cylindrical-flowered rock orchid
The Thin Pencil Orchid is named after its distinct, long and thin, terete leaves. Each leaf is leathery, bright green, up to 50cm long and only 0.6cm wide. Branching stems are thread-like, often over few metres long. Flowering stems appear from the axils of leaves. Upside-down flowers, measuring up to 3cm are usually pale cream or white, with few thin, dark maroon markings in the centre.
Ultimate height1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height5–10 years
Ultimate spread0.5–1 metres
Colour & scent
- Partial shade
- Full sun
East–facing or North–facing or South–facing or West–facing
- Native to the UK
- Evergreen or Semi evergreen
Dendrobium are epiphytic and terrestrial orchids with elongated, stem-like pseudobulbs bearing linear to ovate leaves. Racemes or panicles of showy flowers are produced from nodes along the stems mainly in spring
- Name status
- Plant range
How to grow
Plants are best grown mounted on cork bark or wood if sufficient humidity can be provided. Alternatively, grow in a basket in an epiphytic, medium grade, bark-based potting mix with added perlite, moss, or coir. As with many orchids, they grow best when the roots are slightly restricted. Therefore, avoid over-potting or frequent root disturbance. Provide bright light and sufficient humidity by misting regularly throughout the growing season. Reduce watering and feeding in winter until warmer temperatures initiate flowering and new growth in spring. See indoor orchid cultivation
Propagation by seed is only possible in controlled laboratory environment. Mature plants may be divided when the plant overgrows the pot. Sideshoots (keiki) may develop on older canes - remove and pot them into sphagnum moss when the new roots are at least 2cm long.
Suggested planting locations and garden types
- Conservatory and greenhouse
No pruning required. Remove spent flowers as necessary, but do not cut the whole cane unless completely shrivelled. Oldest canes may be removed as long as there are enough, younger, thick, leaf-bearing canes on the plant.
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