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  • 4 Post By Michael Saar
  • 2 Post By catttan
  • 2 Post By gnathaniel

Dendrobium species: anything I'm missing?

This is a discussion on Dendrobium species: anything I'm missing? within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; When I first got into orchids, I started with hybrid Cattleyas and one hard-cane Dendrobium. ...

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  1. #1
    poetiscariot's Avatar
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    Default Dendrobium species: anything I'm missing?

    When I first got into orchids, I started with hybrid Cattleyas and one hard-cane Dendrobium. The latter did so well that I ordered a bunch of Den species, and found out the hard way that they were not nearly so forgiving or easy to grow. I have more time on my hands than I used to, and I certainly know a lot more, so I thought I'd try my hand at a few again:

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    Left to right: Den. anosmum, Den. faciferum, Den. findlayanum, Den. goldschmidtianum, Den. victoriae-reginae.

    In general, my thoughts are: high light, similar to Cattleyas, but more constant humidity/watering. Any more advice?

    Are findlayanum and faciferum hard to grow? I don't know why I haven't seen them everywhere -- they make such cool-looking plants! When I unpacked the faciferum, I chased one of my cats all around the living room, trying to show her how cute it is. She was, mysteriously, totally unimpressed. (I have no humans in my life who care about orchids to whom I can show off my plants. My cats, as a result, regularly suffer my enthusiasm.)

    The goldschmidtianum is bursting out of its pot, but I never have gotten a good feel for when Dens need repotting and when they're happily potbound. What do you think? Repot, or let it go another growth cycle or two? The bark it's in looks good.

  2. #2
    Magnus A's Avatar
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    A nice collection you have there!

    I am not a keen hard cane dendrobium grower but I would only repot an orchid when it try to escape the pot! Exception, if the substrate has broken down and is in urgent need of exchange I repot anyway...

    /M

  3. #3
    Michael Saar is offline Senior Member
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    I haven't grown all of these, but here are some inferences, based on related species. The species anosmum and findlayanum are in the same section as nobile, and should respond to a cool, dry winter rest. D. victoria-regina is a cool to intermediate temperature plant, which apparently requires no rest. D. faciferum is in the same group as D. crumenatum, and if it responds similarly, is a high-light, year-round grower which will bloom any time of year with a sufficient sudden temperature drop; crumenatum reblooms on old canes. D.. goldschmidtianum is a warm grower, apparently needing a slight rest in winter. My main point is that they require slightly different environments to grow and bloom, so a little research on your part are recommended. Several, if happy in their environment, have the potential to grow large enough to be unwieldy under lights.

  4. #4
    poetiscariot's Avatar
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    I do know that some of these can get very large. The anosmum is supposed to be a very fast grower. I'm hoping within one to at most two years to be in a better job, and also in a bigger apartment or a house where I can make an entire room into a solarium/grow space. If not, well, they may get big and go back on auction. That's a good problem to have, though.

    I had thought I'd figured out that Den. goldschmidtianum and Den. victoriae-reginae were about the same in culture, but perhaps not. There's not a lot I can do about temperature, either for different plants or to try to cool them down for blooming -- my entire apartment building is on one thermostat, and I don't control it. I feel like, well, let's see how any of these will do, and if they don't thrive, they don't, but it's worth experimenting with them. I should probably find a way to mark the winter-rest ones -- put something on their tags, maybe -- so I don't have to stop and think about it every time I water. That makes me nervous, as I guess it does a lot of people. I'd almost rather just grow them and not even have them bloom, but that does kind of miss the point.

    This is the kind of comparative information I really needed, though. It's much easier to grasp than reading individual culture sheets for plants I'm not familiar with and trying to put things together on my own. So thank you tons for sharing all that.

  5. #5
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    Except for faciferum, which does not need a winter rest and victoriae-reginae which needs cool, moist conditions; the others need a cool, dry winter of between 2 - 3 months to initiate blooming usually in the spring and early summer. Apart from faciferum, here we consider the others as soft cane dendrobes and mostly mount them to allow the canes to assume their natural drooping/pendulous inclination. To grow them upright in pots one has to stake them.

  6. #6
    poetiscariot's Avatar
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    Those of you who grow these kinds of plants successfully, what do you look for to tell you when to stop watering? What tells you when to start again? I've seen a lot of advice to stop at some particular time of year (early November; January), but since I'm growing in conditions very different from these orchids' native habitats, I'd rather look for physical signs. I know nobiles are supposed to lose all their leaves. I can't tell from what I'm finding on google whether that's true of Den. anosmum and Den. findlayanum, or of the rest of these.

  7. #7
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    Great thread with really great information about hard cane dendrobiums. Thanks!

    cheers,
    BD

  8. #8
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    It's not necessary or even always wise to keep species like anosmum and findlayanum bone-dry throughout winter; the primary blooming and growth-cycle cue for this group seems to be temperature rather than dryness. Many (including these two species) tend to drop leaves when kept cooler, and due to lack of growth and decreased transpiration they will need/want much less water. I water all of my section Dendrobium species and hybrids throughout the winter and the only problem I've ever had with it is that new growths may rot if wetted while temps are still cool (mostly only an issue with finickier species like unicum).

    If you're really interested in Dendrobium species I'd suggest you get a copy of the Bakers' Dendrobium culture book, they provide exhaustive natural habitat data and growing tips for thousands of species in the genus. If you don't want to spring for the whole book then you can also get individual culture sheets from their website.

  9. #9
    Itoy is offline Junior Member
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    Dendrobium, in general is relatively easy to grow but difficult to flower. I'd been growing dendrobium for a long time. A matured Dendrobium will grow to specimen size within 3 years. They requires bright ligth (50% shade) and water every day from March to October. You can fertilize it within this time period. Now, how do you initiate flower buds???? The trick is to withold the water between November through January and keep the plant in a cold or cool place (between 50-65 degrees F). Dendrobium think they are going to die because of lack of water and cold temperature, and by sending out flower, they are now in surviving mode. Dendrobium anosmum will not flower without doing this. If you withold the water but failed to place this plant in a cold space, the stalk will lost the leaves and kekies will appear instead of flower buds.
    Majority of plants do this surviving mode when they get stress-out or being physically damaged, and orchid plants are one of them. Have you ever experience that when your plant received an AM or CCE or FCC award and then after receiving the award, the plant will suddenly die? I'm not saying that an award is a bad omen or a death sentence for the plant but this is in fact, true.

  10. #10
    King Kjeldz is offline Senior Member
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    i have D.anosmum....so funny seeing it straight in a pot like that...its a pendant species...does well in a basket and i live in the tropics and for sure they flower around March after a dry 3 months cuz dry season starts in November...so i dont think temp. drop is the stimulant...its definitely the water,,butt no need to be kept bone dry as someone says earlier...if u see a little cane (pb) shrivel give some water sans fert.

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