Dendrobium amethystoglossum — known aptly as the amethyst-colored Dendrobium — is native to the mossy limestone cliffs of the Philippines. This orchid is sought after because of its beautiful flowers that hang down magnificently in their bundled inflorescences.
After several years of trial and error, we can proudly proclaim that we know what we’re doing when it comes to growing and caring for Dendrobium amethystoglossum. Continue reading as we reveal all that matters when it comes to becoming the best orchid parent ever!
What Is Dendrobium Amethystoglossum?
Dendrobium amethystoglossum is an evergreen orchid that grows as a lithophyte in nature, thriving on rocks and boulders as its natural habitat. Here is a brief description of this unique-looking flowering plant for you.
– Pseudobulbs And Stems
- This orchid is about 17 to 19 inches tall.
- It comprises pseudobulbs that grow from roots and provide strength and extra nutrients to the stems.
- The stems of amethystoglossum are numerous, clustered and zigzag in shape.
- Each individual stem grows up to 23 to 35 inches tall.
- These stems are cane-like and may be erect or hanging down.
- The flowers of amethystoglossum grow through winter till spring.
- These flowers grow on pendants or racemes that are approximately 6 inches long.
- Each inflorescence comprises 15 to 20 clusters of fragrant flowers.
- Dendrobium amethystoglossum petals are white in color with purple or amethyst-colored petal tips and a purple lip in the center of the two whorls of petals. All sepals and petals are pointed in shape and open all the way.
- Flowers are small-sized, measuring 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.
- The flowers of Dendrobium amethystoglossum are long-lived and fragrant.
- The leaves are a defining characteristic of this orchid, being oval, oblong and slightly curved backward at the tips.
- Each leaf is only about 4 inches long and is pale green, shiny and leathery in appearance.
- They usually fall before flowering occurs, so look out for this signal when you are waiting for the beautiful flowers of this plant to appear!
– Life Cycle
- The amethyst Dendrobium has an active growth period that lasts from spring through summer, and sometimes stretches to the early fall.
- The flowering, instead, occurs from fall until spring.
- Flowering is followed by a dormancy or rest period of the orchid.
Dendrobium Amethystoglossum Care
Caring for Dendrobium Amethystoglossum is easy enough once you have the right guidance. This plant falls in the category of average maintenance plants. You will have to form a regular schedule to take care of it on a daily basis, but we assure you that this little orchid will take very little of your precious time.
The light requirements of this plant are a bit different from your average orchid. Continue reading below to find them out.
- The amethyst-colored Dendrobiums love light and need approximately 30,000 to 50,000 lux light.
- As a houseplant, this orchid can tolerate direct sunlight if you live in an area where the sunlight isn’t very intense.
- Only during late spring and summer will you need to move this plant to a partially shaded area.
- Direct morning sunlight is better tolerated than the evening sun.
- Each day, you have to expose your amethystoglossum to light for about 12 hours.
- This is an orchid that you can put outdoors during the day to soak up the sun and then move back in as the day fades away.
- If this back and forth movement sounds like too much effort to put in daily, simply put your plant near a window where it receives tons of bright light.
The water needs of this orchid are very important for proper flowering to occur.
- As you know, the active phase of amethystoglossum lasts from spring until fall. During this active period, the soil needs to be moist at all times. You will need to water the plant before the soil has had a chance to dry out.
- Make sure not to overwater your orchid, though. The key here is that the soil should be constantly moist, but never soggy.
- After the bloom has taken place, the period of dormancy kicks in from fall until the following spring. In this period, reduce the amount of water gradually and distance waterings so that the soil can dry up a bit before your plant receives the next drink.
- If your orchid is mounted on a piece of cork or in a hanging basket, it will need to be watered more. The reason for this is that bare-rooted plants have no soil or substrate to provide them moisture for longer periods.
There are three ways you can keep these orchids in your home as ornamental plants. Each method requires a different type of soil. Let’s explore them together in the next section.
– Potted Plant
The most important thing to do when potting your orchids is to choose the right pot for them.
- The size of the pot should allow adequate root growth for about two years. However, these types of plants like to be confined. Therefore, don’t use pots that are too large either.
- The material of the pot should preferably be clay, as it allows breathing space for the plant. At all times, prefer clay over plastic.
- There should be a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
- Decide on a potting medium that retains moisture for longer periods without getting soggy.
– Mounted Plant
You can also mount your orchids in bare-rooted format on pieces of cork or bark. This method will require you to give more water to the orchids and ensure a stricter maintenance of high humidity levels. When the roots begin to outgrow their container, you can simply attach more pieces of cork or bark.
– Hanging Plant
Dendrobium Amethystoglossum looks heavenly when grown in baskets due to their hanging inflorescences. We recommend you use wooden baskets as they provide good drainage and air circulation to these orchids.
Dendrobium amethystoglossum orchid is native to colder habitats. Even in summer, the average daytime temperature it needs is around 74 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and not more than this. During summer nights, the ambient temperature should be lower than 60 Fahrenheit.
Exposure to higher temperatures prevents the proper growth of this orchid and negatively affects the Dendrobium amethystoglossum blooming schedule.
During wintertime, the average daytime temperatures are the same as those required in summer. However, during winter nights, they can tolerate temperatures as low as 49 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Just take care that the winter nighttime temperature remains above 42 degrees Fahrenheit at least.
Some Additional Needs
- Your orchids also need food in the form of fertilizers! You can use any good quality orchid fertilizer, but we suggest using only one quarter to one half the recommended strength on the label.
- Fertilize once every week. Mix the fertilizer in water equal to the volume of the pot and let it sit for at least an hour.
- Once a month, flush the entire plant with abundant water to prevent the build-up of toxins in the potting media.
- It is best to use a fertilizer rich in phosphorus in the fall and winter. Substitute it with a nitrogen-rich one during spring and summer.
- The amethyst-colored Dendrobiums need extremely high humidity levels all year round.
- You will need to provide them with 85 to 90 percent surrounding humidity at all times.
- Bare-rooted houseplants do not have any soil or substrate to retain moisture for them. You will need to mist them at least twice a day to maintain the required humidity levels.
- A humidifier is the best friend of every orchid grower. Buy a good quality one and use it so that your plant is always surrounded by the right level of humidity.
You now know the basics of growing and caring for an amethystoglossum by yourself at home. The most important take-away points are as follows:
- Dendrobium Amethystoglossum is an evergreen lithophyte orchid that produces flowers with white-colored petals and a purple lip.
- The active growing period of this orchid is from spring to fall. The plant blooms in autumn, after which its rest period starts and lasts until the following spring.
- This orchid needs partial sunlight from spring until mid-summer, and direct sun for the rest of the year.
- Direct sunlight is well-tolerated, especially the early morning one.
- Water your amethystoglossum copiously. Don’t let the substrate become dry during active growth. Reduce water during the winter rest months.
- You can pot these plants or mount them on slabs and baskets. The decision is up to you!
- Use a well-draining potting medium that retains moisture but doesn’t become soggy.
- The amethyst-colored Dendrobiums like to grow in lower temperatures all year round.
- Maintain adequate humidity levels, around 85 to 90 percent, at all times.
- Fertilize once every week.
In many orchid lovers’ opinion, Dendrobium amethystoglossum is an ideal houseplant. It produces beautiful flowers with a very welcoming fragrance and doesn’t require you to spend a lot of time caring for it. With only a little care and attention, you can make your winters a little more colorful!
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