The first of our Dendrobium cuthbertsonii plants is in flower and as ever it is beautiful.
This plant is a miniature with 1cm leaves and tiny pseudobulbs that cling tightly to the cork mount, but the flowers are large (2cm across) and incredibly long lasting.
This beautiful 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, bright, wet and windy, at the top of our mesh in Cool Americas. We also find that plants prefer to grow mounted where their roots can establish on cork bark and plants can grow into impressive specimens if well cared for.
The individual flowers last up to 12 months, although we tend to cut them off after a few months to let the plants grow again. This may be an adaptation to provide food to the pollinating bird population throughout the year. Many bird pollinated orchids are unusual in giving nectar even after the flower has been pollinated. Nectar feeding bird species need regular refuelling and so a reliable source of nectar in Dendrobium cuthbertsonii will both sustain the birds and encourage them prioritise its flowers over competing plants.
The species comes in a wide range of colours including red, orange, yellow and pink – we will feature some of these as they come into flower.