Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Temperature Sensitive Pigments

Dend. Himezakura x Super IseThis is a first bloom seedling of Dend. Himezakura x Super Ise, a relatively compact and warmth tolerant Nobile Dendrobium hybrid. I have a batch of them and this is the first to bloom. I'm pleased with it, it is quite cute. Also, it is quite well flowered with 5 short inflorescences each carrying 2-3 flowers about 2 inches across.

The most interesting thing about it though, is that it seems to have temperature sensitve pigment production. I brought it up from our unheated basement (~55F this time of year) to a cool window in the living room (room ~67, window probably a bit less, especially at night). At the time, it had a few open flowers, several buds that opened soon after, and two buds at the top that needed to develop a bit before opening. All of the first flowers to open are white with a pink blush toward the edge. The last two younger buds are the ones you see above with the strong pink edges on the petals. The anther cap is also pink in these flowers. This must be a response to the warmer temperatures during the critical stages of bud development for these two. I think next year I'll bring it upstairs earlier, or just keep it up here permanently, so that all the flowers will be this vibrant!

Growing info for these plants:
These are dwarf nobile type, reaching perhaps a height of ~18 inches (currently ~10 inches tall in 2.5 inch pots). Nobile group plants are deciduous, meaning they generally shed their leaves every year. Don't worry when the leaves start looking a little blah in winter than fall off as long as the canes look good.

Grow like a phalaenopsis in Summer, but increase light and decrease temperature somewhat in Winter. If they don't flower for you they're not cool enough at night. I keep my plants on a screened porch in Summer, leaving them out in the fall until it is quite chilly at night, then put them in my unheated basement under artificial light. Great for rooms with extra drafty windows or little to no heat in winter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful flowers and great information. Blooming flowers is one of the best things about Spring.