Cockleshell orchids, or Encyclia orchids, thrive when planted on an orchid mount, which mimics the epiphytic growth conditions they would experience in the wild. The Encyclia orchid is sometimes compared to an octopus due to the way its petals and sepals dangle downward. However, despite its lackluster fragrance, the Encyclia orchid can produce flowers for up to four months straight. Both the leaf and the growth characteristics of this species are similar to those of the Cattleya species.
The orchid family is directly related to a genus called Encyclia (Encyclia). It brings together more than 160 different plant species that are lithophytes and epiphytes. They exist naturally throughout Central and South America.
The flower spike originates at the tip of the pseudobulb. Some species boast absolutely stunning blossoms. Generally speaking, the flowers of other species are either not very impressive or not very important. The blossoms of one particular species of Encyclia reach a diameter of four centimeters. Plants in this genus can be either strictly epiphytic or occasionally terrestrial. They range in size from minute to massive, with or without rhizomes, and reproduce by underground stolons that move and branch out.
The presence of rhizomes is not required. Formerly, many species in the genus Epidendrum possessed pseudobulbs that looked like huge onions. The majority of these species are now known to be members of the genus Encyclia. All species with thin, unbranched, or branching stems that bear leaves at regular intervals along their whole length are currently classified as belonging to the genus Epidendrum.
The size of the plant’s pseudobulb determines the size of its leaves, which can be anywhere from 2 inches to two feet long. Pseudobulb covering bracts are often a vibrant green. The number of leaves that form at the top of the bulb typically ranges from two to three. The leaves are longer than they are wide and taper toward the end, and their thickness helps them to retain more water. The lip is not completely attached to the column, but it unfolds in a distinct hue after emerging from it. A Cattleya-like ruffled lip, or an Oncidium-like flat, broad lip, are also possible lip shapes.
Somehow, Encyclia orchids always seem to be blooming. They can keep flowering for months at a time. Clam-shaped flowers have intricate coloration and patterning. The loose arrangement of its petals and sepals has led some horticulturists to compare this species of orchid to a clam, while others have drawn comparisons to an octopus. Yellowish-green petals fall to the ground to create what are practically tentacles.
Tips Grow and Care Encyclia Orchid
This plant is extremely unassuming and may be grown by both seasoned and beginning orchid growers.
Place Encyclia Orchids in an area that gets bright, filtered light, and indirect. While fluorescent lighting cannot fully replace the natural light, it can stimulate growth. A plant will thrive in the morning’s optimal sunlight through an east-facing window, which will also protect its leaves from the afternoon sun.
Orchids in this genus require extremely bright illumination. In general, it should be distributed simultaneously, but some varieties can endure the sun’s direct rays. Nevertheless, these blossoms must be protected from the sun’s harsh noon rays in order to prevent burns from developing on the foliage’s surface.
On the window sill of a southern, western, or eastern orientation, a flower pot is preferred. Regardless of which window the plant is in, special phytolamps must be used in the fall and winter months when sunshine hours should range from 10 to 12 hours.
The majority of species require a warm or moderate temperature environment. A difference in daily temperatures must be provided in this scenario by the plant. Therefore, you must make an effort to keep the temperature between 13 and 16 degrees at night and 18 to 22 degrees during the day throughout the entire year. Flower gardeners with experience advise giving Encyclia a daily temperature difference of about 5 degrees.
It is advised to transfer the orchid outside during good weather in the summer season (May to October). She must, nonetheless, offer defense against wind gusts, harsh sunshine, and precipitation. It is much simpler to keep the desired temperature on the street.
Plant in potting soil that has an excellent drainage system. The roots of the plant should be allowed to become moist, and then they should be allowed to fast dry. Some ideal possibilities for this are coarse fir bark, river rocks, hardwood charcoal, lava rock, bits of broken crockery, and chunks of tree fern.
Set the container on a bed of wet pebbles and mist it every so often with a spray bottle to introduce some mildly humid air. The orchids of the genus Encyclia are native to humid and warm habitats like woods, woodlands, and swamps.
Orchids like these thrive in humid environments and can be found growing on tree trunks and branches. They absorb water and nutrients from the air and precipitation. Species that evolved in South America likely get the moisture they need from the air itself, thus they don’t need a lot of water. Only when their pseudobulbs dry out, which is not often, do Brazilian species need watering.
It is recommended to water Florida and Caribbean native species once every seven days during the warm months with room temperature water or natural rainfall. Keep the soil dry around the roots between waterings. Water the orchid no more than once every two weeks while it is dormant in the winter. A more frequent watering schedule should be implemented as new growth appears. Central American species have slightly lower water needs than those of the aforementioned species, but higher needs than their South American and Brazilian counterparts.
It doesn’t require a lot of humidity for the plant. The ideal humidity range is between 50% and 70%. You can add some water to the pan of expanded clay, an open container of liquid next to it, or both to increase the humidity. You can utilize home humidifiers or steam generators if the humidity level is extremely low. Expert flower gardeners advise spraying water on the plant, bark, and moss at least once each day.
