Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dendrobium kingianum

Dendrobium kingianum - Flower photo by Richard LindbergTwo years ago I removed several keikis from my large Dendrobium kingianum. I put them in 2-inch pots in bark and staked up with bamboo skewers. They did poorly the first year and the second. I have only six left, all the rest have died.

Dendrobium kingianum grows in eastern Australia. It is fragrant, needs bright light and a dry winter rest.

These are now beginning their third summer growing season since they were removed. If I had grown them well, they might bloom this year. Instead, they have got progressively weaker. I will continue to work with them. There is a whole class of Dendrobiums that I have no confidence in growing. Even if I never have a large Dendrobium component to my collection I would like to know how to grow them.

They are in small bark with peanuts underneath. Suggestions?


  1. I've been growing den. kingianum for many years in Los Altos using benign neglect. Mine are growing outside year 'round in close to full sun and get watered with muni water about every 1-2 weeks in summer, and maybe every 3-4 weeks in winter. They need to be brought inside only during a freeze. They're in very shallow clay pots and cramped. I generally use 100% medium bark over crocks although I've started keikis in 50:50 pebbles and perlite.


  2. I've been growing them for many years in an unheated greenhouse in San Francisco, and they're one of the easiest to grow. I grow them in 3" plastic pots in coconut husk chips and charcoal. I fertilize them once a week, and give them an extra watering mid-week if it's hot. It's usually 85F-90F during the day, and 45F-50F at night. They get very bright light, about 3,000-5,000 foot-candles. I give them no water at all from late November until buds start to form in February.


  3. Hey Richard,
    I too, sometimes have trouble with what many consider 'easier' sp. I had a group of tiny rootless Den kingianum keikis, that I could not get the watering correct on. I tried them in coco chips and charcoal, then med bark and sponge rock, and they would sprout roots that would shortly rot away. After about 5 months of this I finally mounted them on a small tree fern plaque, wrapped with raffia. They get an almost daily soaking, and they have begun to sprout nicely. I seem to do much better with mounted 'chids, in general.

  4. I live in an area near where they grow naturally and have grown them since I was a kid. They can cope with a lot of sun. Other than that, they aren't fussy although underwatering would be safer than overwatering. I currently grow them as lithophytes in my garden along with the speciosums and various Dockrillia spp. They get sulky and leggy with too much shade.

  5. Thanks, everybody. That will help.

  6. I grow my kingianum keikis (which I peeled off my sister's plants) in sphagnum moss. They seem to dry out too fast when planted in small bark or coconut husk. Once they are doing well, I move to less wet medium. I am, however, growing in Chicago.