Dendrobium bellatulum is a fascinating dwarf Dendrobium species from one of the world’s orchid hot spots, South East Asia. In particular the mountainous regions of eastern India, through northern Myanmar, northern Thailand, southern China, Laos and Vietnam where this species grows on trees and experiences a tropical wet and dry climate.
I bought my Dendrobium bellatulum as a young seedling at the St Ives Orchid Fair in August 2013. I promptly mounted it on a piece of cork bark in time for the spring growing season (Sept/Oct/Nov is spring in Australia). I read somewhere it was unnecessary to use sphagnum moss unlike most of my other mounted orchids. The plant is located in my little shade house where humidity can be very low, down to 20% on hot, sunny days. I was worried the plant may not cope with such low humidity. I keep a tray of water under it but am not sure if this achieves much. The plant is watered daily now it’s spring and seems fine with this routine. I have not noticed any apparent shrivelling even during unusual 38°C (100°F) October weather. The plant is more robust than I imagined.
Two months in my care and a run of warm spring weather I’m happy to see the plant has started a new pseudo bulb and a new root snaking along and exploring the contours of its new home. I’ve started feeding it weekly with a weak liquid fertiliser. I look forward to watching it grow over the coming months (and years). The mount is certainly a large one for the current size of the plant so I’m hoping the plant will carry on growing for many years.
*UPDATE September (spring) 2017*
It’s now four years after the original post. The plant is pretty slow growing. Either that or my mount was a bit too ambitious (large?) for the plant. But I hope the plant will continue to grow and spread out over the mount. It grows one pseudobulb each summer. I was happy to see this spring it has flowered for the second time although only two flowers (same as the first flowering back in spring 2015.
Looking at the above image, it does appear there are several sunburn spots. Perhaps it is getting slightly too much sun. It’s located in my shade house with 50% shade cloth and two large Eucalyptus trees overhead. The trees provide sparse shade only in summer. Of course they also drop about a million leaves throughout the year, especially when it’s hot and dry. The plant sits in the end of the shade house along with some mounted Aussie Dendrobiums and Vandas.