Encyclia Orchids

Encyclia cochleata
Encyclia cochleata

Encyclia Orchids are a little known group of spring to summer flowering orchids, but popular with collectors.
E. cochleata and E. radiata are perhaps two of the most widely grown of the species.

Also worth looking for is Encyclia tampensis often referred to as the ‘Butterfly Orchid’.

Encyclia fragrans is from the Amazon basin and has a wonderful fragrant flower reminiscent of honey and vanilla.

Encyclia cochleata (right) is from Florida and Mexico and is sometimes referred to as the ‘cockleshell orchid’

Encyclias have a few interesting characteristics, for starters the lip is at the bottom of the flower and has three lobes. secondly the flowers actually emerge from a bulb, rather an appearing from a sheath that emerges first.
The lip at the bottom gives it the name ‘Upside down orchid’.

They are a wide ranging species with some from South America and some from the Caribbean, these two groups need to be treated differently when watering.

Encyclia Orchid Care

Encyclia vitellina

Mostly from Mexico and South America although they are a summer flowering orchid however they are also a much varied species and cultivation notes below are somewhat general.

  • Light – Similar to other Cattleya in light requirements.
  • Temperature – A range of 60 – 80 degrees F from winter to summer. (15C to 29C)
  • Humidity – 50% humidity is required for optimum growth.
  • Fertilization – Use a formulated orchid fertilizer one a month.
  • Water –
  • Water often enough to let the potting mix or sub strata dry completely between watering. Every 2 weeks is a guide depending on temperature.

Other Encyclia Orchids include: E. belizensis, E. selligera, E. tampensis, E. citrina, E. radiata, E. randii, E. hanburyi, E. alata and E. odoratissima.

Encyclia vitellina is a Mexican species. Strong color and long lasting flowers