Plant of the Week

This orchid grows on rock (lithophyte) and forms rhizomes that appear as creeping stems that are swollen at the base and topped with thick leathery lanced-shaped leaves. During late winter it produces racemes of creamy-white to yellowish flowers.


Dendrobium speciosum is naturally found in Australia growing on the east coast from New South Wales to Queensland as a lithophyte or as an epiphyte in tropical rainforests and temperate forests. It grows in leaf mould and course material including stone and orchid bark on rocks or in tree forks, and should be very well drained with a pH range from 5.5 to 6.5. It prefers a semi shaded to shaded position and is drought tolerant but frost tender, and should not be planted in soil as it dislikes constant moisture. 


There are two types of Dendrobium speciosum with similar cultivation requirements.


This plant is normally found growing on sandstone outcrops (Lithophyte) on the east coast of New South Wales. It has short pseudo-bulbs that are 150 to 300 mm (1 ft) long and are 4 mm (1/8 in) diameter. They produce creamy-yellow flowers that appear on a 450 mm (17 in) long spike.


The other Dendrobium speciosum appears in the east coast rainforest on trees and is more epiphytic. It has long thin pseudo-bulbs that are 600 to 700 mm (30 in) in length and produces creamy-white flowers on a spike that is up to 600 mm (24 in) long.


The Rock Orchid is grown for is clumping habit and sprays of flowers. It is commonly grown on rock outcrops or in rock crevices in parks or gardens and is also be grown in slatted hanging baskets. It is suitable for coastal and low mountain regions and establishes from division in 3 to 4 years and is moderately long lived. This plant is also used around water features or in a rainforest setting as long as it is well drained. Large pieces will transplant easily for an instant effect although it dislikes disturbance and requiring a little care. once established it has a low water requirement, (Scale: 1-drops from 3) and responds to mulching with an occasional watering during dry periods.

I.D. 238

UK hardiness zone H1b
Climate zones 16, 17, 22 - 24

USDA Zone 9-11

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