Softcane Dendrobium GROWING HINTS
§Most Softcane Dendrobiums come from the Nobile species which originate from India.
§They grow very well outside in Brisbane and it is one that I would recommend that beginners to Orchid growing start with.
§We have to remind ourselves that they are not pot plants but epiphytes, that is, in their natural state they grow on trees.
§Their roots are not buried but are used to cling onto the bark and to find food and water.
§They can be grown in pots with holes or hanging baskets which drain well.
§Terracotta pots are best, as the pot does not heat up as much as plastic pots, therefore their roots don’t cook.
§Like all epiphytic orchids they like to be wet, then dry, before wet again, but NOT constantly moist.
§They love our summer humidity and will take more water then.
§Like all sub-tropicals they must be kept dry in winter.
§The size of the pot or basket should not be too big, i.e. they do not like to be over potted.
§They need a lot of light and can take full sun, particularly in winter.
§Growing them outside with good air movement prevents fungus diseases.
§Orchid bark MUST be used as the potting medium. Generally, the larger the plant the larger the pieces of bark.
§The cane is like a pseudo bulb in which it stores water and nutrients, so you need to keep them nice and fat. If the new canes get smaller and thinner, something is wrong.
§They flower on the old canes and flower better with a drier winter.
§The Japanese have done a lot of hybridizing with Softcanes and they are also very popular in Hawaii.
§The most common colour is pink and a lot have the dark throat, which comes from the Nobile parent.
§Other colours are white and more rare is yellow.
§ Never cut the old canes off until they are absolutely dead.
§Kiekies (baby plantlets) will form on old canes. These are baby plants that grow roots whilst still on the parent plant. I wait until there are two stems before I remove them.
§Pot the Kiekies up into a small pot that just accommodates their roots and put them outside also, in a little bit more shade until they establish.
§I only divide my plants when they outgrow the largest basket (30cm). Until then I just keep putting them into a larger pot or basket.
§The best time to re-pot is in spring after they have finished flowering.
§I NEVER fertilise my orchids. By growing them outside under the Wisteria, the leaves, possum and bird poos and spent flowers drop into the pots and baskets and then wash through them.