Dendrobium aphyllum in our backyard blooming after a freak weather

Quezon City-Philippines

This is part of our small garden where i have mounted some of the Dendrobium aphyllum that i have collected in many parts of the country .

It is almost the beginning of the dry period . The last major rains we got was several weeks ago when Typhoon Koppu ( Bagyong Lando ) gave at least 2 to 3 days of rains.

Dendrobium aphyllum ( Marikina clone )

My last application of slow release fertilizer was on the middle part of September and I think most of them will eventually release all their nutrients by late November . I started  to water less and apply 10N-30P-30K water soluble fertilizer ( diluted into 1/4 of the recommended strength ) . This is to help strengthened the pseudo bulbs ( canes) . Planning to do this on bi-weekly basis until the end of November . Just enough to aid the maturing canes.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA according to their weather bulletin that Northwest Monsoon ( Amihan )  had  begun early October and will last until early February 2016. It had made a weather advisory dated October PAG-ASA climate advisories that a strong El Niño.


I got a mix emotion with regards to the advisory by the weather bureau . It means that there will be shorter canes compared last year but much earlier and maybe more blooms for these orchid species by 2016.

Dendrobium aphyllum with Phalaenopsis X Intermedia

Some of the Dendrobium aphyllum canes are slowly maturing , their upper leaves are slowly turning into yellow and are falling off the pseudobulb. A lot of the older canes are between 100cm to 150cm long . The other much larger specimen failed  to grow more than 150cm  which indicate that we got lesser rainfall and humidity compared to last year.

Dendrobium aphyllum ( Laguna and Quezon  province)

Another problem was the insect infestation ( probably caterpillars of butterflies or moths ) which ate the youngest leaves and pseudo-bulbs .  Then a mild fungal infection on young leaves, I was away for several days and i could not do anything with the infestation.  Just applied a mild fungal mixture and sprayed them on the orchids when i came back .  We also tried to withhold watering for several days.

Phalaenopsis X Intermedia

Some of our neighbors are probably inspired or amazed by the number of orchids attached to the palms that some of them are asking our growing techniques . I think there is no such secret for growing these orchid very luxuriantly . We just observed proper fertilization techniques and ideal growing conditions for these lovely orchid species.

Phalaenopsis X Intermedia

Phalaenopsis X Intermedia started to bloom. We have mounted some of them in Macarthur palm .

Ethno-Botanical Importance:

According to some old folks ( Bicol and Quezon ) the orchid flowers of Phalaenopsis X Intermedia are gathered preferably late afternoon before dusk around 5:00pm ( between 7 to 8 flowers) soak them in 1 glass of drinking water for the entire night  so that the potency of flowers will be absorbed by the water and drinking them to heal fatigue or for body ache the following day , just before eating anything .

Another herb specialist ( herbalista- from Samar ) told me that they also used some of the flowers to ward-off evil spirits which lingers in one abode. He even tried to encourage people to grow more of this orchid . I never tried to ask them on the procedure but it seems that they preferred live orchids .

 Mama Nene’s Garden  shared her experience with regards to the potency of the flowers which help her felt relief and rejuvenated.

Link to previous post: Phalaenopsis x intermedia in our backyard

Dendrobium aphyllum with inflorescence

The photo above was fairy sanggumay with some inflorescence  despite that there are still leaves intact. i was suspecting that it must be a freak weather pattern that induced this orchid to bloom without shedding their leaves.

This is one of the most commonly traded orchid species during garden shows, sunday market and favorite among local landscapers and backyard orchid hobbyists .

They are commonly called sanggumays, fairy sanggumay, dainty sanggumay , salome among others.

Here are some of the previous article links that i wrote about Dendrobium aphyllum. 

Dendrobium cucullatum flowering in our garden

Fairy sanggumay blooming in our garden

Fairy sanggumays flowering in the city


Tillandsia ionantha: An airplant blooming in our garden

Quezon City , Philippines

Hello to all my avid readers and followers,

Tillandsia ionantha ( October 18, 2015)

I have been growing Tillandsia species for over 15 years.  Just like any hobbies , There are some misfortune that happened to my Tillandsia collection over the past several years of actively growing them. I am sharing some of the growing techniques and some tips on how to grow them properly under Philippines and perhaps tropical conditions.  I have killed several species due to over-watering .

After the devastating Typhoon Koppu ( Bagyong Lando ) which struck several days ago .  While walking around our small garden , i saw one of my Tillandsia oinantha clump started to turn reddish.

I bought a single Tillandisa ionantha in 2012 during the Flora Filipina expo , This was just to add to the different varieties that i started collecting way back in 2003. The price had been quite stable for the past several years since there are a lot of active garden growers , enthusiasts and even commercial farms which propagate them in massive quantities.

I got up to more than half a dozen varieties of Tillandsia ionantha which i have bought at the garden shows and plant stalls when the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation was still in operation .

Try to separate large clump whenever it is possible , It allows better air circulation and it prevents rots. If you lived in a place with high air circulation , watering should be copious.

They are also commonly called air plant, sky plant, wreath plant , blushing bride among others.

Tillandsia ionantha ( October 22, 2015 ) inflorescence turning red

Ethno-Botanical Importance:  They are normally used as a decoration mainly for holiday season and on festive occasions in much of their range , they are fashion into wreath and good luck charm

Origin: Southern United States , Central , Carribean and South America

Cultivar Varieties : There are between 50 to 60 cultivar varieties depending on plant authorities

Height: 6-12 in (15-30 cm) depending on the variety

Here are some of my Growing Tips :

Light: Bright, indirect light. Tillandsia ionantha also thrive under fluorescent lights, making them good office plants, indoor plants. Good for balcony, patio growing .

Under outdoor growing area , I usually moved them indoor ( temporary )   if there is a continuous rain ( monsoon rains  ) which last for over 1 hour or so .

Water: Spray plants twice a week, until they are thoroughly wet. Or you can take them to the sink and run water over them. DO NOT soak them. Turn plants upside down to allow excess water to run off. Standing water at the base of the leaves will cause them to rot.

Humidity: Moderate to high humidity. Brown leaf tips are caused by dry air.

Fertilization: I water first the entire plant before feeding them with very diluted water soluble fertilizer twice a month 1/4 of the recommended dosage , Alternating 20N-20-P-20K with 30N-10P-10K every other week .

Propagation: Growing sky plant from offshoots or “pups” is the best way to create new plants. Pups grow at the base of the mother plant.

Note: Try to fasten them with plastic coated wires on driftwood or small logs , sometimes they can be hung with ordinary plastic wires.  Some disliked being fasten using ordinary aluminum wires.

* Photos are taken by the author

Website links: Kew Garden

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