I just purchased a Dendrochilum magnum and am not sure about its care, medium
or environment. Second, I was at a show and discussed the merits of coconut
fiber as a medium. Could you tell me the pros and cons of the medium as well
as what plants might benefit from it. What is its breakdown time? —
Dendrochilum magnum is truly the king of this fine genus and seems to grow easily under cattleya conditions (60 F nights and 80° F days with bright light). We use a medium similar to what we would use for paphiopedilums or oncidiums, and prefer to underpot. Keep evenly moist while in active growth and repot in spring before new growths emerge.
Coconut fiber and chips have different properties. The chips are being used successfully as a substitute for equivalently sized fir bark and seem to have about the same lasting qualities, though they dry more slowly. Some growers report longer intervals between potting, so there may be benefit in this medium for plants that do not respond well to repotting. Coconut fiber is not often seen, but ground coconut (coir), a substitute for peat moss, is. —
Dendrochilum magnum; photo © Greg Allikas.