July 27, 2022
Searles Gardening Team
Orchids are among the most beautiful and unusual flowers in the world. They have been used for religious ceremonies and decorative purposes for hundreds of years. The climate around Brisbane and the coasts is ideal for growing orchids.
Often referred to as “Tree Orchids”, Dendrobiums are not difficult to manage and are best grown in a bushhouse.
They require plenty of light, with shade during the hottest part of a bright sunny day. They require plenty of heat and moisture when growing freely, and cooler, drier conditions when growth has finished for the season. This condition is indicated by no production of new leaves at the apex of the plant.
Leaves will fall from the deciduous species, but evergreen species should not receive such extreme treatment either in temperature or lack of moisture. Until flower buds are prominent, continue the resting conditions, only giving water when signs of slight shrivelling are apparent. Orchids do not like direct sunlight as it burns their foliage.
As the rhizomes of Dendrobiums grow very slowly, it is not necessary to make much provision of space for future growth. Potting out need only occur when the plant grows over the side of the pot. At this time it may be removed and if necessary, divided. Always have three bulbs - the lead bulb and two bulbs behind it in a clump. If this is not possible, do not divide the plant, just repot it as is into a larger container.
Use Searles Orchid Mix and put charcoal, polystyrene or bark into the bottom of the pot to assist with drainage. Place the plant into the container with the oldest bulbs at the edge of the pot and the new growth in the middle. The plant should be at the top of the mixture, not buried in it. Place a stake into the pot and tie the plant loosely to it for support. The best time to repot is in Spring or after flowering.
To promote healthy growth of your Dendrobiums, feed with Searles Flourish Orchid Booster and SeaMax Organic Fertiliser regularly. To boost flowering supplement feeding with Searles Liquid Potash prior to flower bud development.
To control mealy bugs and scale use Searles Pest Gun. Use pellets to control slugs and snails. Fungicide all orchids every 4-6 weeks with Searles Mancozeb. Also, be aware of attacks from thrips or red spider.