This genus includes about fifty species of epiphytic orchids, generally without pseudobulbs, originating in Central America and the Andean areas of South America. The long leaves are shiny, leathery and thick, dark green; the flowers, which bloom in summer, are yellow, pink, orange or purple; present him the sepals joined two by two, with characteristic streaks or dots of a purple or brown color; solitary bloom on short stems and usually rest on the leaves; in their natural environment these orchids produce flowers throughout the year. The stems are usually light in color, sometimes whitish. These particular orchids, if grown in their natural habitat, are able to bloom throughout the year. This is possible even when they are grown in pots but only when they are able to recreate the ideal environment for their perfect development. Of this great family, the best known varieties are the orchid guttulata with flowers 5 centimeters wide and very dotted, the orchid striated with particularly large flowers and last, not least, the orchid with orange petals and small dimensions.
Restrepy orchids need moderately bright positions, never exposed to direct sunlight, which would irreparably ruin the leaves due to too much heat. These are species that fear the cold, although some species can withstand temperatures below 4-5 ° C for short periods, being native to mountainous areas. In summer they can be placed outside, in a sheltered but very ventilated and cool place; in winter they must be collected at home or in a temperate greenhouse to facilitate optimal growth.
They need constantly moist soil all year long; in winter it is however good to wait for the soil to dry a little between one watering and another; frequently spray the leaves with distilled water to increase the environmental humidity. From March to October, provide specific fertilizer for orchids every 7-10 days, mixed with the water used for watering.
As we have seen for the other varieties of orchid, even our restrepia needs a particular type of soil to grow at its best and be vigorous. Then cultivate the restrepia in a mixture of shredded bark, perlite and sphagnum. As for the fertilizers, it is good to give specific liquid fertilizer for orchids about every ten days in the irrigation water. The best time to fertilize our orchids goes from March to the end of October.
These orchids reproduce easily by leaf cuttings; It is also possible to multiply these plants by practicing portions of the heads of leaves, trying to maintain a well-developed root for each portion practiced.
Restrepia: Parasites and diseases
Restrepy orchids do not particularly suffer from the attack of diseases and pests but it is important to pay attention to scale insects when they are grown in poorly ventilated places. Cochineal is a tiny insect or parasite which, by feeding on the sap contained in the leaves of our orchid, weakens the plant damaging its growth and development. Remove the cochineal manually with a cotton pad soaked in alcohol or use specific pesticide products available at nurseries and garden centers.