Reedstem epidendrums are one of the most rewarding orchids to grow. They can tolerate temperatures of extreme heat and down to freezing as well as direct sunlight and general neglect and still reward their grower with lots of colorful blooms, often year round. This is why they are sometimes referred to as the everblooming jewels of the garden.
Reedstems account for only a few of the 1000 species in the Epidendrum genus. They are distributed from Mexico through Brazil, occuring at elevations ranging from sea level up to 8000 feet and are usually growing
terresterally in a damp humus.
Many reedstems grown today are hybrids created from species collected from nature long ago. Other epidendrum related genera, such as Cattleya and Sophronitis, have been successfuly included in the breeding mix to produce bigger and more colorful flowers. This process takes time. From pollination to flowering, we
estimate four years. Here at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, we make many crosses each year in order to produce better and more
Day temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s (F) are
perfect but even higher temperatures up to and over 100o are not harmful. Night temperatures down to 32o are fine.
This plant likes bright filtered light, although it has been known to tolerate long periods of direct light. If your epidendrum is not blooming it likely needs more light. If the plant’s foliage is turning red, you may want to give it less sun.
Watering, like with all orchids, is done as needed. Under our conditions, watering once a week with occasional wetting down during warm times is sufficient. To determine when the best time to water in location is simply to lift the pot and note the weight; water the day before the plant would be completely dry.
Regular feeding promotes good growth. Use a
balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 7-9-5 or one a little higher in Nitrogen (10-5-5.) A yearly application of a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote is a convienent way to fertilize.
We pot our epidendrums in plastic pots using fine fir bark. Clay pots also work well. Many people successfully grow their epi’s in the ground in soil only.