From spring to autumn, the plant can be outdoors (in the garden, on the balcony), if there is no threat of frost at night. He needs to be protected from direct sunlight and precipitation. This is the easiest way to ensure the correct temperature regime for such an orchid.
The way in which the epidendrum should be grown depends on the species. So, species of large size (for example, rooting epidendrum) are recommended to be grown in pots, and compact ones (for example, sickle-shaped epidendrum) – on blocks. A suitable soil mixture consists of medium-sized pieces of pine bark, peat, sphagnum and a small amount of charcoal. A large piece of pine bark is used as a block, on the surface of which the rhizome and the root system of the flower are fixed. So that the liquid does not evaporate very quickly, you need to cover them with a not too thick layer of sphagnum.
How to water
For irrigation, well-settled soft water is used, the temperature of which should be from 30 to 45 degrees. It is recommended to water the plant by immersing the pot or block in a basin filled with water. After 20–30 minutes, you need to get the orchid, wait until all excess liquid drains and return it to its place.
Watering the plant is recommended after the bark is almost completely dry (complete drying should not be allowed).
Too high humidity is not required, optimally – 50-70 percent. To ensure such humidity, it is recommended to pour expanded clay into the pan and pour in a little water, while moistening the foliage from the sprayer 2 times a day.
Transplantation is carried out 1 time in 3 or 4 years after the substrate (block) has become very sour or decomposed. It is recommended to transplant immediately after the plant stops flowering.
Fertilize once every 2 or 3 weeks. To do this, use a special complex fertilizer for orchids. Fertilizer is dissolved in water for irrigation (see the concentration on the package).
The plant does not have a dormant period.
The method of reproduction depends on the species. So, it can be propagated by children that grow on shoots, by dividing the rhizome or by rooting the apical part of the flower, on which there should be aerial roots.
When dividing a bush, it must be remembered that at least 3 developed pseudobulbs or shoots should remain on each division. The baby should be separated from the mother’s shoot only after she has grown several fairly large roots.
Pests and diseases
Pest resistant. Such an orchid is sick most often due to violations of the rules of care. For example: rotting of the pseudobulbs and the root system with too much watering, the appearance of burns on the leaves due to the direct rays of the sun, with poor lighting – the lack of flowering, etc.
Below is a description of the main types of such an orchid, however, various hybrids have received the greatest popularity among flower growers.
This lithophyte in nature can be found in the humid forests of Colombia, as well as Mexico. This plant is distinguished by the fact that it has many aerial roots growing on the entire surface of completely leafy thin shoots, which are often longer than 50 centimeters. The leaflets, pointed at the tips, have a narrowly elliptical shape and a length of approximately 10-14 centimeters. On multi-flowered peduncles there are inflorescences that have the shape of a ball and consist of bright red flowers, reaching a diameter of 4 centimeters. The oval-pointed sepals are one and a half centimeters long and 5 millimeters wide. Wider petals have an almost diamond-shaped shape. The pronounced three-lobed lip is similar to a flying bird, it has fringed lobes that are almost rectangular in shape, while the one located in the center is bifurcated at the tip. In the central part of the mouth, in the throat of the tube, a speck of a rich yellow color flaunts.
Epidendrum cross or ibaguy (Epidendrum ibaguense)
Such terrestrial species in nature can be seen in South and Central America. It is similar to rooting epidendrum, however, in such a plant, aerial roots grow only at the base of the shoot. And it also has a variety of colors, for example: red, yellow, orange and light purple.
Epidendrum ciliated (Epidendrum ciliare)
In the wild, it is found in the tropical regions of Central America. This plant is a medium-sized epiphyte, in which the pseudobulbs are club-shaped and are single or double leafed. Oblong-elliptical leaves in length can reach 15 centimeters. Multi-flowered peduncles have apical inflorescences in the form of brushes. Fragrant flowers are quite large, their diameter is 9 centimeters. The yellowish-green sepals and petals are very narrow, lanceolate-filamentous in shape. The pronounced three-lobed lip is painted white. At the same time, its fringed wide lateral parts are heavily indented and similar to disheveled feathers, and the long lobe, located in the center, is narrow, elongated and pointed, similar to a spear.
Epidendrum ivory (Epidendrum eburneum)
This epiphyte in nature can only be found in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Rounded erect shoots reach a height of 20-80 centimeters. On their surface are tubular film shells that remain from fallen leaves. The narrowly elliptical leaflets are 11 centimeters long and 2–2.5 centimeters wide. On few-flowered short peduncles there are 4-6 fragrant flowers of a rather large size (diameter about 6 centimeters). The narrowly lanceolate, almost filiform sepals and petals are ivory (light ocher) in color. A fairly large whole lip, shaped like a heart, reaches a width of 4 centimeters. It is painted white, and next to the pharynx is a yellowish speck.
This lithophyte is endemic to Mexico. This type is quite compact. Single-leaved, thin pseudobulbs in height can reach 4–8 centimeters. The drooping leaves of a linear-lanceolate shape can be from 10 to 30 centimeters in length. Single flowers in diameter reach 8 centimeters. The whitish-green sepals and petals are narrowly lanceolate. The three-lobed snow-white lip consists of wide diamond-shaped lateral parts, which are slightly curved along the outer edge, as well as a narrow belt-shaped central part. There is a small yellow spot in the throat of the tube.