Dendrobiums are a fascinating and diverse genus of orchids distributed throughout east-southeast Asia, Australia and islands in the Pacific. Dendrobium bensoniae was one of my very first orchids, and a rather uncommon one in cultivation.
Dendrobium bensoniae is an epiphytic orchid species native to North-eastern India, Myanmar and Thailand. Its an epiphyte found growing at elevations ranging from 1,300 to 5,000 feet. Because of its rather wide distribution, this species tolerates both hot and cool conditions. Similar to most other Dendrobiums from southeast Asia, this species goes deciduous in winter and requires a cool and dry winter rest to grow and flower well.
Culture: I generally prefer to grow my orchids consistent with their growth habit in nature. When I bought the plant, it was potted in a coarse bark mix. In general, repotting of orchids should be done when they are dormant. Once the plant went dormant in winter, I carefully removed the plants from the pot and mounted it on a piece of cork bark. This plant grows actively from Spring through Fall. In nature, the plant grows high in the tree canopy and experiences substantial rainfall during the Summer. Therefore, I grow this plant in a very bright location in my hot-warm greenhouse with substantial air movement. During the summer months, the plant gets watered very well on a daily basis. As is the case with most of my other orchids, my fertilizer regimen consists of about ¼ strength balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer containing all the micronutrients with a pinch of Epsom Salt in a gallon of reverse osmosis (RO) water on a weekly basis in late spring and summer, during the active growth phase. With the onset of Fall, dormancy sets in and the plant starts to lose its leaves. Around this time, I reduce watering and fertilizer and completely stop watering and fertilizing around late-November. In the winter months, the plant only consist of canes and shows no activity.