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The Queensland Gardening Pages
Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
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Garden Orchids

Rather than trying to cover the huge subject of orchids entirely, on this page the emphasis will be on easy-to-grow orchids suitable for the general landscape (including Australian native orchids). Given the current need for low-water use plants and plants suitable for small gardens and patios etc, it may be time to explore the potential of orchids as ornamental plants for the regular home gardener.

Consider joining your local orchid society for information as well as shows, displays, meetings, outings or plant sales. Please check the bottom of the page for links.


Nitrogen and flowering in Phalaenopsis

The moth orchid cultivar used in the study at a nursery in Taiwan
The moth orchid cultivar used in the study at a nursery in Taiwan. Photo by Yao-Chien Alex Chang

A study on the use of nitrogen by Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) shows that adequate nitrogen fertilisation is required at all stages of growth for good flowering. The uptake and use of the nutrient throughout the growth cycle was followed by using the N15 isotope. It was found that a substantial amount of nitrogen taken up by the inflorescence was derived from fertiliser applied during flower development, but that some of the nitrogen applied in earlier vegetative growth stages also ended up in the flower spike. Source: Nitrogen source determined significant for inflorescence development in Phalaenopsis (March 2014)

Older news at bottom of page.


Where to buy Orchids

Some garden centres will carry a limited selection of orchids. For a larger selection look for an orchid nursery in your area, or an online or mail order nursery.


As well as orchid nurseries in Qld, mail-order and online suppliers of orchids to Qld may also be listed here. If you're such a business, learn more: Information for advertisers.

More Online Information

The following links are for general information and research - some species or cultivars mentioned in these websites may be unavailable in Australia

Orchids Orchids of Lamington National Park

Many clubs and societies list upcoming events in the Events Diary, so why not see what's on in your area?

Australia's Native Orchids Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Growing Orchids in the Garden Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Orchid Species Society Inc (Natives and exotics)
More than symbioses: orchid ecology, with examples from the Sydney Region Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney (PDF)
West Australian Orchids by Emily H Pelloe, 1930. (A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook)
My Favourite Rainforest Plants for Containers by David Ratcliffe, Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Growing Orchids from Seed Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Virus diseases of orchids Victoria Department of Primary Industries

There are a plethora of websites about orchids on the internet. Just go to your favourite search engine and you'll quickly find plenty of information. Here are few to get you started:
What is an Orchid? Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Orchid Adaptations to an Epiphytic Lifestyle Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Orchids on Bark or Driftwood Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Terrestrial orchids for South Florida University of Florida (PDF)
Orchid Arabia Orchids of the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Aramco World magazine

Species or Groups:
Crucifix Orchids (Epidendrum species and hybrids)

Cooktown Orchid Dendrobium phalaenopsis Australian National Botanic Gardens (includes story of its selection as Floral Emblem of Queensland)
Australian Floral Emblems - Dendrobium bigibbum Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Dendrobium speciosum Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney
Establishing Dendrobium Orchids Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Dendrobium kingianum Post at "Albert's Greenhouse" blog
Dendrobium Culture - Evergreen Types Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Dendrobium - Nobile Type Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida

Black Orchid Cymbidium canaliculatum, at the Toowoomba Plants blog
Cymbidium canaliculatum (Black orchid, Channel-leaf Cymbidium, Tiger orchid)
Cymbidiums - Temperature Tolerant Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida

Oncidium Alliance Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Oncidium Culture Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida

Vandaceous Alliance Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida

Bletilla striata - Chinese Ground Orchid University of Illinois Extension
Galeola - a Climbing Orchid Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, Bayside Branch
Sarcochilis Orchids The Florez Nursery blog, NSW

Black Bootlace Orchid Erythrorchis cassythoides (Galeola cassythoides), at the Toowoomba Plants blog

Older News

Night-flowering orchid discovered
The first known night-flowering orchid has been discovered on an island near Papua New Guinea. Even though many other orchids are pollinated by moths, their flowers remain open during the day. In contrast, the flowers of Bulbophyllum nocturnum open after dark and close in the morning. They last only one night. It's pollinator is as yet unknown, but could be a midge. Source: World's first night-flowering orchid is discovered (November 2011)

Rare orchid flowers for 4th time in 40 years
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's specimen Bulbophyllum fletcherianum has recently flowered for only the 4th time since it was collected in Papua New Guinea in the early seventies. The species is also unusual in that its flowers smaell strongly of rotting meat, and it has leaves that grow to almost 1.8 metres long. Source: Rare 'rotting meat' orchid in flower for first time in six years (June 2011)

Mackay orchid house revamp a success
The success of the Mackay Regional Council Orchid House refurbishment has been demonstrated by a flowering of the rare Tongue Orchid (Bulbophyllum fletcherianum). Tongue-shaped leaves growing to almost 1.8 metres make this New Guinea native one of the world's largest growing orchids, while the short-lived flowers have a colour and aroma that attract blowflies and carrion beetles. The Orchid House in Queens Park, Mackay, also house 675 other orchid varieties. Source: Rare orchid thrives in newly refurbished Orchid House (July 2010)

Cricket identified as orchid pollinator
Researchers trying to discover the pollinator of Angraecum cadetii on the island of Reunion trained a night camera on the orchid and caught a wingless cricket in the act. They say there is a close match between the cricket's head and the flower's nectar-spur opening, and that the cricket's utilisation of nectar might be an adaptation to the scarcity of other insects on the island. Source: First known instance of a cricket as an orchid pollinator captured on film by Kew scientist (January 2010)

Native orchid rediscovered
Two plants of Dwarf Spider-Orchid (Caladenia pumila), have been found in Victoria. This species was last seen in 1926, and was thought to be extinct. In the two months since the discovery, no additional plants have been found. The location of the two known plants is being kept a secret for their protection, but attempts are being made to propagate from them. More information from Victoria's The Department of Sustainability and Environment: 'Lost' orchid re-discovered after 83 years (December 2009)

More to come in future updates.




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