Orchid of the Month - September 2017
Dendrochilum wenzelii - by Doug Kubo
One of my favorite orchids is the easy to grow Dendrochilum wenzelii. It is found around Luzon, Mindanao, and Visayas in the Phillippines at elevations between 300 to 1800 meters. It is an epiphyte growing in mossy forests and ridges. The pseudobulbs cluster along a rhizome and are slender terete fusiform. The leaf blades are narrowly linear with an acute apex. The rachis is nodding with alternate ditichous flowers spacedabout 1.5 mm. The flowers open from proximal to distal portion of the rachis. Flowers are usually red with a less common yellow variety. Individual flowers are small and unimpressive, but the inflorescence, as a whole, is very striking. Blooming occurs most commonly in the Sacramento area in early spring, usually February or March.
Dendrochilum wenzelii is readily available and is an easy grower. It is often mis-labeled as Dendrochilum arachnites. If you follow a few basic requirements, your plants will flourish. Actually, that applies to most orchids in cultivation. Medium bright light, intermediate to warm temperature with good air movement, kept moist with a slight reduction in watering in the winter. They do best with good quality water. It should not be allowed to dry out completely. They seem happy with most growers fertilizing regimens. One thing they do not like is to have their roots disturbed so there is a need to be careful when repotting. My main plant grows best in New Zealand sphagnum moss. It gets repotted when it outgrows the pot. If the media is not broken down, the root area can be wrapped with more moss and put into the next larger size container. I have done this for quite a number of years without disturbing the roots. My media is slow to break down as a result of my watering technique, but that is a whole different topic.
Just be meeting the basic requirements, you will be rewarded with a beautiful display of flowers.
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