The Epidendrum “Pom Pom” is the size of a softball with flowers that are a beautiful yellow with hints of red. It is a hybrid reed-stem Epidendrum orchid inflorescence, and like other reed-stems it is perfect for beginning growers because it is adaptable to a variety of conditions.
There has been a flurry of hybridizing activity with these orchids, so they now come in shades ranging from white to pink, lavender, red, orange, sunset colors and yellow. Pom Pom is more upright than the sprawling orange and yellow species, Epidendrum radicans, which is in its background, and Epidendrum cinnabarinum, another species also in the background.
The orchids sprawl eventually, and old flower stalks will develop keikis, or offshoots. By removing the spent flower spikes, you encourage the plant to send up new shoots from the base.
The plant grows to 3-plus feet in height. It likes full morning sun. Grow it in a mix that contains some organic material, such as peat moss or bark, to hold moisture. Or grow it in a well-draining garden bed. The plants bloom robustly with a regular fertilizer schedule. Cal-Mag 15-5-15 or Peter’s 20-10-20 can be used weekly in the warm months, every couple of weeks in cooler weather.
Once a month, give them 2 tablespoons of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) with 2 tablespoons potassium nitrate mixed in a gallon of water to strengthen cells and help them endure weather extremes.
MIAMI HERALD ARCHIVES