How to achieve maximum
Above: The rim of its pot should be in line with the
ledge of your balcony and
do not place the pot on the ledge to prevent the pot from toppling
have to erect a plant stand for your Dendrobium orchids.
As long as you can elevate the orchid such that the rim of its
pot is in line with the ledge of your balcony or corridor, the
orchid is getting sufficient light. It is important that light
must reach the base of the pseudo-bulbs as this is the area
where new growths are produced. In addition, I find that the
roots of the orchid like to be exposed to sun. Somehow the sun
will help to keep the roots dry, preventing rots from setting
in. A good healthy root system is the basis in the fundamental
health of all orchids.
Above: Dendrobium roots seem to like the sun alot!
have seen growers putting their orchids on the ground. This
is bad for the orchids in the long run. Orchids are epiphytic,
meaning their roots adhere to tree branches for support to access
air, light and rain. It is important for the roots to have a
chance to dry out before it is wet again or rots will set in.
If you notice some of the orchids that are placed on the ground,
water will collect at the bottom of the pot and the roots will
remain wet for days and sometimes weeks. Soon, the roots will
rot and the orchid will die. If erecting of plant stands might
be too cumbersome for some of you, you can hang them or tie
them to some pipeline. An ingenious method is to erect a wire
mesh and hook all your orchids to it.
Too much sun
Some brown leaf tips or yellowing of the leaves are inevitable
as we are growing them in flats and not outdoors. However, those
of you who are blessed with direct sun either in the morning
or afternoon need not fret. Dendrobium are very forgiving
and that is why I would like to introduce this orchid to you.
They are superb orchids for high rise apartments and are very
tolerant in a wide range of lighting conditions. Too much is
better than too little.
Brown spots and yellow leaves in Dendrobium.
However, if you find the sun is still too strong, you can try
erecting a shade cloth over your Dendrobium by using
bamboo sticks to push the cloth forward to allow air circulation.
This can be done quite easily as my balcony has window grilles
which can help to support the shading cloth. This feat can be
tricky along common corridors and you may need to build a simple
orchid trellis to anchor the shading cloth. You will need to
water more often. Maybe twice a day. With the cloudy erratic
weather we have recently, sunlight is getting scarce now especially
in HDB flats.
The antelope Dendrobium or the horned Dendrobium
fall under the full sun category. They need about 6 or more
hours of sun daily. These orchids can grow up to 2 metres high
and bear flowers with curly petals that look like some aliens
landing on earth. The flowers are very lasting and can last
for months. They are superb orchids in very sunny areas. My
dream orchids too.
How to know your orchid is getting enough light?
As long as you have sun falling on the leaves, pseudo-bulbs
and roots at different or same time of the day for at least
2 hours, then your orchid is getting enough light. In addition,
you should also note the following:
(a) New growth are larger or about the same size as the previous
(b) Leaf should be medium green though some hybrids may have
a darker shade of green. The best is to compare the colour with
the previous growth.
What happens when the sun changes direction?
Usually, the sun will change its direction approximately every
half of the year or less depending on your direction. During
this period, you will need to water or fertilise less since
growth will be somewhat stunted. A fact that all high rise growers
have to bear in mind.
If your conditions are very different from what I have described
and yet your orchid still blooms beautifully for you, don't
change its position.
(2) Visit your neighbours to see how they grow their orchids.
It is likely that you can grow them too.
(3) It always pays to purchase orchids from nurseries to know
the amount of light that they are subjected to by the growers.
If your area has full sun, go to the part of the nursery where
orchids are grown without any cover and vice versa.