Our team in ‘Cool Asia’ are really enjoying being surrounded by the Dendrobium speciosum this week. This magnificent orchid is native to Australia.
Its aboriginal name is “Tar-Beri” and it is also known as the “Rock Lily”. When in flower it is one of our largest orchids measuring nearly 2m across with many hundred lovely fragrant flowers each about 2cm across. It is one of those orchids that stops you in your tracks and must be a fantastic sight in the wild where it grows on rocks in open forest in New South Wales and Victoria.
Across its range this species shows considerable variation in the size and colour of flowers. We have the large yellow clone as well as two white flowered clones, one large growing and one much smaller and a smaller growing creamy clone.
The pseudobulbs of this species are huge – 50cm high and with a diameter of 5cm at the base on the larger clones – and they repeat flower over a few years which helps to provide the fantastic display in a year when it decides to flower profusely.
Interestingly the larger clones didn’t flower at all last year and they seem to enjoy a two year growing cycle. We grow plant in baskets where they can have copious water in the summer but always good drainage. We use our usual bark without moss although baskets become packed with roots over time. All our plants hang up in Cool Asia with a minimum winter temperature of 10C and the flowers will last a good time and may still be out for the show season.