Epidendrum parkinsonianum care infographicThe Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is one of the orchids known for its pendant inflorescence and fragrant flowers. The dramatic cascading growth of these orchids makes them highly desirable as house plants.

Bearing beautifully large flowers, the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum stands out from other similar orchids due to its intoxicating fragrance that grows stronger at night. Many orchid enthusiasts find that caring for Epidendrum Parkinsonianum plants brings them much pride, joy, and peace.

What Is an Epidendrum Parkinsonianum?

The Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is an eye-catching orchid plant with clusters of up to five flowers per inflorescence spike. Bearing beautifully large flowers, this plant stands out from other similar orchids due to its distinguishable fragrance that grows stronger at night. William Jackson Hooker first described the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum in 1840. 

Epidendrum Parkinsonianum Care

Endearing itself to novice growers and orchid connoisseurs, the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum remains a top favorite. Its dramatic flowers, enticing fragrance, remarkable growing habit, and ease in caring for these magnificent plants make them highly desirable.

Healthy Parkinson’s Epidendrum orchids can also be quite resistant to pest infestations and fungal infections.

– Water

The epiphytic characteristic of the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum means it can absorb moisture from the air. However, this does not mean that the orchid requires very little watering.

The orchid has adapted over time and enjoys moderate to heavy rainfall in its native habitats. Aside from this, the orchid gathers water from the heavy, humid air of the forests that it lives in.


In cultivation, Parkinson’s Epidendrum prefers regular and moderate watering, except in late spring to early autumn. During these active growing and flowering periods, moderate to heavy watering is advised.

Care should be taken that these beautiful orchids do not stay in stagnant water or that their roots become excessively damp to avoid root rot. In colder winter months, the watering amount and frequency should be reduced. Growers are recommended to keep the roots damp but not wet.

This is to keep the roots of the plants healthy and hydrated. Keeping the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum’s roots healthy during this season is important to prevent fungal growth or dehydration.

– Light

Parkinson’s Epidendrum flourishes in bright, filtered light. Being acclimated to its native habitats where it grows in the protected foliage of its hosts, the orchid prefers a long exposure to soft diffused lighting.

Parkinson’s Epidendrum prefers a long exposure

In cultivation, the orchid requires a light level of 20,000 to 30,000 lux.

Midday sun exposure should be avoided to prevent leaf burns since this orchid prefers shaded areas with maximum exposure to soft filtered lighting.

– Soil

The large pendant leaves of Parkinson’s Epidendrum make them ideal candidates for mounting. Large slabs of cork, tree fern, or rough bark slabs are great foundations in showcasing the branching growth habit of this fragrant specimen.

This type of material is also quick-draining, allowing the plant to enjoy copious amounts of watering without getting waterlogged.

Pots may also be used to display the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum orchids, although the substrate used should be highly permeable and quick-draining. Bark chips, sphagnum moss, perlite, and cork pieces are ideal substrate materials for potting mediums. Repotting Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is advisable when the plant has grown too large for its mount or pot.

– Temperature

Despite its tropical habitat, this orchid is moderately tolerant of lower temperatures. The hot warm climates of its native habitats have allowed the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum to enjoy daytime temperatures of 78 to 80 F. Nighttime temperatures can range from 55 to 58 F to allow the orchid time to rest for the duration of the night.

In cultivation, orchid growers are encouraged to maintain the warmth and the heat ranges of Parkinson’s Epidendrum. Some growers prefer to use sophisticated heating equipment, while others utilize rudimentary heating apparatus, especially during the colder months.

– Humidity

In cultivation, ideal humidity levels are 70 to 75 percent during the summer and early autumn. Colder winter seasons require 55 to 60 percent humidity to keep the roots and leaves from excess water, which could encourage fungal growths and infections.

– Fertilizer

In the wild, Parkinson’s Epidendrum usually procures its necessary nutrients from the surrounding decaying organic matter. The decomposing materials release much-needed nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which are essential for growth and reproduction for many plants.

In cultivation, the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum prefers a quarter to a half-strength dosage of the recommended strength of most orchid fertilizers. A fertilizer high in nitrogen is ideal for the orchid’s growing season, which is from spring to midsummer. Fertilizers high in phosphates are ideal when used in the late summer to autumn seasons.

– Rest Period

The Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is accustomed to warmer climates, so the wet seasons of its native habitats would be considered its resting season. However, in more temperate climates where winters are present, the orchid is generally recommended to undergo a real rest period.

Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is accustomed to warmer climates

During this time, watering frequency and the watering amount should be reduced. The most crucial factor is to eliminate excess water retention in the roots and in between the leaves of the plant.

Occasional misting and watering are recommended, although cultivators should be vigilant for any stagnant water or for signs of dehydration. Fertilization should be avoided during the resting period of the orchid plant, or at the very least, highly reduced.


