This article was graciously written and contributed by Dr. Wilford Neptune
Culture of Den kingianum
I grow 155 genera, but this is my favorite of all the orchids. This is a
neat, compact , and attractive plant even when not in bloom. It comes
in an array of fragrant, beautiful, long lasting flowers, in shades of
white, pale yellow, white with colored lip, and plain and splash petaled
mauve, pink and purple. This plant will grow vegetatively at any temp,
any lite,and any kind of watering and feeding- but if one wishes it to
bloom to its fullest potential, then it MUST be grown cool (min nite
temp in Fall and Winter below 50F); maximum lite; lots of water when
growing; and lots of food, but never in a high N ratio.
Den kingianum grows normally down to 35F (will tolerate temps down
to 29F), so I put mine outside in April (Boston area), in full east sun;
and it comes back inside in Nov. After blooming, all keikis are
removed, as well as old flower spikes, and the new developing keikis
are left on as they will remain uniform in size and will increase the
amount of flowers. All dendrobes will produce keikis, however
kingianum varies from clone to clone, and within reason this has
nothing to do with culture, in contrast to nobiles, which make
excessive keikis with too much N, or not enough sunshine.
Certain clones, as ‘Ruth’ AM/AOS, and ‘Roy’ AD/AOC/QOS-
HCC/AOS, produce multiple keikis, and if these are not removed
after blooming the keikis make keikis, and these make keikis and
soon there is a veritable weed patch. ‘Karl Marx’ rarely makes
keikis and when it does they are small, and on removing behave
like seedlings out of flask and take 3 to 5 years to bloom; whereas
the usual keiki after removal can be planted and will make a new
growth, perhaps a keiki, and all will usually bloom the following
season. The pot is watered enough to keep it moist, and during hot
weather this may be every day. It is fed 200ppm of N/wk,
in a low N ratio, as 9-27-29. All are potted in a bark mix.
The plant is brought inside in Nov, to a cool house (min nite temp of
48F) and water is withheld until bloom. I have learned by trial and
error that some clones can be watered the entire year, and bloom
well (‘Ruth’ and ‘Roy’); others behave as the book advises and
must be dried out if they are to bloom; and this varies in both
natural and outcrosses.
Currently I have 36 different clones, including the only 6 with flower
awards from the AOS--’Ruth’; ‘Roy’; ‘Betty’ JC; ‘Lansdowne White’
CHM; ‘Inferno’ AM; and ‘Trident’s Pinkie’ AM. I have a CCM/AOS
on ‘Ruth’, and this plant has received more trophies and ribbons in
flower shows than any other plant I own. I also have 12 primary
hybrids with kingianum, and I have received 2 CCMs on xdelicatum
‘Sarah’, one of which was for 94pts.
I have been growing ‘Ruth’ for nearly 20 years, and although it has
an AM/AOS, there are much better clones available now, in color,
number and size of flowers, upright position of spike, and variation
in fragrance. If the conditions for blooming can be met, I believe
this orchid should be in everyone’s collection.
For grooming of this group, see the Oct 1997 issue of Orchids.
May be distributed or published only with permission
of Wilford Neptune.