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davidg 03-24-2020 12:58 PM

Thanks! I will be making lists of plants from your site and finding sources, for possible future additions. It's great to hear from someone growing successfully in my conditions - it gives me hope of some successes. The little Dendrobium lindleyi has pushed out a flowering stem with about 15 buds on it since arriving - can't really take credit for that, but it will be a good start when it opens the first flower!

Roberta 03-24-2020 01:09 PM


Originally Posted by davidg (Post 914846)
The little Dendrobium lindleyi has pushed out a flowering stem with about 15 buds on it since arriving - can't really take credit for that, but it will be a good start when it opens the first flower!

Wonderful! I have found it a challenge to bloom... some years it does, other years it doesn't. (This one really does need to dry out in winter to even have a chance of flowers, now it its time for blooming, and watering to resume) It's older name is Den. aggregatum, some of us call it Den. "aggravatum" :biggrin:

davidg 03-24-2020 04:00 PM

Ah, the grower gets the credit. It was only 'small plant' grade, so I am lucky. I will try and keep it dry next winter - have you ever tried protecting plants from rain in the winter? - we get some downpours when it rains.
I knew the alternative name, but not the joke! I also have D. chrysotoxum, which looks similar, but seems to need warmer temps? I also got a spike last fall on the Cattlya bowringianum I bought then - a bigger plant that has passed through the winter in a pot in fine condition.
I found an old branch in my yard - not sure where it came from but it has excellent corky bark, so I am going to cut it into lengths for mounts for the smaller plants. I have some special elastic mounting thread I got from one of my suppliers - the same one I mentioned earlier re the fertilizer. Supposed to hold plants securely without cutting into the roots. I will lash them down like their lives depend on it (which they do!)Just waiting for this cold spell to pass and I will get to it, and start watering and feeding.
It's so great to have a contact in a zone like mine - talk to you again soon I am sure - Wow, as an 'expert' who has had their brain picked by everyone most of my life, it will be great to pick someone else's! Enjoy the bounty of spring.

Roberta 03-24-2020 04:13 PM

Cork oak is the best possible mount! (The cork slabs that people use comes from that source, but branches are wonderful just as they are.)
C. bowringiana does very well outside for me. Den. chrysotoxum also does well. Can you get any of the temperate Australian Dens like D. speciosum and kingianum and their hybrids? Those are outstanding in our climate. While I have read of a need to dry them in winter, I don't and they still bloom like crazy. In general, you can get away with temperatures that are lower than the literature says, if the plants can acclimate. Spring is an excellent time to acquire plants - then they have the summer and fall to adjust to their environment. (When I acquire plants in winter that I know will do OK outside but have been greenhouse-grown, I'll keep them inside until late February, then put them out. )

What I do to protect the plants that really do need to be dry in winter is to set up a shelf with plastic over the top. Perfect? No, but it keeps them mostly dry. Putting Dens and other things that need winter rest on that shelf also gets them out of the "general population" that will get watered regularly.

davidg 03-25-2020 06:26 AM

Really helpful advice - you know your stuff! Thanks so much

I realized after asking about rain protection that if they are mounted on pieces then I can bring them under the cover of my open terrace and keep them dry without a problem.
I just found a source for D. kingianum a couple of days ago, but not for speciosum. I grew up in Sydney and it is a similar climate, but Australian species are thin on the ground in Europe.

Common sense tells me to wait until next spring to buy more - but the 'collector gene' is a hard one to fight! That was what was so great about teaching, I basically had a 5 acre private botanic garden, with a buying budget and a big labor force (called 'students'). That was in Canada, so very different to here, and my shady little garden can't really compete! (or my retirement budget. . .) Still, with this climate I would never complain.

I am still considering getting some cork pieces for the plants - I have a good supplier who will send me a box - versus using the branches I have lying around. This cold snap and being in lock down for CV has triggered a moment of indecision.

Roberta 03-25-2020 11:01 AM

Another note with regard to Dendrobiums (and others) that need to be dry in winter... if they are mounted with little or no sphagnum, if they do get wet they dry quickly. A major (probably the biggest) species grower/vendor in the U.S., Andy's Orchids specializes in mounted species. I have spent considerable time wandering the shadehouses since I have the pleasure of living only about an hour away... and the climate is very similar to mine. The place is absolutely crammed with plants, organized by temperature and light requirements. There is no third place for things that need to stay dry, and no way to move tens of thousands of them all mixed in together, so everything gets watered all year, and still they bloom - the fact that they are dry within a few hours seems to be sufficient.

davidg 03-25-2020 12:30 PM

That's a good point, and makes sense. The periods of rain are usually separated by dry periods, and as you say, without supplementary watering they dry fast, so probably are not pulled out of dormancy.
My plants seem to be surviving this cold period - I haven't watered them at all. Except for the Epidendrum (Coilosytlis) parkinsonianum). It was a bit of a 'wild card' anyway as I probably don't have enough sun for it. Anyway, it is looking distinctly sad, and the leaves are soft, dull and pale. The new roots still look OK though. . .

Roberta 03-25-2020 12:40 PM

Do water that Epi. parkinsonianum. I have a mounted one that was doing poorly... I added some sphagnum around the roots, and it has perked up. It really doesn't need all that much light... I would call the environment of mine "bright shade" or "filtered sun". Actually, don't be TOO brutal with holding back water. especially for the mounted plants. Water in the morning so that they have a chance to dry out by evening. And 10 deg C (50 deg F) is really not that cold for the group of the plants that you have. 1-2 deg C is cold... 10 deg C is spring...

davidg 03-25-2020 12:46 PM

Thanks - the Epidendrum is in a pot, and the bottom felt a little damp when I stuck a finger down, so I am not sure. I will water the mounted plants in the morning, as I had been doing last week, and tomorrow is the last 'cold' day anyway. I was more like 7 this morning early.

Roberta 03-25-2020 01:26 PM

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Consider mounting that Epi. parkensonianum once you see signs of root activity. Or a "related" approach (I have a plant... actually I think it was about 6 plants) that I bought (and have kept) in an upside-down wood basket containing sphagnum (held in place by some wires) The plants were seedlings to begin with (the vendor from whom I bought it I think had a bounty of seedlings and this was a way to sell more of them in less time, for a better price) Here is the plant... I have had it for 3 years, and the last two it has put on a really nice show. At this point, much of the sphagnum has disappeared, but the roots are all over the basket. This is a good way to get a small plant established, and to let it grow in the manner that it wants to - hanging down.

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