A Decade of Epidendrums

We’re celebrating a milestone in our garden: orchids which have been in continuous bloom for over a decade! These brilliant red Epidendrums have thrived outdoors here in San Francisco, surviving 10 years of strong winds, heat waves, grey winters, heavy rains, close to freezing temps, occasional hailstorms, and battles with raccoons. Through it all, they’ve kept their blooms. Typically, each plant boasts more than a dozen flower clusters rising above it.

Epidendrum flowerEpidendrum flowersEpidendrum flower close up

Reed-stem Epidendrums come in a wide palette of brilliant colors, and are well suited for outdoors in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Individual flowers can last for many weeks, and new ones are constantly opening. And I must admit that they’ve bloomed for so long that I take them for granted in the garden scenery. They were originally a gift from an acquaintance living in San Francisco’s Forest Hill neighborhood. She had found them growing wild in her garden many years earlier, when she first moved into her home.

Reed stem Epidendrum flowersEpidendrum flowerEpidendrums in bloom, outdoors in San Francisco

These vigorous plants frequently form seed capsules after pollination by Anna’s Hummingbirds. The capsules take several months to swell up, and then burst open, releasing clouds of minuscule seeds to float in the wind. Seedlings can grow to flower in three years. The mature plants also continually make keikis, so they’re easy to share, and I’ve given many to friends and neighbors over the years. It’s a guarantee that these tough orchids will be around for decades to come.

Reed stem Epidendrum flowersEpidendrum flowers with water dropsEpidendrum seed pod

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6 Comments on “A Decade of Epidendrums”

  1. Michelle Accettura Says:

    Wow! How amazing it is to keep your plants blooming for a decade! You are lucky to have such mild winters.

  2. chu8 Says:

    I’d like to says thanks for your phtos. Your blog is both informative and interesting…

  3. Patricia Says:

    This orchid was given to me on Mother’s Day by my son. Mine is still blooming too. Its only been 4 months but I have hopes it will bloom as long as yours!

    Thanks so much for your post.

  4. Albert Diaz Says:

    interesting to see on epidendrums the flowers are upside down. The lip is at the top, rather than the bottom. Beautiful photos.

  5. keith9 Says:

    Informative and precise…

  6. Erica Chan Says:

    So beautiful! Thanks for sharing the pictures.