Restrepia Orchids

An Introduction to Restrepia

First described by Humbolt, Bonpland, & Kunth in 1815 A member of Pleurothallidinae group of Orchids. This genus of small epiphytic or rarely lithophytic orchids is named in honour of Snr. José Manuel Restrepo, who first investigated the Natural History of the Andes in Colombia.

To date there are approximately 50 known species within the genus, and possibly as many variants, as yet unrecognised. Distribution ranges from Southern Mexico to Northern Argentina, where they can be found in the cool moist forests of the high Andes mountain range.

Restrepias are ideal for the 'cool' greenhouse, requiring in most instances, an average night temperature of 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit, combined with approximately 50% shading. A good indication regarding shade, can be measured by the colour of the leaves, which tend to turn a reddish colour under optimum conditions.

Flowers are normally produced one at a time from the base of the  rear of the leaf, and can occur at virtually any time throughout the year. Plants can be grown in a wide choice of potting mixtures, but in all cases it is important that the chosen mix does not dry out, as Restrepias requirea moist root run at all times. It is just as easy to grow them on mounts' of tree fern or cork bark, as well as potted.

This genus produces new young plants from the base of mature leaves, called keikis. These can be removed and grown separately, once the keiki has established a satisfactory root system. Alternatively, it is possible to remove a mature leaf, and by placing this in small pot of sphagnum moss, this will root within a few months.

Generally, Restrepias are an easy orchid to maintain, and within a few years, can produce a good-sized specimen. For those looking for a small trouble free orchid, I can thoroughly recommend them.

Species information from

Icones Pleurothallidinarum XIII

By Carlyle A. Luer

In collaboration with

Rodrigo Escobar Restrepo.