Epidendrum alatum is an epiphytic orchid native to Mexico and Central America. The pear-shaped pseudobulbs can reach up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long with 2-3 leathery leaves to 15 inches (37.5 cm) long. It is a very easy species to grow and makes a good orchid for beginners.
Blooming: In late spring to early summer, the 2 inch (5 cm) mildly fragrant flowers appear on erect peduncles that are longer than the leaves.
Culture: Epidendrum alatum needs partial shade to full shade with well-drained compost. In the greenhouse, we use a compost of equal parts of tree fern fibre and sphagnum moss. During the growing season, the plants are well watered on a daily basis and fertilized weekly with an orchid special fertilizer (30-10-10). In the fall, water is restricted and very little water is needed during the winter rest period. Keeping the plants on the dry side during this period helps to initiate flowers in the spring.
Propagation: Epidendrum alatum is propagated by division of the pseudobulbs in the spring after new growth has begun.
Epidendrum alatum was featured as Plant of the Week April 29-May 5, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.