Epidendrum radicans – 365 days of orchids – day 1944

Some orchids are always in flower and Epidendrum radicans is one of them. I have heard it described as straggly as it climbs its way around the greenhouse but I would not be without it.

We have seen the species growing in Costa Rica in wet secondary forest at around 1400m altitude where the plant starts life at or near the ground and then scrambles up through the scrub. It has an interesting habit of developing twisting flower spikes that cling onto surrounding plants both in the wild and in cultivation. The flower spike shown here is well away from the pot it was once in and provides an unexpected and welcome burst of colour amongst neighbouring plants. On the downside, Epidendrum radicans produces lots of roots and these can take over nearby pots.

Epidendrum radicans grows long canes up to 2m long with terminal flower spikes. The flower spikes continue to produce flowers for more than twelve months and at any time they carry 10-15 really attractive flowers that are bright scarlet. The species is butterfly pollinated.

We grow plants in our Cool Americas to replicate the conditions we found in its Costa Rican home.


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