Various Species of Epidendrum Orchids and How To Easily Care for Them

Updated March 24, 2013 by Carl Harrison


With its fragrant blooms and abundant flowering, Epidendrum is nice choice for a beginning orchid enthusiast.

Some Facts Regarding These Unique Flowers

Epidendrums encompass over 1,000 species throughout the world. Native to South America, Central America, Mexico, Florida, and the Caribbean. They live in a wide variety of habitats. They are able to thrive both at sea level like Hawaii orchids and the high elevations of the Andes Mountains. Interestingly, they can survive as well in a humid tropical setting as on a sun-drenched grassy slope.

This plant is a sympodial flower. Potted sympodial types grow along their growing media, often with horizontal stems. The plant growth can resemble a hand across the surface of the media, splitting and creating multiple buds and flowers. If mounted, a sympodial one will grow in any direction.

Potting Needs

As with most types, these flowers require thorough watering, especially in hot weather. Ensure that you are using growing media that drains well, such as fir bark with Pearlite. They aren’t very picky when it comes to their potting mix as long as there is good drainage.

Selecting the proper container to be used is an important step that you must take. Plastic or clay pots may be used. If using plastic containers, check the surface of your growing media before watering. Plastic pots are nonporous and retain water. They should contain adequate drainage holes or a mesh bottom to prevent overwatering. Clay pots are porous and as such allow media to dry effectively. With clay pots, watch for salt buildup from hard water or fertilizers as this can cause extensive root damage.

Temperature and Light

They also prefer temperatures from 60-90°F with a drop in temperature and light at night. Daytime sun coupled with midday shade will promote healthy growth.

Where to Plant

These varieties can grow from 6 inches to 6 feet in height. Because of their tendency to grow tall, they are perfect for garden or greenhouse environments. If you want to grow one of these flowers in your home, you may want to consider a hybrid that is more compact.

Species and Hybrids

There are over 1,000 known species of Epidendrum. Here are a few samples that you can choose today.

Ciliare – These plants grow to approximately one foot tall. With large, fragrant green and white flowers, Epi. ciliare are a stunning addition to any collection. This variety blooms in winter and is quite easy to grow.

Ilense – This is a very gorgeous species for anyone to begin growing. Stunning small white flowers have a distinctive long fringed lip that is simply amazing to look at. The wonderful thing about this plant is that it continues to produce blooms both on its new and old stems. Don’t remove old spikes until they are brown as they will continue to provide you with lovely flowers year after year.

Plastic Doll – Here is a simple hybrid with green petals and vivid yellow sepals. Growing to a height of about 2 feet, the flowers grow in pendant clusters of three to five blooms.

Epidendrum Costa Rica – This species features lovely 1.5 inch flowers. Orange spotted sepals and petals are set off by a muted purple lip. This hybrid generally grows 2-3 feet tall.

Hokulea – Vibrant orange and red flowers cover this unique plant. Recognized by the American Orchid Society, this plant is especially temperature tolerant. It can begin flowering at 1 foot in height, but will continue to grow to several feet.

Whatever variety of Epidendrum you choose, you are certain to enjoy the beauty of this amazing orchid.


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