Caring For The Epidendrum Orchid

There is enormous diversity among the 800 species of Epidendrum, which tend to grow easily into large specimens with hoards of blooms.  They are found in the Southeastern United States to Argentina in a wide range of habitats and temperatures; typically growing on moss or rocks.  Most types with psuedobulbs have been transferred to the genus Encylcia, although hybrid and award registrations still record them as Epidendrum.  The vast majority of Epidendrum have tall cane like reed stems rather than psuedobulbs.  Aerial roots commonly surround the stems, and flower inflorescences are usually branched.

Epidendrum Orchid Epidendrum Orchid

There are two basic growth habits: pseudobulbs and the reed-stem.  Those with psuedobulbs need to dry out and rest after a large growth spurt.  While the reed-stem types, which make up the majority of Epidendrum, do not. Most grow in intermediate temperatures (55-60oF winter nights) in medium too high windowsill light (eastern, southern or western exposure).  All need drainage:  small pots filled with medium bark often work well, especially for those with psuedobulbs.  They are normally top-heavy; place the pots inside larger clay pots to help steady them.  Fertilize the plants regularly while they are in growth.  The reed-stem Epidendrum can be divided and/or kept to manageable size by stem cuttings.

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