Friday, May 16, 2014
Dendrobium harveyanum in a handmade wire basket
When I got my plant of Dendrobium harveyanum it was a tiny seedling with canes barely two inches tall. My main concern was that it would lose its roots to rot during the height of the rainy season, when it can rain every day for weeks or months. On the other hand, during the dry season, not a drop falls from the sky for weeks and humidity can be low. I decided to make a wire basket that would address the needs of the plant during both extremes of weather. I made a wire basket four inches deep and four inches wide, for a miniature orchid, such as this Dendrobium, this is plenty of space to grow for years. I filled the bottom two inches of the basket with bark, then I put the plant on top of it. The wire basket ensures that even at the wettest of the wet season the water drains away and the roots have access to oxygen. In the driest part of the dry season I dunk the plant in water and the bark holds up just enough water to keep the orchid from shriveling too much. This plant has been in this basket for eight years now and it seems it is good for at least two or three more. When the canes reach the wall of the basket I will cut a hole in the basket to let the plant grow in the outside of the basket. This plant has two inflorescences, one that is open and another on the way. The tallest cane is seven inches tall, a pretty good size for this species.