Encyclia cordigera is probably the most showy species in the genus. Three colour forms exist, with my plant being intermediate between the fully pink and fully green forms. The fully pink form used to be known as Epidendrum atropurpureum, while the semi-alba form I have used to be known as Encyclia randii (or sometimes E. cordigera var. randii). As I understand it, all three colour forms are now known simply as Encyclia cordigera. This species comes from Mexico, though its habitat may stretch as far as Brazil. This wide distribution makes the plant quite adaptable to a variety of conditions, and it seems more than happy to grow and flower in my rather warm and humid grow-room. It is reportedly rather intolerant of being constantly damp, and needs a distinct drying period between watering, though in my experience, most of the roots extend along the top of the growing medium and so rarely stay wet for any length of time. It would be true to say that there is only one flush of roots per pseudobulb, and these do not grow throughout the entire year, meaning that watering should be cut back when the plant is not obviously growing. It is a good idea to keep this species underpotted as much as possible, as this will help to stop it sitting wet. I have experimented with other Encyclia species (E. tampensis, E. alata and E. cordigera var. alba) by growing them in baskets used for planting aquatic plants in pools, as they prefer drier conditions at the roots, but I have found they do better for me in shallow pots. This species also demands bright light, otherwise it won’t bloom well.
The flowers are long lived (around a month) and are scented. I confess I like the scent, but it does rather remind me of play dough, though there is reputedly quite a bit of variation in scent from plant to plant.
According to my research, this species blooms in late winter to spring, though, as I grow it under lights, I can often flower it twice a year. It blooms at the end of the growth cycle (for me), quite a while before new growth commences, and usually rests for a few weeks after flowering.
My plant has two growing points, and at the last blooming, it produced two inflorescences with three flowers each (which was disappointing). This time, only one new growth emerged, and its inflorescence produced six flowers. I hope the second growing point wakes up soon.