Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dendrobium Chan Chao, an impulse buy at a hardware store

Note the flower with the yellow callus on the lip

One day I was in a Hardware store in the town of Mayaguez when I noticed there was for sale a Dendrobium hybrid of the type called “antelope”.  The term “antelope” is given to species of the Sphatulata (previously Ceratobium) section of the Dendrobium genus because of a fancied similarity between the petals and the horns of antelopes.  This Dendrobium hybrid was clearly a descendant of a cross of Sphatulata species.  The flowers were nice enough although the color looked paler than I liked.  Nevertheless, I brought the plant, once I was out of the fluorescent lamps of the store, I discovered that the color was far more pleasing under natural light.

This orchid is not difficult to cultivate as long as one follow some simple guidelines.  First the media has to allow for ample air to reach the roots, this means they do better in coarse media.  The second is that they need regular fertilizing while producing their canes, any slacking in this matter and the plant will produce smaller canes which will not bloom to the full potential of which this hybrid is capable.  Third, this plant needs plenty of light, I don’t give my plant full sun to avoid sunburn, but I grow it just under the saran shadecloth where it gets strong light all day long.  

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