Guest Author - Susan Taylor
Dendrobium draconis is one of the most common of the genus. It is native to most of Southeast Asia where it grows as an epiphyte. It is a fragrant, intermediate to warm growing plant which flowers in the spring.
It is a bit larger than most of the miniatures we discuss, growing to 12 inches, or 30 centimeters, in some cases, but it generally stays in the 6-8 inch or 13-15 centimeter range. The canes on this plant are interesting in that they have small black hairs on the new growths. The white flowers with orange or red throats appear on short inflorescences with up to five flowers that can reach 3 inches, or 7 centimeters across. The inflorescences appear on older canes. The flowering season is spring to summer and the flowers are surprisingly long lasting with a lovely orange fragrance.
D. draconis can be grown in pots or mounted. They require a cool dry rest during the winter months and careful watering when the new growth appears because they are subject to rot if water gets in the new growth tips. One choice is to soak the plant in some kind of bowl so that the roots get water, but no water is splashed on the new growth tips. It's better to let the shoots get about half an inch, or 2 centimeters, high before watering. During this period be sure that the humidity is kept high to allow the plants to absorb water. After the new growths are large enough start with regular watering and fertilizing and don't allow the plant to dry out until the growth has reached its full height.
The genus Dendrobium is one of the largest in the orchid family. It is comprised of over 1200 species found from Asia, throughout India and the Pacific islands. Most are epiphytes (growing in trees) that have cane-like pseudobulbs. It is important to determine the exact growing requirements of the species you are dealing with since the genus is so diverse that they are broken down to sections in order to further classify them. Also be sure that your conditions are correct for the particular Dendrobium you are considering.
Here is a listing of some vendors who provide seed grown species. Of course, not all species are always available. If youíre interested in something, talk to some of these vendors to see if thereís another variety that is close. Often the only difference would be 8 inches tall versus 6 inches or a different colored flower. Also, please mention that you are calling as a result of seeing them recommended on BellaOnline Orchids.
Carter and Holmes
First Rayís Orchids
Oak Hill Farm
Parkside Orchids Nursery
Tropical Orchid Farm