Orchid epidendrum flowers are plants with reed stems that display small pastel-hued flowers. A low-maintenance orchid variety, orchid epidendrums are one of six orchid varieties suggested for ease of use and care for the home gardener by the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Pay close attention to the needs of your plant, including watering requirements and necessary light exposure for optimal care and growth.
Orchids generally thrive in partial shade and will have problems with flowering if exposed to too great or too little sunlight. For orchid epidendrum, the University of Florida IFAS Extension suggests exposing the orchid to a "range between 2000 and 3000 footcandles (21.6-32.4 K. Lux), or 70-80 percent shade." If your orchid's leaves appear scorched or are fading in color, they may be receiving too much light.
Orchids grown in the home garden are often kept in pots; because pots vary in size and material, watering is variable, but following a general set of tips will help you to determine the proper amount and quality of water for your orchid epidendrum.
Since larger pots mean a greater expanse of soil and a slower rate of drying when compared to more confined areas of soil, pay more attention to the saturation level than the specific measurement of water. Completely saturate the soil until water drains through beneath the pot or container. Wait until the soil's surface has dried out before your next watering. Additionally, be sure your water is not too saline (an issue for coastal gardeners) as orchids need water with salt below 875 ppm; salt levels higher than the maximum allotted amount will damage orchids. Salt levels less than 500 ppm are ideal, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
Orchids are tropical plants that thrive in warm environments, therefore making them prone to damage from colder temperatures. For orchid epidendrums, ideal temperature range is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not expose your orchid to temperatures that fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit as injury may occur; additionally, excessive heat has the potential to damage orchids as well, so following the ideal temperature range is key for successful care.
Understanding which diseases commonly affect orchid epidendrum will allow you to recognize symptoms if they arise. Orchid epidendrums are affected by leaf necrosis (also called black streak) and blossom necrotic streak. Leaf necrosis is a viral disease that causes dark streaks on leaf surfaces, leading to a plant that either shows no signs of illness or that becomes dry with diminished overall health. Blossom necrotic streak is a virus that causes streaks on blossoms and subsequently, leaves may develop streaks as well. Clean your pruning tools as transfer of both diseases is generally caused by unclean tools. For control, the University of Illinois Extension IPM recommends cleaning tools with rubbing alcohol and removal and destruction of infected plant parts. There is no cure for orchid viruses; the best control method is to begin with healthy plants.