Bottle brush orchid rebloom ( Dendrobium busigerum

It rained for 3 days due to northeast monsoon, It is good that the rain had stop one day after Christmas day.

Dendrobium busigerum or commonly called as bottle brush orchid or toothbrush orchid is an orchid species with cute flowers ( one flower stalk can have as many as 100 small flowers). However in recent years, i notice that few homes had this type of orchid species, despite being commonly sold in Baclaran, Centris Sunday market ( Quezon City) and ambulant vendors.

The orchid species is also called sanggumay by ambulant vendors of Baclaran and Centris. I have seen some of this orchid species naturalized on Mango trees, Christmas palm, coconuts and even driftwood ( kakawate).

Etho-botanical and Cultural Importance

Some orchid growers would grow this particular orchid species because they believe that this orchid species can bring good luck to their family and ward off evil spirits. In some instances, pseudobulbs are grounded up for medicinal uses.


Dendrobium busigerum ( grown by the author)

Some backyard growers are not very impress with the minuscule flowers, But carefully looking at the cluster of flowers will Dendrobium busigerum is an epiphytic or sometimes growing in boulders/ karst forest. The pseudobulbs can grow up to about 50 – a little over 100 cm in length, grows in clusters of many pseudobulbs over the years. The stem is divided into multiple internodes, each internode has a leaf. The young stem usually have a green or white coat, the old stem often gray ash or gray.

This orchid species was recently reclassified as a separate species by Mr. Cootes and George Tiong ( A Guide to Dendrobium of the Philippines ) published in 2015.

Orchid hobbyists and growers are still baffled with these minor difference and still refer this one as Dendrobium secundum.

This species can be found in Albay, Camarines provinces, Catanduanes, Rizal, Sorsogon, Bataan, Samar, Leyte, Agusan, Davao, Lanao possibly Quezon, Masbate and Laguna province from sea level to about 700 meters in elevation.

One distinguishing feature of this orchid species is the flower are arranged radially on the inflorescence and the flowers are smaller and does not open fully, Dendrobium secundum open more fully and larger and facing in one direction. The number of inflorescence of Dendrobium busigerum are much more. Both species would exhibit some color variations.


Dendrobium busigerum grown on Macarthur palm ( Ptychosperma macarthurii)

Cultural Techniques

During its growing period, This orchid species requires high temperatures, humidity with regular watering, but leaving the compost to dry up, if in pot, before giving water again, upon growth completion, to observe a dry period in during dry season, with slightly cooler temperatures, in order to have the flowering till the coming of the new vegetation; a constant, good air circulation is key to successful growing.

This orchid also prefers growing on live trees, palm with little moss or coconut husk.

This orchid can flower two or three times a year in our growing condition. We observe that the flowering is triggered with the change of weather and rainfall.

Watering: During rainy season, we normally do not water the orchid and observing a short rest period during dry season which start from late November to early May ( watering them sparely).

Fertilization: The period from mid- May to early November of each year is the period of orchid growing more branches and strong growth (which also coincide with rainy season in the western part of the Philippines)
We would apply a water soluble fertilizer (20N-20P-20K) apply twice or even three times a week at 1/4 the recommended strength. We would also put slow release fertilize about 30 to 40 pieces tied on a small cloth.
We would also apply calcium nitrate ( twice a month ) with micro-nutrient solution once a month. Other nutrient solutions like Magnesium sulfate would only require small amount.
Flushing them at least once a week with ordinary tap water. All our Dendrobium busigerum are big and specimen size. smaller orchid would only need between 10 to 20 pieces of slow release fertilizer. ( There are several well known brands like Nutricote and Osmocote)
Try to observe the dry season by watering less ( every 3 to 5 days) from late November to early May (which also coincide with the dry season in the western part of the Philippines).
Diseases: This orchid is prone to scales and aphids. We also try to apply fungicide just before the onset of the rainy season at least every two weeks.
Personal communication with backyard orchid growers
Philippine Native Orchid Species, Cootes 2009
Cootes , Tiong A Guide to Dendrobium of the Philippines, 2015



Orchidarium and Philippine Orchid Society’s New Office

Orchidarium Park, Sunken Lagoon Area, Quezon Cityhall- Quezon City-Philippines

Quezon Cityhall overlooking the sunken garden

It was in the late 1970’s when Quezon City government had developed  the 2.5 hectares man-made lagoon for boating and .


Among the attractions were the Our Lady of Peace grotto, a tea house, a rock garden and sister cities markers from several countries.


