COMMON NAME Reed Orchid, Reed-stem Orchid, Reed-stem Epidendrum, Reed Ground Orchid, Crucifix Orchid, Star Orchid, Poor Man’s Orchid
BOTANICAL NAME Epidendrum radicans
HEIGHT 2.5′ to 5′
WIDTH 2.5′ to 3′
LIFESPAN Exact time unknown, relatively long lived plant that lives on through the baby plants that grow from the originating plant. We approximate 10 years to 20 years
SOIL TYPE Well drained. Can adapt to many poor soils. Prefers moist soils. Avoid soggy and wet soils. Prefers a pH of 6 to 6.5
WATER REQUIREMENTS Water after planting in ground, and water every day for 2 weeks. Week 3 and week 4, water deeply twice a week. From week 5 forward water deeply at least once a week. Water regularly, allowing soil to dry out before another water application. Best results with regular irrigation. Supplement with water during droughts and the hot, dry months to keep your plant lush and thriving. Reduce watering in the Winter when growth slows.
LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Part sun. Full sun is tolerated, though will bronze the foliage. Shade will produce no flowers. Morning sun with some afternoon shade is ideal.
FERTILIZING Sparingly use a general purpose 10-10-10 once every month from Spring to Summer for faster growth. Alternatively, use a slow-release fertilizer 3 times a year. Halt fertilizing from the Fall to Winter, then begin again in the Spring. Do not allow fertilizer to clump, be sure to disperse evenly. Clumped fertilizer can potentially burn roots, potentially harming or killing a plant. Avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves, flowers, and stems. Do not over-fertilize, as this will result in more foliage and less flowers and less fruit.
FLOWER Inflorescence consists of 20 to 40 vibrant orange-yellow flowers
MONTH OF COLOR Periodically all year
FRUIT Produces thousands of very tiny seeds. Inedible.
ALLERGENS, TOXICITY AND ANIMALS Toxicity unknown. Rarely causes allergies, usually affected people are sensitive individuals.
COMMENTS Easy to care for tropical ground orchid. This exotic epiphyte can grow in many places, from cliffsides to tree trunks and branches. Reliably produces many beautiful orange-yellow blooms on the numerous green stems. No flowers produced would likely be due to not enough light. White roots form along the length of stems and help to stabilize and support the plant. Good for accent plant or in containers. No significant pest problems. Requires maintenance to keep a “clean” look. Brown leaves may be trimmed and spent flowering stalks may be cut down 1″ to 2″ from where they emerge. Susceptible to dying back in a freeze, though it will grow back. In locations susceptible to cold damage, cover with a frost cloth and secure firmly to protect the day before a freeze. Remove promptly once the freeze has subsided. Protect the roots by mulching (with mulch, leaves, hay, etc.) no less than 3″ thick and 1′ radius around the base of the plant above where the roots grow. Easy to propagate by seeds or by dividing young plants from the clusters over the years. This plant attracts butterflies that pollinate the hermaphrodite flowers, though the flower produces no nectar! We suggest planting as an isolated specimen if one wishes to maximize pollination potential. Originates from Central America, Mexico, and Colombia.
PRICE 3 gal. $13