Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dendrobium Victoria-Reginae: seeking the blues

     After my first two internet orchid acquisitions proved successful (read: didn't die after a couple weeks) I started browsing various orchid nurseries for a blue orchid.  When most people talk about blue orchids, they are referring to vanda hybrids.  However, I wasn't particularly fond of those species' growth habit or their tendency to grow into a huge sprawling mass.

     Setting the blue vandas aside, I eventually found a reference to the Dendrobium victoria Reginae, a neat tiny plant which blooms with blueish-violet flowers.  At 6 inches tall, it's supposedly already at blooming size, which makes this currently the smallest orchid in my possession.

     When I first acquired this plant, the new growth was only 2 inches tall; as you can see it has since grown to nearly the height of the older cane.  The growth had also put out roots of its own, but unfortunately those rotted away. This observation prompted a repotting, and fortunately the older roots all seem healthy and green.  Hopefully the plant will make further successful attempts to grow new roots.

     The new growth is very responsive to the direction of the light source, and it has been a trial to keep this orchid growing upright.  The canes are top heavy, with very thin stalks at ground level, and my biggest fear is to accidentally snap one of them off while watering.  The plant is staked upright, which gives it some support, and hopefully some root growth will develop to offer further stability.

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