Clear Mountain Garden Treasures
 

Clear Mountain Garden TreasuresCulture and Germination - Soft Cane Dendrobium Hybrids

deciduous
Shedding of leaves at the
end of the growing season
see also Plant Life Cycle.
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pseudobulb
A swollen stem found mainly in orchids
see also Bulbs, Corms and Tubers.
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pseudobulb
A swollen stem found mainly in orchids
see also Bulbs, Corms and Tubers.
Hide
Soft Cane Hybrids
Family Orchidaceae
Name Dendrobium Spp.
Common Name Soft Cane Dendrobium

Soft cane Dendrobium hybrids are bred from species in the section Eu-Dendrobium, primarily using Dendrobium nobile. As their name suggests, they have deciduous soft pliable canes. Most require a dry rest in the winter to flower well.

Culture

These cool growing Dendrobium orchids are very easy to grow. In the Summer, they require good light (filtered Sunlight is best) and plenty of water. Good air circulation, especially if grown indoors, is needed to prevent fungal diseases. Keep away from frosts. In areas Auckland and North, they will be fine if kept close to the house in the Winter. In areas further South, bring them indoors or into a conservatory to over Winter.

Life Cycle

Growth usually begins in Spring, after they have flowered. This usually starts as a small shoot from the base of the plant. The young shoot is vulnerable to slugs and snails at this stage, so lay plenty of bait. As the shoot grows, the plant also grows roots. If it seems potbound, with roots growing out of the pot into the air, now is a good time to pot it on to a larger container. Start watering the plant, initially once a week, but gradually increasing, as the weather warms, to daily in late Spring. Feed everytime you water with a weak liquid fertiliser, around quarter strength. Alternatively, feed with a 6 month slow release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, which will be sufficient for the year. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, or if there is none specifically for orchids, feed at half the recommended strength.

The shoot eventually grows into a cane, technically, an elongated pseudobulbs. During the Summer, the leaves continue to feed the cane, and the aim is to grow it large enough to flower. The canes will keep growing throughout the Summer, and only stops growing when colder weather sets in. Older canes may lose their leaves, this is normal. Do NOT cut off older canes as these will continue to flower. Stop feeding at the end of Summer.

With the arrival of colder weather in the Autumn, gradually reduce watering to once a week. When Winter sets in, be sure to protect the plants from frosts. There will be little or no growth during Winter, so only water sparingly, just enough to keep the plants from drying out. If grown outdoors, there is no need to water during Winter, and in fact, the plants benefit from protection against the rain.

Flowering

Flowering is usually in the Spring, before growth starts. The flowers are produced along the cane, usually on older canes that have lost their leaves.

Kei Kei

Kei Kei is the Hawaiian word for babies. In orchid culture, a kei kei is a an advantitious shoot growing usually on top of a pseudobulb. It is so names because a kei kei will often grow roots and when detached, can be grown as a new orchid plant. Some orchids kei kei more often than others, but the production of too many kei kei's usually means there is something wrong with the culture of the plant. For example, if grown in too much shade, the plant will grow a kei kei in the place of a flower spike. Plants with rotten roots will grow kei kei's as a means of survival. Most healthy growing orchids should produce only 2-3 kei kei's a year.

Kei kei's should be removed from the parent plant as soon as they are large enough to pot, and have a few roots. Leaving them on the parent plant makes the parent look untidy, and kei kei's are poor growers, often not flowering. If you do not want too many orchids, you can detach the kei kei's at the time the plant is repotted, and plant the kei kei's beside the mother plant. In time the growth will merge and you will end up with a very large and showy plant.


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