Epidendrums can be grown in well drained garden beds or pots. They need plenty of organic matter to grow well, and are heavier feeders than many other orchids, responding well to almost any quantity of "well rotted" manure. Many propagate easily from stem cuttings and cuttings of side shoots, while some produce pseudobulbs and can be propagated by division.
There are many species and hybrids in culture. The exact parentage of some cultivars is confused. Species are sometimes divided into reed stemmed types and softer stemmed species. There are a greater number of softer stemmed species, but the reed stemmed are hardier plants, easier to propagate, and much more commonly cultivated.
Species in culture include:
E. aromaticum has yellowish flowers, with a whitish lip and red markings. Flowers occur in spring to summer, and are strongly scented.
The Spice Orchid, (E. atropurpureum) has fragrant brownish flowers with a white and purplish lip, in winter or early spring. This is an extremely variable species.
E. cinnabarinum needs minimum temperatures of 15o C or higher if it is to flower. Flowers occur spring to summer and are bright scarlet with an orange-yellow lip, spotted with red.
E. fragrans is a small plant with scented flowers in winter or spring. Flowers are white with a purplish streaked lip.
E. ibaguense (syn. E. radicans) is a typical reed stemmed type, and perhaps the most commonly grown species of Epidendrum. It grows easily in cool, warm or hot climates, provided it has protection from frost. It will grow in the lowlands of Malaysia, and also outside in Melbourne. To flower well, it needs plenty of sun, and in temperate areas needs a warm open position that collects optimum sun. In such a situation it is unlikely that it will be prone to sunburn. Climbing species have many aerial roots and the flowers are not scented, and may occur at any time.
E. medusae is a typical soft stemmed type with fleshy blue green leaves. Flowers are yellowish green with brown and a large purplish lip. It needs both shade and warmth to do well.
E. Parkinsonianum (syn. E. falcatum) produces fragrant long lasting flowers, their colour varies greatly. Keep fairly moist and only allow slight drying between waterings. Ideal conditions are temperatures of 10-27oC, 55-75% humidity, and feeding weekly at 25 to 50% recommended rates.
Mount plants on cork, bark or tree fern slabs or in a hanging pot in a chunky fast draining medium.
E. radicans - see E. ibaguense
E. Stamfordianum has yellow and red spotted, fragrant flowers with a fringed lip, occurring in early summer or late autumn. This species can be temperamental in cultivation.
E. stenopetalum is another soft stemmed species, producing a clump of cylindrical stems to 70 cm (28 inches) tall, bearing 10 cm (4 inches) leathery leaves. With appropriate conditions (eg. shade and constant warmth), this species can produce predominantly rose to purplish flowers all year round.
Many inter species and inter generic hybrids have been developed. Hybrids between Cattleyas and Epidendrums are grown in many places including tropical south-east Asia.
Epiphronitis - hybrids developed from Epidendrum and Sophronitis.
Epicattleyas -hybrids of Epidendrum with Cattleya
Some authorities have abbreviated this as Epc. as opposed to Epct. Eg. Epct. Viola 'Shigeki Sato' - Soft pink with a yellow striped throat.
Learn More About Orchids
- Orchid Correspondence Course