In order to keep Epidendrum and Encyclia healthy and growing to their maximum potential, they need to be fed on a regular basis. Fertilizing once every seven days from spring through fall and watering well in between fertilizer applications can keep your plants healthy and happy. In the late fall and winter, a monthly sprinkle of food is all that is required.
There should be no incompatibilities between the fertilizer recipe and the soil. Use 20-20-20 with wood fern, charcoal, and other inorganic aggregates, but use 30-10-10 with fir bark. Fertilizers that don’t have urea in them should be applied at a half-strength. Nitrogen in fertilizers containing urea is not as readily available as in fertilizers that don’t contain urea.
Fertilizers that provide additional micronutrients are optimal. The micronutrients not only promote healthy new growth but also provide structural strength and vibrancy to the blossoms.
only transplanted when necessary. Therefore, if the container or block becomes smaller or if the substrate becomes acidic and begins to decompose, this operation is carried out.
This plant is in a dormant stage. He doesn’t require it for healthy development and profuse flowering. It will be required to artificially generate stress for a bloom if it appears healthy on the outside but has not developed a single peduncle in 12 months. For 11–14 days, entirely stop watering, and omit a number of fertilizer steps.
Propagating Encyclia Orchids
Cut into sections corresponding to each of the four pseudobulbs or stems. Take out any roots that are dead, and lay the divisions aside. A week later, additional root growth will certainly occur. Repot the newly purchased plants and put them in a location with slightly less light for the next few weeks.
Potting and Repotting
Because Epidendrum and Encyclia Orchids do not enjoy having their roots disturbed, repotting them should only be done when absolutely required. After the plant has finished flowering, you can repot it if necessary. Soaking in warm water for ten minutes will help lessen the likelihood of damaging the roots of the root.
Pot in a clay pot, or if the humidity is high, the orchid may also survive in a wooden basket. This will allow for airflow and over roots and help prevent problems associated with overwatering. Plastic is also acceptable, despite the fact that water from clay evaporates more slowly.
Pests and diseases
A plant may become home to a spider mite. If this pest was discovered, the bloom should be given a warm shower (about 45 degrees), and the foliage should be carefully washed.
If the care guidelines are broken, it can become ill. Therefore, excessively frequent and profuse watering may cause rot, while extremely poor watering will cause the roots to dry out and cause burns on the leaves. Furthermore, you won’t likely wait for flowering in inadequate lighting.
Types of Encyclia with a photo
The majority of Encyclia varieties are well-liked by flower producers, but hybrids of these plants are even more in demand.
Growing in enormous colonies while clinging to sheer rock faces. Short rhizomes, with dense, ovoid, green pseudobulbs measuring up to 5-9 centimeters in length and 4.8 centimeters across. Linear, paired, or occasionally single, leaves are between 20 and 36 centimeters long, 8-13.5 millimeters broad, thick, leathery, and semi-succulent.
Inflorescences that can be racemose but are most commonly paniculate, with blooming stalks measuring between 30 and 72 (or 135 cm). Flowers with a yellowish-brown coloration with a diameter of between three and three and a half centimeters and a fragrant smell in the morning and early afternoon. Branches are typically thin.
Of all the species that make up this genus, this one is the most gorgeous. Medium-sized pseudobulbs, which can grow to a height of 5 to 7 cm when mature, make up the flower itself. The leaves have a length of between 30 and 50 centimeters.
The multi-flowered peduncle measures one meter long. Large, fragrant blossoms that can reach a diameter of 10 cm are painted a delicate shade of pinkish-purple. Petal and sepal shapes are both narrowly lanceolate. The triangular lip is relatively wide, but because the central lobe’s lateral portions are curved downward, it takes on a wedge-like form. There are dark purple longitudinal strokes in the lip’s center, and a snow-white speck may be seen at the lip’s base.
Due to its fragrant blossoms and easy maintenance, this plant has gained great popularity. It is sufficiently big. The shrub can therefore grow as high as 1.5 meters and as wide as 0.5 meters. The length of the peduncles bearing several flowers matches that of the bushes. The flowers are rather little, only growing to a diameter of 5-6.5 cm.
Spatulate or obovate-shaped thin petals and sepals are yellowish-green in color. There are numerous little crimson spots scattered over their upper portion. Large, whitish-yellow lateral sections near the lip are shaped like a wide oval. Longitudinal burgundy colored strokes are painted on the lip’s triangular core portion, and bright yellow color is painted on the lip’s wavy edge.
It’s fairly common to see this small species. It differs in that it can grow relatively dense, thick, green colonies. The leaflets of mature pseudobulbs measure 40 centimeters in length and have a linear-lanceolate shape. Mature pseudobulbs range in height from 2 to 3 cm.
Peduncles typically don’t rise above the leaves and carry several blooms. Only 2.5 cm in diameter, little fragrant flowers. The lance-shaped sepals and petals are a brownish golden color. White paint is applied to the wide spade-shaped lip. Longitudinally hazy purple veins can be seen on its surface.