|Scientific Name : Epidendrum stamfordianum|
|Family : Orchidaceae|
|Colour : Varied|
|Common names : Poor man's orchid|
Epidendrum hybrids, sometimes called the poor man's orchid, is one of the most prolific groups and one of the easiest orchids to grow. These Mexican natives require very little attention. There are at least four hundred species of epidendrum orchids. The tall, thin, reed-like growths constantly put forth new plantlets. They are free flowering and the colours range from white to yellow, pink, orange and purple, and all shades in between. It has an upright, clumping growth habit with roots emerging from the base of the stems, at or below soil level. They are relatively free of insects and flowers reliably throughout the year.
The leaves of epidendrum orchids which grow up the cane are leathery and the small, beautiful one inch mini cattleya shaped flowers appear in a globular heads of 30 to 40 flowers at a time. The long-lasting blooms are borne at the top of a long spike. Many species have a fragrance. After flowering, the spike may be left on the plant and it will generally flower again in a few months. The spike is also prone to producing a keikis (baby plant) after flowering. Once these keikis develop their own 2- to 4-inch-long roots, they can be detached and planted individually.
Epidendrium are easily propagated, yielding many plants from one stem and they are tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, including outdoors. They are propagated by plantlets that form after flowering. These sun loving orchids needs bright light and can be grown in any fine-textured orchid mix. They are best grown in a compost consisting of bark, tree fern fiber and sphagnum moss. They can tolerate wide range of temperatures and are able to stand temperatures in the 100º range without suffering. During the growing season they require plenty of water and fresh air. Don't let the plants completely dry between watering. Epidendrium orchids require copious amounts of fertilizer. Fertilize every two weeks with a diluted orchid food. When fertilized regularly they respond immediately with denser flower spikes, greener, stronger leaves and more robust roots.
To keep the epidendrium plant tidy, remove old flower spikes and stems down to the base by snapping them clean with your fingers or cutting with sterile clippers. Plants grown in low light may need to be staked, while those growing in full sun are usually self-supporting.
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