Friday, February 25, 2011

Dendrobium kingianum 'Roy'

I purchased 'Roy' in spring 2009, at the Smith College Botanic Garden orchid sale. He has fragrant purple flowers in abundance when he blooms. The drawing at left depicts only one of his "branches." What are they really called? Bulb-lets?
To be honest, though I painted the picture on the left last night, the underlying pencil sketch was done last winter, when Roy sent up numerous spikes of flowers. This winter, he has not bloomed, though it is prime orchid blooming time and all my other orchids (except for the teeny baby Phal, which is still nor more than the size of my thumbnail) are blooming. Why? Well, it's my own fault. While he was blooming last winter, I overwatered him, thinking that surely putting up so many flowers must be taxing. As a result, instead of storing up flower-energy during the summer, Roy sent up a huge crop of clonal babies (keikis). This, I read, is a dendrobium's response to receiving surplus water during what is supposed to be its dry season. Oops. Those babies, however, after they sent down lots of fibrous white roots, were transferred to tiny pots, and given to friends (I still have one unclaimed. Any takers in Ithaca?). I'm keeping him dry right now, in the hopes that he will bloom next year. On the right is a color photo of my D. kingianum 'Roy,' alongside Oncidium Twinkle 'White Twinkle.' Twink has been banished to the corner of the kitchen under the grow-light, where she is now blooming her silly head off, because her flowers smell like cheap vanilla perfume, with top-notes of putrid fruit. Roy (coincidentally, also the name of my future father-in-law) smells like fresh iris and violets.

Edit: Since writing this post, I have taken a look at my orchids, and one of the offspring of Roy is growing a flower stalk! Hooray! The parent plant is also showing some swelling buds. There will be flowers after all, just a little late. 

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