Dendrobium vexillarius is native to the highlands of New Guinea, occurring in a wide range of flower colors. Generally, the more red and orange forms are found in subspecies at lower elevations. These tend to be easier to grow than the yellow, white, and blue forms from the higher elevations (3000m+).
We have four different clones of Dendrobium vexillarius, and they all thrive with high humidity (60-80%). Currently, all of the mounts and baskets live in a dedicated humid cool room with T5 HO LED lights. However, we have grown two mounts in our house successfully, before the cool room was built. They did well in intermediate conditions (58F/14C winter nights and 64F/18C summer nights), but required a humidifier and watering 1-2x daily.
While Dendrobium vexillarius are stunning for the color and longevity of their flowers, I would say they require much more “maintenance” to grow well, given their high humidity requirements. Also, I have noted that some cultivars will grow and flower strongly for a few years and then cease to initiate new growths, even with abundantly growing roots on their mounts. Without new growths, they eventually fade.
I believe that this tendency gives the species a reputation of being difficult to grow in cultivation. In my experience, I would not say that Dendrobium vexillarius are difficult to grow, but many do not seem to be particularly long-lived, even with excellent conditions and initial vigor. I do wish that this was not the case! I am uncertain why this occurs, and cannot find a clear cultural reason.
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