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Ground Orchid

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​​​​​Ground Orchid

  • Common name: Reed Stem Orchid, ground rooting epidendrum, fire-star orchid, rainbow
  • Scientific name: Epidendrum
  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia, Philippines
  • Height:  2.5 – 3’ tall
  • Width:  2.5 -3’ wide
  • Growth:  Moderate growers. Due to their subtropical nature, they are not suited for long term outdoor growing
  • Zone:  10.  9B in containers and moved indoors during cold weather
  • Light Needs: Eastside or spot of shade midafternoon.  Partial sun to produce plenty of flowers.  Too much sun, the leaves turn bronze. Too much shade and no flowers.
  • Salt tolerance: Little to no salt tolerance
  • Soil/PH/ Texture: Amend with topsoil or organic peat for dry sandy areas. Fertilize early spring and late summer with control release fertilizer 20-10-20. Reduce amount of fertilizer by September/October to limit cold ground
  • Soil Moisture:  Well drained location.  Water regularly but not overly wet
  • Drought Tolerance:
  • Pest/Disease: All terrestrial orchids get thrips, aphids, scale, and spider mites.  Can be occasional.  Ants commonly carry scale.  Watch for ant problems.
  • Growing Conditions: cut flower stalks to the ground when done blooming.  They are used to low nutrient sites on trees and can live on bark or in pots.
  • Characteristics:  easiest to grow.  Flowers on and off all year with bright orange flowers.  Also available in reddish purple.  Tough and easy to cultivate but Not freeze tolerant.
  • Propagation:  spreads by clumping.  Division propagation is easy.
  • Interesting Facts:  Epis, as they are called in the horticultural trade, is the largest neotropical genus.  Over 150 species make up this mega-genus.  The name refers to its epiphytic growth habit.  Relatively heavy feeders and need regular fertilizing.  Do not let the leaves of an orchid stay wet or the plant can rot.  Some epidendrums have pseudobulbs and some have cane-like stems.  They cannot survive freezing temps but do well in most temperatures above 50
  • Epis like to be pot bound so repot only every 3 years or so.  Once you find a spot they love, do not move them.  They seem to be sedentary and once chosen a good spot, may cause decline if attempting to relocate.

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