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Large and Larger Dendrobiums
Dendrobium speciosum used as a landscape specimen Sydney, Australia
In past blogs I wrote about miniature Dendrobiums, pendant species, and some of the old standby types like the DendrobiumPhalaenopsis group. I received many favorable comments about the pendant and miniature groups. For all tastes, there are plants to meet the need. In our section of the country ( not tonight, since we will experience hard frost over most of the state, even in Miami), we can grow Dendrobiums as landscape plants. To that end, with some residents who have larger properties or large trees, they'll request larger orchid species. There are numerous species, notably from Australia and New Guinea , which grow to substantial dimensions. One species in particular, D. speciosum, can weigh over 500 pounds in a large specimen ! Some of the New Guinea species such as D. veratrifolium can grow over 10 feet tall, and I have heard of specimens reaching 18 feet tall. As with so many plants, there are tons of options regarding plant size, blooming season, and care requirements. This group of larger species requires the same care as most other Dendrobiums in their respective groups, just a larger basket, pot, or mount to hold them. Given enough room, they can become grand specimens, but do some advance thinking to see if you ever need to move them to an orchid society or plant show. If you do, then be prepared to have some extra help !
Dendrobium Jacquelyn Thomas type production plants average 5 feet tall
Dendrobium production in Asia head-high flower stems
Dendrobium superbum well established on a tree
In the event you have the space and resources to grow these "plus-sized" plants, consider them permanent landscaping, and accord them the care and respect they deserve. There are "normal" sized plants that will grow to mega-dimensions given consistent care and fertilizing for years at a time. I have attended many orchid society meetings where fairly common plants were grown large enough to require 4 men to carry the plant. In one notable case, a plant purchased from Home Depot 20 years ago required 4 men and a stretcher to carry a 200 pound Dendrobium to a plant society meeting ! A little consistent care and regular attention can make almost any plant a specimen, even miniatures.