Australian Dendrobium speciosum species: Culture Sheet Care Guide

Dendrobium speciosum is one of the world's most underrated and exciting of orchids. They are commonly known as rock orchids or rock lily. They are capable of producing possibly the largest display plants and most spectacular shows of the mass blooming of any known orchid. Extraordinarily tough, hardy and drought tolerant it should be one of the most cultivated plants ever! It can tolerate near frost to temperatures over 45°c without severe damage.

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It is one of the most commonly found Australian orchid, several of its hybrids can be found in different habitats on branches of rainforest trees or on sandstone rocks in open forests, As a lithophyte (plants growing on rocks), it can produce large clumps spreading on the rocks and cliff faces, almost in full sun, It can be found from the coastline to the mountains.

This Dendrobium blooms in the spring with outstanding fragrant flowers on a 45 cm long, many flowered Inflorescence. The flowers are beautiful cream to yellow on the outer of the petals and sepals and bright white towards the center. The lower petal, the labellum, is attractively spotted with tiny purple dots.

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Dendrobium speciosum can withstand very bright light, to avoid sun damage on leaves it’s best to provide some mild shade (50-60% shade) the more light you give them the more flowers will be produced. They can have full sun in late autumn and winter.


Dendrobium speciosum can withstand summer temperatures of 45°C and winter temperatures as low as 0°C providing protection from frosts and some shading from the sun to avoid sunburnt leaves. It is important to provide plenty of air movement.


This is an orchid that thrives on low-medium humidity, bright to very bright light and an open well-drained pot with a coarse potting medium like pine bark.  if you can provide 40-50 % humidity it is a bonus but not essential.


Dendrobium speciosum is usually grown in a pot using the coarse medium. Pine bark is one of the best media to grow these plants. Shorter pots are used as the plants do not have deep root systems. Repotting is done in spring or in the case the substrate starts disintegrating. This Dendrobium can also be grown in hanging baskets or mounted.


Watering depends upon the size pot, how large the plant is and also what growing medium is used. Generally, water every 3 days in summer for large pots and every 2 days for smaller pots. For spring and autumn, every 4-5 days, for large pots, every 7-10 days in winter, and again it depends on the pot size, smaller pots require more frequent watering than larger ones. The number one cause of orchids failing to establish and do well is overwatering as root rot can occur very quickly.

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