Restrepia is a small genus of 49 species which are mostly epiphytic & rarely liphophytic, they are closely related to Pleurophallis and named in honor of Don Jose Restrepo. They are found primarily at higher altitudes in the cool, damp montane forests of the Andes, Venezuela with some into Central America and southern Mexico.
This is my personal growing experience of Restrepia and can say I am having great success with them, I don’t have too many; probably 30 or so. I first got my very first Restrepia from a orchid friend about 10 years ago (2003) and got to say I was pretty unimpressed with what Restrepia had to offer! It was a young plant in a 2 1/2″ pot, but boy was I wrong about this lovely species, I was unaware that they can flower like a fire ball! After all I had only ever seen plants with very few little flowers on them. Well here is a picture of that very same plant and to find out my regime for growing them read on…….
Well here it was 9 years on (2012)
This is how I grow them and it is very simple; well they are for me any how. If you follow similar principals there is no reason why you shouldn’t get similar results…
My Restrepia are in my 10c minimum half of the greenhouse which does get 10c in winter and get very similar culture as my Masdevallia, they are on a tray shelf above my Masdevallia so get more light than them. They are potted in coconut husk chips and have been for about a year now, they was previously potted in a fine bark, perlite and sphagnum moss mix.
When I first had the little plant I used to stand it in a little bit of water! the pot sat in a small shallow dish which had a small amount of water in the dish so the plant did not dry out. Restrepia love moisture at root level as they have no water storage like Dendrobiums or Cattleyas have pseudobulbs. So keep them well watered and don’t allow to excessively dry out, slightly dry between watering is fine. I don’t tend to stand them in water any more as the CHC hold a good amount of water.
(Update 2013- I have now potted this Restrepia in sphagnum moss as it had a set back for some reason- CHC I think)
(Update 2016- It continued to sit there in a mess so its now potted in a small bark/moss mix- Please recover! Pretty sure now coconut husk was to blame, it simply didn't last as long as was quoted, 16 months and it degraded causing root rot, I've lost many plants to this.)
I feed every time I water so in summer they get a regular feed and in winter a lot less as watering is a lot less frequent.
For more information on feeding orchids and water see my other articles. I feed all my orchids on the same feeding regime.
Restrepia also have a love for good humidity and in summer along with my Masdevallia they are close to my hydrofogger.
They are located on the east facing side of my greenhouse and this side is shaded by 1 pm by a building and tree. I also put on a layer of shading as soon as the temperature consistently reaches 29c( 85f) , I also put on another layer of shade netting this just covers the roof above the Restrepia and Masdevallia, so covers the west side. You sometimes get a red tinge to the leaves as you can see in the picture, I would say if the red tinge is excessive then increase shading.
When the outside minimum temperature has reached 10c consistently the greenhouse is completely opened up day and night to let fresh air flow through.
I really do think Restrepia are a free flowering easy orchid to grow and deserve more attention than they get!
I hope this has inspired you to have a go at growing these gorgeous plants or has helped with your own regime………..