You may have noticed that we have had a fantastic array of lovely species flowering this spring and we are still in the main flowering period for the orchid collection – A question we are often asked is ‘why do so many species flower in the spring?’
Many of the orchid habitats we have visited (especially the Himalayas, South East Asia, Brazil and Central America) have a strongly seasonal climate with the general rule for tropical forests, away from the equator, being cooler dryer winters and warmer wetter summers. In this seasonal climate the best time for orchids to be putting resources into developing seed and seed pods is during the wet warm summers, and so the best time to flower is just before the warm wet summer, at the end of the dry season – so spring.
One species that flowers just before the wet season is this gorgeous Dendrobium that we have seen growing abundantly in southern Laos.
Dendrobium chrysotoxum is native to seasonally dry forest monsoon forests and we found it in several locations at around 1000m around Paksong on the Bolaven Plateau. Plants were mostly growing on the trunk and lower branches of large trees in good light as shown on the photo below.
In cultivation we reflect the natural habitat by growing plants warm and wet in the summer in Warm Asia but give a cooler and much dryer winter in the top of Cool Americas. We find that baskets are ideal for this rewarding species.