Epidendrum radicans, also known as reed-stem epidendrum or fire star orchid, is a beautiful, easy care orchid suitable for the ground or in a pot.
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Epidendrum Radicans: The Easiest Orchid You’ve Never Heard Of
When Mom brought over this epidendrum radicans, I fell in love, but figured that it would an unrequited love. Orchids are known to be fussy and high maintenance, and as I may have mentioned in my introduction, I am not good with plants. I have to take a highly specialized approach to growing them. I call it, “Ask Mom.” My mom has more green thumbs than a Jolly Green Giant family reunion.
When she arrived on my doorstep one day with a new plant and a hopeful look, I couldn’t help but shiver with fear. Would my utter incompetence be the doom of yet another horticultural gift? I would be able to handle it just fine, if only there were no watering, weeding, trimming, or fertilizing required.
I jest. Sort of. After I read up on the details of epidendrum radicans, I realized that this plant and I might actually have a future together. It’s a “vigorous growth” orchid with a “forgiving nature” (Orchids Magazine, September 1998) that grows well on the ground or in a pot.
Epidendrum radicans is also known by several other names.
- Fire star orchid
- Reed-stem epidendrum
- Ground-rooting epidendrum
- Rainbow orchid
- Crucifix orchid
Epidendrum radicans can handle a wide range of temperatures, even down to near-freezing. Believe it or not, it is actually considered a weed in certain parts of the world!
According to Andy Phillips of Andy’s Orchids, daytime temperatures should range between 60 and 90 F, while nighttime should range between 30 to 70 F. Bring the plant indoors if there’s a danger of frost, and return it to the outside in the springtime, being careful not to burn the leaves by exposing immediately to direct sun.
Care and Feeding
Epidendrum radicans needs plenty of light, so choose a brightly lit or full sun location. Keep the roots moist (without letting it sit in water) and fertilize regularly with any balanced fertilizer.
I haven’t watered or fertilized my outdoor epidendrum radicans in over a year, but your mileage may vary. You will probably want to give yours a little more TLC. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with more frequent and dense blooms, plus thicker and greener foliage.
Get more gardening tips, and please comment below with your suggestions for easy-to-grow plants! I may feature them in an upcoming article. I also enjoyed reading Orchids for Dummies as research for this article. You might enjoy it, too.
Cindy T. Moore
Wednesday 29th of May 2019
I was given the plant by a friend and I literally have done nothing to it.It is blooming profusely.
Friday 4th of January 2019
I have then in 3 different colours and growing in different mediums (soil, orchid potting mix and on a tree). I find they prefer semishade (but maybe that's because the sun is quite harsh in the southern hemisphere. They are amazing and so rewarding!
Wednesday 14th of November 2018
i bought a cutting from an Orchid show down here in SoFlo 2 years ago. As it resembled a Vanda, I treated it as such. 1 year.... no new growth. This year I visited the same show and saw a grower with one in a pot. I have since tried to duplicate this same technique. That was 7 months ago. Nothing. I have 3 thick roots that appear healthy. I still treat it as a Vanda. Waiting????? I'm optimistic.
Tuesday 15th of October 2019
Plant in a pot of light soil. Give it a splash of Bloom Builder or similar- and stand back- Watch it thrive. We stuck the pot in the flowerbed- got filtered sun . Be sure the pot drains well- they don’t like get feet.
Thursday 15th of February 2018
It was love at first sight when I first encountered Reedstem Orchids. Two years later I finally planted one of these beauties by the front door. On Valentine’s Day yesterday it bloomed for the first time!
Sunday 18th of February 2018
That's wonderful! They're so pretty.
Friday 17th of March 2017
I don't know the names of many orchids but I knew there are tons! Love the colors on this one, so bright.