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Plants 101: Epidendrum Orchids

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Plants 101: Epidendrum Orchids

One of our favorite flowering plants, the Epidendrum Orchid is truly an unusual beauty. And when you see how easy it is to take care of, it'll be your favorite plant too.

There are apparently something like 1000 species of Epidendrums, but the most common are Epidendrum radicans and Epidendrum ibaguense. The orchid above is growing from a 18" shallow bowl sitting on top of that wall and blooms all year long. I love the crazy wild effect it has, but you can also keep it trimmed if you prefer it to be more upright.

Epidendrums come in many colors...yellows, oranges, reds and pinks.

And look just gorgeous in bud vases like these cuttings I frequently keep in my bathroom.

Here are their basic care requirements:

  • Light: Epidendrums thrive with medium to high light conditions. If your orchid is receiving the ideal amount of sunlight the foliage will be grassy green. Too much light can turn leaves brown and not enough will cause the orchid to become very tall and will keep the plant from producing flowers.
  • Watering: Should be done regularly. During warmer months, every 4-5 days which can be taken down to once a week in the winter. In our California climate, we have found a drip line going twice a week works great. And don't be afraid to give the whole plant a shower once in a while.
  • Growing Medium: Like many orchids, Epidendrums like good drainage and do best in a mix of cactus soil and medium-grade bark.
  • Fertilizer: Though I personally seldom fertilize my orchids, they can benefit from a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) at a half-strength solution every time you water.

Propagation is also super simple. As plants mature they create these air roots. Simply take a clean cut that includes the new roots and start a new plant.

The plant above was started from a couple cuttings of the one on the wall and it only took a few months to start going crazy in its new home.

So if you want a really beautiful plant that grows like a weed, has lovely flowers, requires very little attention and creates tons of babies for you to give to your friends, the Epidendrun Orchid might just be the plant for you.