Epidendrum, Encyclia & related Genera Care Sheet (Panarica, Prosthechea)

Light & Air   These plants require a large amount of light. Once established, filtered sunlight should be supplied. Both Epidendrum and Encyclia grow very well in an area with house screening overhead, such as a pool or patio enclosure. The ideal location is an east facing area, where the plants will get morning sun, but not the hot afternoon sun.

Temperature  In very general terms, a range of 50° to 85° F. is preferable for most plants, although certain species from higher altitudes are happier with cooler temperatures.

Water & Fertilizing  Epidendrum and Encyclia require abundant moisture at their roots, especially when in active growth. When the pseudobulbs are mature, the watering should be somewhat curtailed. They should be placed in a very well draining medium. Water once or twice times a week in relatively cool weather, but at least 3 times a week in hot weather.  They should be fed consistently, when in full growth. During the Spring through early Fall, fertilizing every seven days, with several clear waterings in between, will make your plants happy. In the late Fall through Winter, a light feeding once a month will suffice.
Potting   Epidendrum and Encyclia do not resent being disturbed, so re potting should be undertaken whenever necessary. The best time is after all flowering has ceased. To minimize root damage, a warm water soak for 10 minutes, will make most roots very pliable and easier to remove from the container.
   The best potting container for Epidendrum and Encyclia plants is clay orchid pots or plastic pots. Water in plastic pots does not evaporate as fast as in clay pots, but if adjustments in watering frequency are made, no problems will be encountered. Wooden baskets are ideal and can be used to grow specimen size plants, as the plants can grow in the same basket for many years. The baskets allow free airflow over the roots, and eliminate over watering problems.
    The potting medium must be well-drained, i.e. coarse fir bark, lava rock, river rocks, pieces of broken pottery, chunks of tree fern, hardwood charcoal, etc. so that the roots can be wet, but then dry quickly.     When dividing these plants, always divide into parts with four pseudobulbs or stems. Remove any dead roots from the divisions, and then lay the divisions aside until new root growth begins. At that time, usually a week or so, repot the divisions in their new pots. Now the plants can be watered and fertilized as usual, without worrying about rotting them, because they retained no roots in the division. Newly repotted plants should be placed in slightly lower light for several weeks.


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