Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii

My favorite orchid, but not always that easy to grow.  I've learned over the years (thanks, Andy) that they like very high light and are much more temperature tolerant when given high light, very little fertilizer (some claim that fertilizer kills them, but my do well with small amount in nearly every watering), and lots of water and humidity.

The species comes from the highlands of Papua New Guinea, though it is also found in some lowland areas, and apparently there is a company in Taiwan that is breeding these warmer growing plants and producing plants that are very tolerant of warmer temperatures.  In any case it is notable for its unusual foliage, tiny growths and huge flowers.

The individual growths are around an inch tall with beautifully "pebbled" leaves and produce flowers that are well over an inch in size and that come in red, orange, yellow, pink, white and bicolor shades.  The flowers are very long lasting, staying fresh for six months or more, and the plants are seldom out of flower for that reason.

I still remember seeing this species for the first time many years ago and falling in love with it.  It has taken a long time and a lot of good advice to master the growing of it, however, but this seedling, blooming for the second time is evidence of success.  It is grown in a small clay pot in live sphagnum less than a foot from four T5 HO bulbs.

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