Dendrobium lindleyanum
a small plant with a big show
The Dazzling World of
Dendrobiums- the Miniatures

In so many plant groups, there are numerous variations on a theme, primarily in the realms of plant color and plant size. I've talked with gardeners and growers who have complained for decades that they couldn't grow what they wanted because the plants got too big, or they didn't have a "real" garden. In this blog I will address miniature Dendrobiums ( under 12 inches tall) that can answer the call of space-challenged gardeners. These are plants with a big return of flowers on a small plant.

In most cases, there are plants to suit any size gardening endeavor. There are variations in size in orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads, palms, ferns, cacti, and almost every other plant group. I have blogged about many of these groups, so my advice is to do some research about what options are available to you so that you can have the garden you want. The most important aspect of planning a garden is choosing the right plants. Finding the right plants is another matter, however..................( for a different blog).

Dendrobium linguiforme

Dendrobium cuthberstonii

In this division of the genus Dendrobium, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of species. Most are well under 12 inches tall, and some are as small as 1 inch tall or less. The glorious Dendrobium cuthberstsonii is a small plant with a big flower that can last as long as 3 months on the plant. The species comes in decorator colors, and will never outgrow its spaces. There is, of course, a slight hitch: the plant need a lot of cool to cold weather to bloom well. It grows to perfection in coastal California, and I've seen many outstanding plants on the east coast. It is NOT a good candidate for Florida growers, even with artificial cooling, unless you invest in chilling equipment.For the right growing areas, this is a great plant, For Floridians, let's be comfortable with those species that will grow well for us. For us in Miami, we can grow a great array of Dendrobiums  on tree trunks in outdoor areas all year. 

Dendrobium capituliflorum
 Many of these species grow to perfection on slabs of cork or in teak baskets. I'm beginning to like this group a lot more than I did 20 years ago, mainly due to space restrictions at my apartment ! These mini-jewels are yet another tool in the "toolbox" of species we can grow in our plant collections. You can have the colors and fragrances of the orchid world in small spaces, just do some research at your local orchid society. They will help at every opportunity.

Craig Morell
Pinecrest Gardens

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