I have an Australian Native Orchid that was given to me by the local council when I got my Australian Citizenship way back in 2004
Australian Native Orchids
It's been in my ex's backyard and I discovered how neglected it was. I had him drop it off this morning as I'd like to give a good prune but have no idea where to begin.
Please help this poor plant
Well that proves how well orchids can thrive on neglect!
Okay, first-off to what you actually have there. It’s most often called the ‘rock orchid’ (or sometimes rock lily) as it happily grows in near-soil-less situations in rock crevices or tree stumps. It’s true name is Dendrobium speciosum.
Pruning is really only done to remove those dead flower spikes.
This one looks like it would appreciate re-potting. They can be divided if needed but generally they are left to form large clumps.
Cut the plastic pot off and find another suitable pot. Personally I like terracotta squat-pots or these ‘super bloomers’.
Once you have it de-potted you’ll probably find that some of those old & daggy back-bulbs (the yellowish shrivelled up ones with no leaves) will come away easily. If so they can be removed but don't tear them off.
Tease the roots out a little and remove any dead material too.
If you really need to you can divide the plant. This can often be done just by just gently teasing the root/bulb mass apart with your hands. Best to wear gloves. You want to keep the divided sections in clumps of at least a few connected & actively growing bulbs/stems.
When it comes to re-potting they don’t want regular potting mix. They need something high in bark for drainage & root development.
You may need to use some wire to gently hold the plant(s) in place until they establish new roots.
That's about it. Water sparingly, don't stand in a saucer of water & feed lightly once or twice a year. The occasional application of very diluted liquid seaweed or another organically based product helps too. But keep it well diluted.
Hi @Adam_W and thanks for replying.
The Orchid is a Dendrobium speciosum - thanks for finding the botanical name for me.
I have bought a larger pot, but not too large as I know they like to be "cramped". The potting mix I picked up was the Osmocote one you mentioned.
Will the new pot be OK? I've kept the receipt in case I need to exchange it.
It blooms around August, would it benefit from a feed after the re-potting?
No worries Dee,
You are correct, they like to be crammed in.
That pot size looks fine, just make sure the drainage hole is nice & clear as too much moisture will destroy most orchids very quickly. Might even be worth putting another 5 or so 10mm holes in the base of that pot just to be safe.
The mix you have contains fertiliser that will last for around 12-months so beyond a very, very light application of diluted Seasol that's about all the plant will need until next year.
When you do feed it you can either use a specialised product or a reduced application of a suitable controlled-release like Osmocote.
You'll also find some specialised orchid liquid feeds that you apply regularly at different times of the year if you want to get totally into it.