365 days of orchids – Day 221 – Dendrobium cuthbertsonii


This beautiful miniature species is native to New Guinea where it grows as an epiphyte or lithophyte in mossy high mountain elfin forests. We find that the secret in cultivation is to replicate this habitat and so grow plant cool, wet and windy. We also find that plants prefer to grow mounted where there roots can establish on cork bark and plants can grow into impressive specimens.

The species is bird pollinated and comes in a wide range of colours including pink, orange, red, yellow and white – why not grow several different clones?

The flowers are extraordinarily long lasting and we have had flowers last nine months or more however we find that the plants benefit from the flowers being removed after a few months to allow the plant’s energy to into producing new growths. It is worth keeping an eye out for woodlice that will eat the roots or red spider on the leaves as either of these can cause a plant to go down hill and not recover.





Join the Discussion


  1. Börje Boklund says:

    This is a spectacle species. How many color clones do you have in your collection? I grow on tree fern slabs, perhaps cork bark is better. What do you think?

    • Simon Pugh-Jones says:

      Thanks for your comment Borje. We use cork for two reasons. Firstly conservation – we are keen to support the traditional cork forests and industry in Portugal which provides such an amazing habitat for biodiversity including orchids. Tree fern is unsustainably collected from a number of tropical forests and as we have seen with Zygopetalum maxillare in Brazil which is totally restricted to growing on living tree ferns the trade in tree fern could result in the extinction of some tree fern species and the unique species they support.
      Secondly successful culture – cork is largely inert, lasts for years and does not suffer salt build up. It therefore provides and excellent support for mounted orchids. Tree fern in our limited experience breaks down after a few years and can suffer salt build up that kills orchid roots.