Orchid News # 34

Roland Schettler
after studying theology, philosophy and biology, works as scientist at the field of biotechnology in the Institute of Plantbreeding, Bundesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft in Braunschweig, Germany and also works as a high schoolteacher in Halver, Germany. He is one of the founders of Vereinigung Deutscher Orchideenfreunde and their president since 1995, since 1994 the Editor of Journal für den Orchideenfreund, author of several articles and Editor of two books in the field of orchids. Last edited The Dendrobiums which won the Engler medal for best taxonomic book worldwide in 2007. He is a speaker and judge at WOCs and EOCs and advertiser of judging the WOC in Dijon, France

ON: Roland, in your lecture, you give many advices how to grow Dendrobium species. However, you don't mention what conditions are found in your place. Do you live in Europe, don't you? How is your greenhouse? What could you tell about the conditions and adpations you should have done to cultivate Dendrobium species?
RS: In my area middle of Europe we have a period from May until September where we have good warm weather conditions and enough light to cultivate Dendrobiums. During Winter with low light it is very difficult to have the Dendrobiums still alive. You have to take care in watering and even in spraying. Because low temperatur and high humidity will lead to leave diseases after bacterial and funghus infection.

ON: You recommend well drained substrat with pinebark, Perlite and coconut pieces. Some people a desastrous experience with pinebark and coconut pieces as substrate in hot and humid environmental conditions. What could you tell us about it? Your greenhouse has a humid enviroment?
For using pinebark and coconut you have to check every time the water condition inside the pot. And with bad weather and low temperature as in Europe you might have trouble with root rot. I think this will be the same with growing in Bark
in the tropics, because bark will rot fast and you get a damp condition inside the pot, but Dendrobiums love to have air around
the roots. Some species do better when mounted on a piece of bark with some moos or coconut fiber.

ON: How do you control luminosity during the winter?
RS: I am not able to control it, but in the moment I test this new low energy Led bars. And first result better flowers than without additional light.

ON: And about the recently discovered species you mention, Dendrobium trantuanii and Dendrobium vietnamense? In what kind of conditions they grow? Cool or warm species?
RS: The two new discoverd species, D. trantuanii and D. vietnamense grow under intermedian conditions which means 15°C at night and 18°C during daytime, but with sunshine the temperature is higher. Both species have now beginning of march flowerbuds.

ON: You said that your interest in the Genus Dendrobium lasted around 30 years now. It is a long way. Just for curiosity, how many species and many plants you have?
Ido not exactly know, because at beginning of show season in spring I buy some and during winter I sometimes loose some, but I think I have around 100 Dendrobium species.

ON: Which are your preffered species?
RS: My preffered species are D. mohlianum, D. falconery and D. limpidum, but this changes often during a flowering season. All orchids have their own charm.

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