As we were saying, most of the species spread in the nursery are epiphytes, but they do not disdain the cultivation in soil; for this reason, for the epidendrums, usually, we choose a substratum formed mainly by universal mould, lightened with small pieces of sphagnum and small pieces of bark, which help also to keep the mould humid and fresh.
These orchids love very luminous positions, but fear the direct rays of the sun; in winter, they find room in the house, even if, in order to help the flowering, it is better to guarantee the plants a period of vegetative rest, with temperatures lower than the 15°C.
Therefore, during the winter, even if positioning the plants in a place sheltered from the rigours of the winter, it is advisable to choose a luminous position, but in an unheated zone of the house, with maximum temperatures lower than 15°C; even a little heated stairwell can be good, or we can think of positioning the plants in a greenhouse, where it is easier to keep the temperatures low, but not too much.
In summer, the plants move outdoors, taking care to position them where the sun’s rays do not reach them.
Watering is the key to obtaining luxuriant and healthy plants; the epidendrums tend rapidly to wrinkles, both in case of excessive watering and in case of prolonged drought; if the leaves wrinkles, let’s thin the watering, or, on the contrary, let’s water immediately if we have not done so for a long time. As a general rule, these plants do not need excessive watering, it is sufficient to keep the soil cool and just moist.
During the coolest months we can water even just every 8-10 days; during the hottest months we should necessarily intensify the watering, but avoiding watering too often. From the beginning of the spring, until we see the first floral shoots, let’s provide the plants with orchid fertilizer, every 10-12 days; as soon as we see the first flowers, let’s suspend fertilization.
These orchids have the particularity to bloom even for many months, because once withered the flowers, at the apex of the stem are produced new ones; to keep the plant beautiful and healthy, periodically remove the withered flowers, with the help of a small sharp scissors.
- Some species of orchids have very special flowers, with a curved labellum, closed to form a kind of shoe; orchids with cup-shaped lips belong to three main genus of orchids.
- The genus cattleya orchids counts about fifty species of epiphytes and lithophytes, native to South America; they are equipped with fleshy pseudobulbs, which may have dimensions close to the 5-7 cm, with a …
- It is a genus that includes many epiphytic orchids, originating in the wetlands and mountains of South America, from Mexico to Peru. They do not have pseudubulbs and the leaves are long and narrow, they are not…
- The genus Laelia includes about 50-60 species of orchids, mainly epiphytic, native to Central America, very similar to the cattleya. These varieties form dense tufts of pseudobulbs, which are often found in the…
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Orchids and water
Most of the epidendrum species grown in nurseries are accustomed to a tropical climate, characterized, if not by constant rainfall, by high ambient humidity. Unfortunately, the air in the apartment is very dry, especially in winter, when we turn on the heating system, and in summer, when we turn on the air conditioner. Often we tend to confuse the love of certain plants for humidity with the need for very frequent watering.
Unfortunately, the two things are not synonymous, and often excessive waterings, which lead the substratum of cultivation of the plants to be always soaked in water, lead the plants to death by asphyxiation; in essence, we drown them; the humidity contained in the pot, in fact, if it is excessive, and especially if it is constantly, does not allow the roots to have gaseous exchanges with the environment; besides this, fungi and bacteria love, in a particular way, the humid and warm environments, where they develop quickly, in a way completely harmful for the plants.
High ambient humidity means having a lot of water in the air, not in the ground; to increase the amount of water in the air it is important to vaporize the plants, passibly when they are not in bloom, and with demineralized water, so as not to stain the leaves with limescale; If our house is very dry, in addition to vaporizing the plants we can equip ourselves with a cold humidifier, to be placed in the room where we keep the plants, or we can place our plains in large ponds, on the bottom of which we will constantly keep clay and a few centimeters of water that evaporating will increase the humidity of the air.
To increase the effect of this ploy, it is important that all the plants in the house are kept in the same room, so that all the methods of humidification are concomitant, and then the air remains humid for a long time.
Epidendrum: Watering orchids
In addition to problems with humidity, our orchids often have problems with watering; the loose and incoherent soil in which they are grown, once dry, tends not to collect the water of the watering; if then we water by providing a drop of water for each pot, which quickly flows into the saucer, the roots of our plants will hardly benefit from such watering.
For the best watering of orchids, the best method is by immersion: let’s take a bowl, place the pot with the orchid and fill it with water to the outer edge of the pot; let’s leave the pot underwater until the bark on the surface of the pot has absorbed water, let it drain well and put the pot back in place; in this way we are sure that all the substrate is cool and moist, and the water has not ended up in the saucer.