latin Name: Restrepia sp.
botanical Family: Orchids.
Key types: Restrepia are plants of small size, growing on the trunks mossy trees. The botanical species give small flowers (2 to 5 cm) to the warm colors with decorative patterns, well cut. The cross-breeding between the various species has allowed it to get hybrid flowers a little larger and easy crop.
The genus Restrepia has not been hybridized with other genres.
In the trade, we do not find these orchids practically in the specialized producers at exhibitions or on the Internet.
Uses: These miniature plants are interesting to make terrariums. Their flowering is almost continuous, this gives a decoration sustainable.
DESCRIPTION Flower of Restrepia antennifera . Motohiro SUNOUCHI
Origin: orchids of the genus Restrepia are native to the hillsides of the Andes mountains where they grow at altitudes between 1500 and 3500 m, depending on the species. They are found usually in the shade in forests or fog forests, in wet altitude where there is very high humidity all year round and good ventilation.
Main features: Restrepia form of tufts of thin stems bearing a terminal leaf, and scales are often very decorative. Almost throughout the year, flower stalks very short (1 to 2 cm) are born at the leaf base. Each flowering stem carries a single flower that lasts for about two weeks, but the stems follow one another regularly, so that flowering is often dramatic and can last for several months.
a Few species:
• R. antennifera is probably the most common, and it has the advantage of producing flowers quite large. This species has been widely used in hybridization to get big blooms, but hybrids like him a lot, which limits the interest.
• R. guttulata also has large flowers, and is dotted with pink.
• R. pandurata has small flowers, but the lip in the shape of a violin gives it a special elegance.
flowering Period: Almost all year round if temperatures remain cool.
Hardiness: Although pushing a rather high altitude, these plants are not hardy, but can withstand low temperatures. In winter, nighttime temperatures below 10°C does not bother them, but it will be important to ensure that the roots do not remain in a substrate soggy.
CULTURE AND CARE Restrepia ‘Terry Hayes’. Philippe Lemettais/SNHF
difficulty Level: Easy.
Ground level: For pot-culture, a substrate composed of pine bark particle size fine enough mixed with 50 % of ball clay is very appropriate. But you can also enjoy a growing semi-hydroponically only on balls of clay. Finally, these orchids miniatures are also grown on plates of vegetable fibres (hemp or flax) covered with foam wood.
Exposure: A window with a north exposure is ideal as it ensures a reasonable temperature, even in summer. The light requirement is low, it is necessary to ensure that they do not expose these plants in full sun. Leaves that turn red indicate that the plant is widely overexposed.
Media: These plants with the roots are very fine and do not appreciate being disturbed. This is why the culture in semi-hydroponics is the easiest because the substrate (consisting only of balls of clay) is a mineral and does not degrade. Same for the culture on plate.
Propagation : Divide a plant grown too large is quite risky because the scarring in high humidity increases the risk of rot. The section is carried out with a pruning shears in which the blades will be passed to the flame to disinfect. The surface area of the wound to be dusted with powder of cinnamon (natural antiseptic).
But you can also take leaf cuttings, by coating the base of a leafy stem in the foam kept always wet to 15-18°C.
Finally, it is common that develops at the base of the leaves of the keikis (name origin hawaiian meaning baby). When they have developed a root system sufficient, they can be detached and won normally
Driving culture :
Flower of Restrepia guttulata. Motohiro SUNOUCHI
• Watering: the growth of these plants is almost continuous, it should be watered regularly throughout the year without leaving the substrate to dry. When the plant is kept at a low temperature, two waterings per week should be enough. In the summer, watering every day. You can even leave the base of the pot or the plate, dip it into the water left in the saucer. The roots are very fine and the small size of the plant indicate a very low need for fertilizer. It will not be given once a month at half dose.
• Vaporization: These orchids grow in cool regions, or even cold, and there is a very high ambient humidity throughout the year (early morning dew is abundant, and fog persisted late into the morning). It is thus necessary to vaporize the water of rain in the morning throughout the year, and once or twice in the day in the summer when the temperature exceeds 24°C. ensure that the water does not accumulate among the bracts in the axils of the leaves because this could lead to rotting of the flower stalks.
• Temperature: it is necessary to try to maintain a cool temperature throughout the year. A veranda kept out the gel is, therefore, ideal for the cultivation of these plants. In summer, you can come out, suspended in the shade under a tree (watch out for slugs and snails). They will benefit as well to the coolness of the night.
Diseases and common parasites: These orchids are somewhat prone to attacks of parasites classics. Outside, it is especially necessary to pay attention to snails and slugs, and never leave a pot sitting on the ground.
File written by Philippe Lemettais, SNHF, section Orchids and indoor plants.
For more information
• The petit Larousse orchids P. Lecoufle, C. and D. Barthelemy and G. Schmidt.
• A compendium of miniature orchid species (vol 2), R. Parsons and M. E. Gerritsen.
• Native Ecuadorian orchids (vol 4) C. H. Dodson.