 New Westminster City -British Columbia, Canada totem pole ( sister city)

People would refer this place as Orchidarium Park in reference to the orchid species and hybrids that are planted there.

nipa hut as part of the garden fixtures

Philippine Orchid Society members during last November 21 general meeting and election

There used to be an active local garden club which is called Quezon City Orchid Society founded in the early 1980’s which conducts orchid shows and lectures near the compound.

gazebo area

 The Philippine Orchid Society started to have some garden shows at this place around the early part of 2000 until later part of 2009. There are also other plant societies like Cactus and Succulent Society of the Philippines ( CSSP ) , Philippine Bonsai Society which also held their previous plant shows and bazaar at the site.


The area is still undergoing some improvements and re-landscaping process .

orchid species like Dendrobium anosmum, Dendrobium aphyllum , Dendrobium busigerium were mounted on frangipani (aka kalachuchi)

It was early 2014 when partnership between Philippine Orchid Society and Quezon Cityhall government to develop, beautify and maintain the area . In fact , members started to donate native orchids and hybrids to beautify the park.

( Grammatophyllum wallisii and Dendrobium anosmum)  are still being introduced on large trees

There was a ceremonial soft-opening on December 22,2014 were members of the society were invited and Mayor Herbert Bautista. There are plans  to put a small laboratory and a green house for the propagation of rare and endangered orchid species for eventual release to the general public.

January 10, 2015 -inaugural ground laying ceremonies

A 50-square meter office with small library ( magazines and books about orchids and plants )  in which people can do research and visit the place. ( The place is not yet open to the general public) .

Vanda Miss Joaquim- Popularly called Singapore Orchid

Vanda Agnes Miss Joaquim is the national orchid of Singapore. This orchid was first found at the garden of an Armenian living in Singapore named Ashkhen Hovakimian.   It was recognized as a hybrid not only by orchid expert Henry Ridley in 1893 and again in 1896, but by other contemporary orchid growers as well as orchid journals including the Orchid Review. Sander’s Complete List of Orchid Hybrids, which distinguished between natural and artificial hybrids, listed Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ as an artificial hybrid.

According to old time backyard hobbyists in the Philippines, This used to be the most ” Loved” and most commonly grown imported orchid hybrids in the 1950’s until early- 1970’s since it can be grown with minimal care and can be grown in almost full sun. I remember that some of our neighbors grew this orchid hybrid around their garden and around the perimeter walls.  Gradually, backyard hobbyists slowly began losing their interest when the more showy semi-terete Vandas hybrids began flooding the market in the late 1970’s but somehow some prized collectors was left.

 Vanda lamellata blooming

A saleslady ( Malvarosa Orchids) told me that it was one of their most saleable orchid in the 1980’s up to the early 90’s. Unfortunately , They also ran out of stock .

Fortunately , There are a few backyard growers and dedicated orchid hobbyists from provinces that still grow this orchid . Hence a few were re-introduced again to the market.

Vanda lamellata ( one of the free flowering native species )

There were at least 50 Philippine orchid species that were introduced at the park. Some of them are the world reknown  Vanda sanderiana ( Waling-waling ), Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay ) , Dendrobium aphyllum ( fairy , lesser or dainty sanggumay ) Dendrobium dearei among others….

Dendrobium dearei and Dendrobium busigerum ( secundum)

A lot of them were planted on living trees, shrubs and palms . Some were mounted on kakawate driftwoods.

Trichoglottis philippinensis

The aim of having a living orchid , native plant collection is to properly educated and showcase to the public and gardeners on how important these species and their vital role in biodiversity conservation.

cacti and succulents

Aside from the dozens of orchid hybrids, ferns, hoyas, cacti, succulents, bromeliads and native trees.


Last December 5,2015 Philippine Orchid Society member Mr. Jimmy Yu donated several boxes of magazines and books to be included in the library .

 officers holding the magazines and books donated by Mr. Jimmy Yu last December 5, 2015-( They were officially turn-over to the secretariat ) 

However , a special permit may be requested at the QC parks development administration for the use of the space ( I think there are minimal cost for space rentals)

For those who wanted to donate cash , plants or any form of donation  for the project , you may contact the POS Secretariat at Unit 201 Delsa Mansion ,Scout Borromeo corner Scout Torillo street , Barangay South Triangle ,Quezon City

Contact Persons: Ms. Jenny F. Rivera ( Secretary ) or Mr. Jiffy Alegre

Office : Monday to Saturday -8:00am to 5:00pm

Contact Details:

Landline : 957-3524 , 09178485468

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