Australian Orchids in Your Garden

(The Spectacular Dendrobium speciosum )

Australia’s Native Orchids make a great inclusion into your garden. They may be planted into rockeries or trees, no matter where you put them when they bloom they are sure to make an impact. As these orchids are naturally found here they are ideal for gardens, the orchids we supply  (The Spectacular Dendrobium speciosum) are ideally suited to Cool, Temperate and Subtropical Climates. Some prefer a shaded position while others want maximum light – there are orchids for all situations. We get frosts every year and have many orchids included in our gardens. Orchids, like anything else, just like to be put in the right spot and you will be surprised how well they will grow and the blooms will astound you.

(Dendrobium kingianum)

Here we will explain and show you how to put your Aussie Native Orchid into the garden and onto trees. We also have a list of orchids that are available from us that are suitable for your garden. We are able to help with any plant selection, just give us a ring or email us.

*** HERE WE GO ***
It should be noted that your orchid must be planted with the correct amount of light, or the correct orchid chosen for the site to be planted out. Too little light and your orchid will grow great but will not bloom for you.

(Pondside Sarcochilus and Fern)

** High light – will take full sun  –  Dendrobium speciosum ( King Rock or Sydney Orchid )
** Strong to Filtered Light – Dendrobium species ( ie kingianum,speciosum) and Hybrids
** Shaded – not deep shade – Sarcochilus species and Hybrids

In all situations plants love early light and protection from Westerly sun.The planting process is the same for all our orchids. With the site selected and plant in hand, we now come to planting.

** First we have a look at the plant and see which way it would be best situated, the plant could be there for 100 years so make sure that it has some space and that it’s new growths have room. Now we get the spot ready for the plant, your orchid does not want to be planted into the soil as that will suffocate and kill the plant. – Orchids roots breathe – We must plant them in what is called an ‘Open Mix’ that will allow air to the root system. Rock, Gravel, Broken Terracotta, Polystyrene Foam, Pine Bark nuggets and Hardwood chunks are all ideal, a mix of some of these would be just right. -- We’ve got our Potting Mix.

Sample – Our Orchid Mix                 Examples of Suitable Media and Size for your Orchid Potting Mix

 **  PREPARE THE PLANTING SITE  ** - We must raise where we are going to plant our orchid above the soil height to allow the water to run away from the plant and also to make it easier for air to reach the root zone. So, we build a ‘Nest’ of rocks to hold our potting mix and orchid, this nest should be no less than 6” (150mm) high. It is a good idea to throw in a layer of rock, broken bricks or similar, this will help get good drainage. With the nest built pour in the potting mix, leave it hilled in the centre as this makes it easier for planting.

Our built up orchid site
      Rock in for Drainage                       Media Hilled and Ready                   Loosening the plant                       Kerplunk – It’s Out

** GETTING YOUR ORCHID OUT OF IT’S POT ** - Some orchids will be holding very firm in their pot, to get them out takes a bit of work. If they are too tight to pull out easily lay the pot on it’s side and press down on the side of the pot (for big plants don’t be afraid to use your foot), do this a few times as you roll the pot around – this should loosen your orchid for you. Now we need to prepare the orchid for planting – not hard – orchids are tough don’t worry !!    Your orchid should have a stack of roots, during planting a lot of these will be broken then rot away, to avoid this we must prepare the plant. Plant is prepared by cutting off the root system so that only 2-3 inches ( 50 -75mm ) of the root system is left. When cut, using your fingers, loosen the remaing roots. The plant will send out new roots very quickly to anchor itself in place, you will find in 12 months you won’t be able to budge the plant. Your Plant’s Ready. Native Orchids live for a long time, I have a piece of a speciosum that belonged to my Grandma and she passed away nearly 50 years ago.

      Chopping off those roots                       Done                                         Roots loosened                   New roots waiting to get away

** PLANT PLACEMENT ** - It is important to get the plant placed right, your plant could still be there in 100 years. You want the new growths to be able to get away easy. The plant should be in the pot or garden so that none of the plant is below the top of pot or garden surface. Obviously the roots must be below but not the plant – the new growths come out from the side of the plant, if planted too deep these will rot off before they even get a chance. Check out our photo to see just what we mean.

( D.kingianum in the garden )

** PLANTING YOUR ORCHID ** - So Plant is ready, site is prepared and we have some orchid mix, let’s plant. Place your orchid on the hilled up mix at the right height and fill in the pot or plant site with the orchid Potting Mix you have made. Do not shove the mix in, give a little push. For your pot tap the side of the pot and the mix will find it’s own way through the plant and pot, lightly firm the top of the media. Plant is in, give a good watering, a weak (Half strength) addition of liquid seaweed to the water is ideal. Sprinkle  Blood and Bone around top of media and give a light water. Use one handful for a 1 foot area ( 300mm area). The Blood and Bone is an excellent slow release fertilizer. If you have a dog it might like the Blood and Bone, try Liquid Blood and Bone, Dynamic Lifter of similar. Do Not Use TOO MUCH - Use half what you would use on a normal plant. I also like to cover the top with leaf litter – the best  stuff is found at the base of trees in the bush. Water the plant regularly ( at least weekly) for the first few months.

Your plants will do best when they are planted in either Spring or Autumn as this is when the root system is most active.

                  Plant in position                                                Job’s Done                               &                   Look’s Great

( Dendrobium kingianum )

All Native Dendrobium may be planted this way. Same for the Sarcochilus but do not cut the roots of these.

Your plants may also be put into trees, just depot as show above then spread the roots over the host and tie on firmly with cotton (Cotton is good as it will break down over time ). I am not a fan of the use of sphagnum moss for this process, just water a few times a week for a few months to settled it in.