Dendrobium Burana Sundae
I had temporarily given up on dendrobium orchids after my two failed attempts at growing Den. victoria reginae. I think the problem with that species is that it was a cool-grower, and my apartment got too hot for it in the summer. However, I still really like how dendrobium canes look, and I've been meaning to try again with a den hybrid (which I hope to be more forgiving about its culture needs).
A few weeks ago, user 'Leisurely' posted some beautiful photos of his dark dendrobium blooms, and I was off searching the internet for vendors selling one of these gorgeous plants.
Dendrobium Burana Sundae (Photos courtesy of 'Leisurely'): Original link
I am now a proud owner of Den. Burana Sundae. The orchid I received is larger than I had been expecting; this is certainly no miniature. The dendrobium has 6 canes, the largest of which is 18 inches tall. Three of the canes have leaves on them, while the other 3 are leafless. The leaves are thick, sturdy, and 5 inches long. One of the canes has the remnants of an old spike at its tip, so I know this orchid is big enough to bloom.
Dendrobium roots, before and after trimming
The root health of the dendrobium is questionable. Most of the orchid's roots (even the ones that looked greenish) were either rotten, or badly broken in many places with the velamen peeling off. I ended up trimming off about 2/3 of the root mass.
The orchid had a handfull of new roots (thick and white above) growing off from the newest cane, but they are actually less reassuring than they could have been. About half their root tips are blackened and no longer growing, an appearance that reminds me of the root problems on my Oncostele Pacific Perspective.
Stubby blackened new roots tips on Oncostele Pacific Perspective (May 2012)
Since I ended up writing off my oncidium root problems as potentially fungal in origin, I made sure to give both the new dendrobium (and the Aliceara Matthias) a good long soak in systemic fungicide before repotting.
Ultimately I don't know how much of a root system a dendrobium of this size needs to grow healthy. I'm hoping that the fungicide treatment will stave off any infections that might have been present, and that good care will take care of the rest. The dendrobium is quite top-heavy, so I potted it into a 4" ceramic pot for balance, and added a stake to support the canes. I used 'dendrobium' orchid mix from Repotme.com.
It's now been 1 week since I've repotted the dendrobium, and it looks like it's shedding the bottom two leaves on one of its canes. I hope that's just the stress of shipping+repotting and nothing more sinister.