This genus is originally from the Caribbean
Islands. It is a compact grower, and the leaves
seldom exceed 6 inches. Because of its miniature
stature, a four-inch pot is large enough to hold a
specimen plant. This feature makes it very
desirable for those who have limited space in a
greenhouse or who grow orchids on windowsills.The
flowers of equitants come in a rainbow of colors
and a variety of patterns thanks to generations of
hybridization. The flower season is usually spring
or fall, but these little charmers can bloom year
round. Equitants have an undeserved reputation of
being difficult to grow. In fact, they will grow
with vigor and repay you with sprays of flowers if
the following culture requirements are met:
Light: Equitants prefer strong light : about
2000 to 3000 foot-candles and can be grown with
cattleyas. Leaves with a purple or bronze tint on
them indicate that the plants have received
sufficient light. They can tolerate 4000
foot-candles, but this much light is not
recommended. The most common reason that equitants
fail to spike and flower is insufficient light.
However, plants grown on a windowsill should be
shaded from direct sunlight with a sheer curtain.
Water: The roots of these plants are very
sensitive to salts, such as are found in tap water;
therefore, de- ionized, reverse osmosis water, or
even rain water is preferable to tap water.
Watering practices are very important. Early
morning or late afternoon is the best time to
water. Plants should be allowed to dry completely
before being rewatered.
Air: Air circulation helps evaporate water and
discourages fungus and bacteria; however, direct
drafts created by heaters or coolers are
Fertilizer: A weak solution of one-quarter to
one-half of the amount recommended on the package
label, is adequate. A balanced fertilizer of
20-20-20 or a higher nitrogen fertilizer such as
30-10-10 may be used weekly. Every fourth feeding,
a high phosphorus fertilizer such as 15-30-15 is
beneficial to stimulate root growth and encourage
blooming. Only plants in active growth should be
fed on this schedule.
Temperature: The optimum temperature range is
55-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Plants can survive lower
temperatures if they are kept dry, and higher
temperatures if plants are misted frequently.
Humidity: 50% to 70% is ideal .To increase
humidity, plants should be placed on pebble trays
and misted several times a day. This is especially
important if the plants are mounted.