Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dendrobium kingianum

My largest Dendrobium kingianum is not blooming. It is big, overflowing an 18-inch pot. I believe it is not blooming because it spent the winter with the Cymbidiums in Sonoma, not well protected from the rain.

Dendrobium kingianum - Plant photo by Richard Lindberg

Dendrobium kingianum - Flower photo by Richard LindbergDendrobium kingianum grows in eastern Australia. It is fragrant, needs bright light and a dry winter rest. This is one of the plants that will go into the new covered growing area with the Mexican Laelias.

One of the other plantsBesides this large plant I have two reasonable sized divisions from my original collection plant and both of these are in bloom. They were in the greenhouse and had at least a mild dry period. In addition, being potted in rock meant that any water not grabbed by the roots ran off.


  1. Hi Richard, I have three different C.walkeriana in Hong Kong cultured in a balcony. The solar radiation these days are pretty strong (UV index very high), so I wonder whether my orchids can suffer that (it is said that walkeriana prefers strong to medium light). Thanks a lot :)

  2. Cattleya walkeriana is not a full-sun orchid. I grow mine in very bright but diffused light. I would not worry if your plants are not getting full sun during the middle 4 hours of the day.

    The UV index will not present much of a difference to the care of the plants.

  3. This was one of my very first orchids. I got "Dendrobium Kingianum: A Unique Australian Orchid" by Adams and Lawson to make sure I didn't kill them off. The original specimen was collected by my husband in the woods in the 1970s. Habitat pictures show them growing in full sun, on cliff tops and hill sides in NSW.

    According to the authors, failure to flower can be due to poor light over the gowth and maturation phases; potting mixture consistently too dry during the year; deterioration of potting mix with loss of roots and lack of a significant temperature drop during the night to initiate flowering.

    Did you have a very mild winter?


  4. Karen, Yes we did have a mild winter. Our normal winter is mild by most standards to begin with.

    The potting mix is a layer of coconut fiber inside a hanging basket. A few actively growing roots are poking through the fiber. No other medium.

  5. Mine get full sun till 11am or so and whatever rain water they get during the winter. Night time temps can go as low as the high 30s or 40s Fahrenheit but no frost. Winter day temps are usually 60-70s.

    Steve rescued the orchids from his parents' home in Sydney prior to the sale of the house - temps there are slightly lower. They grew there, completely unattended for 5years. In the past two years, they've completely filled the containers to overflowing and the flower display has been beautiful.

    One small growth sits on my kitchen window sill held in a hollowed rock with sphagnum moss. I doubt it will ever bloom due to insufficient sun light but the stems and leaves are so graceful to look at.