In the wild, these scented blooms encourage moths at night to pollinate their flowers, creating orchid seeds. These seeds eventually mature and scatter to the air and ground, where the same ideal conditions nourishing the parent plant become growing grounds for the seedlings.

Growing Epidendrum Parkinsonianum seeds into fully mature plants can be a lifelong dream for some cultivators. This process can be painstakingly long and complicated, with growers reporting low yield and low viability. This approach can be time-consuming and costly.

In cultivation, growers prefer to cultivate these fragrant orchids through division, as this technique is the quickest and safest method. The system of plant division ensures a more viable yield, with seedlings growing to be similar to their parent plants.


Facts About the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum

– Other Names

Commonly called Parkinson’s Epidendrum, this magnificent orchid is also known by other names, such as Auliza Pugioniforme, Brassavola Pescatorei, Brassavola Pescatorii, Coilostylis Parkinsoniana, Epidendrum Aloifolium, Epidendrum Falcatum Var. Zeledoniae, and Epidendrum Pugioniforme.


Parkinson’s Epidendrum is a large, pendulous, clumping epiphyte that could grow to a foot long or more. Large specimens have been reported to grow more than five feet long.

Due to its scrambling growth habit, growers are encouraged to prepare a suitable place for this strikingly spectacular orchid. Once it begins its growing season, the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum becomes one of the most dramatic sights of the night.

– Leaves

The Epidendrum Parkinsonianum has large, curved pseudobulbs that are about four inches long. A single pendant lance-shaped fleshy leaf emerges from each pseudobulb, and the leaf can reach up to eighteen inches long. The cylindrical deep green leaves are quite fleshy and flaccid, and the tips are most often with a purplish hue.

– Roots

The roots of the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum are fine, white, and plump when healthy. The tips are tinged with green, which are then eventually sheathed in a protective white membrane to shield the roots from fungus and other infections.

Being an epiphytic grower, the orchid plant prefers constant dampness but not excessive or stagnant water. Frequent water-logged conditions may encourage root rot.

– Flowers

Parkinson’s Epidendrum is a showy plant with clusters of up to five flowers per inflorescence spike. The blooms of the orchid are pure white, with a showy yellow stain on the center of the flower. The bird-like flowers are very fragrant during the night and bloom profusely in the spring and summer seasons.

showy plant Parkinson’s Epidendrum

The blooms of the Epidendrum Parkinsonianum are usually four to six inches in size, widely spread, and tri-lobed. The inflorescence, which produces one to two flowers, lasts for approximately three weeks. The flower spikes come out from the leaf base where the pseudobulb is located.

Blooming Period

The orchid blooms several times during the year, especially in its native habitats. The unmistakably intoxicating citrus fragrance fills the night air once the flowering season starts. The flowers start to unfurl at night, which is an indication that this species is pollinated by nocturnal insects like moths.

Parkinson’s Epidendrum flowers also last quite long, with some growers reporting flowers lasting over a month. This characteristic makes the orchid quite popular for cultivators interested in sensorial gardening experiences, especially at night.

– Habitat

This exotic hothouse orchid calls Central America its native habitat, but surprisingly, it can be grown anywhere under ideal growth conditions. The Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is normally found in southern Mexico, through Central America, Guatemala, and Panama.

In these native habitats, the orchid plant can be found growing in the forests where large pines and great oaks are prevalent. The epiphytic nature of the orchid allows the plant to thrive between the branches and forks of their preferred tree habitats.


What are the disadvantages of Epidendrum Parkinsonianum?

Epidendrum Parkinsonianum has a few disadvantages such as high maintenance requirements, sensitivity to overwatering, and it can be susceptible to common orchid pests.

Is Epidendrum Parkinsonianum an air purifier?

No, Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is not an air purifier.

What pests does Epidendrum Parkinsonianum attract?

Epidendrum Parkinsonianum can attract common orchid pests such as aphids and spider mites.


The Epidendrum Parkinsonianum is a delight for many orchid growers, whether they are novices or experts. The fragrant flowers, the remarkably dramatic foliage growth, and the undeniable ease in caring and maintaining its health make this orchid quite popular and treasured.

Let’s go over what we know so far about this magnificent wonder:

  • The Epidendrum Parkinsonianum orchid has fragrant flowers that are heavily scented, especially at night.
  • The drooping growth habit of this orchid makes it an ideal specimen for orchid mounts and display pots.
  • Parkinson’s Epidendrum prefers high levels of bright diffused light, high humidity, warm temperature, and ideal watering frequency and amount.

Growing orchids can be quite fun and simple, despite their gorgeous tropical reputation. With a bit of care and some knowledge, anyone can coax these lovely plants into full growth and spectacular blooms, creating precious fragrant nighttime memories to last a lifetime.

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