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Do it now! Australian Dendrobium hybrids and pulling down the sheath. Also known as "Tulip Leaf" Really importand tip!

Yestererday I looked at my plant of Dendrobium Yondi Tina 'Goliath' FCC and saw the typical tulip leaf being extra fused this season.

1 cane has already been lost due to overhead watering and misting (thats $250 buggerit!)

So i thought i would reprint this blog.


Sometimes growing orchids can be intimidating and somewhat difficult.

Here is a great tip used by all the best Australian Dendrobium growers. 

All hybrids that have Dendrobium Star of Gold 'Bathurst' in their background seem to suffer from this affliction.  





The next generation to use Star of Gold 'Bathurst' had this genetic fault also.

The famous Yondi Tina 'Goliath' FCC  is the worst for perpetuating the fault.

Tulip leaf is when the protective young leaf sheath surrounds the expanding new growth strangles the young leaves into a water holding cup  like a tulip flower.

All the examples shown below are Dendrobium Brimbank Gold. A wonderful gold bloom, but a complete must for sheath peeling.


The problem then lies in the fact this holds water. The young new growths tend to produce sugary liquids to attract ants (another blog in itself)  and this mixes with trapped water to ferment and rot the new cane.

In a hobby collection its easily controlled,by pealing and sometimes minor sugery, but in a commercial situation its just too much work. Better to try and breed it out.

So how to do? Easy,just pinch the leaf fine sheath and peal it down to allow the water to escape. If you dont, bacteria and fungus may germinate and damage as shown below


So now you know!

But sometimes its not that easy. The new sheath may not be so papery and may require a scalpel or box cutter to slice down the sheath. This may be nessesary if up to three layers of sheath need to be removed. What a bloody nuisance!


Be careful, as if done too early the growth may collapse. Also watch out for the growing flower nodes which look like lemon pips. This is where your blooms may come from.

This proceedure may also be needed on Dendrobium speciosum and nearly always on Dendrobium Avril's Gold, even though there is no Star Of Gold in their background.

Warm humid weather and overhead watering also make this rotting more common,as does high temeratures.

 It may also be nessesary to perform this on plants as young as 50mm tubes. Below also shows the botritis attack from Tulip leaf I just caught before losing the growth.

As now exposed to air, it should dry and heal.


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  • Marian Ley on

    Thank you for this tip.

  • angela on

    as a newgrower i found this very informative as ive had death by this and not knowing what was causing it.

  • Terry Sowter on

    I found the same some of my Cats whilst checking my Dendrobiums. Thank you for the heads up. But I’m a compulsive sheath puller anyway. I have always found your blogs both informative and humorous.

  • Mary Tang on

    Thanks for the reminder; looks like I have a lot of peeling to do!

  • Graham Hastings on

    I have the same problem up here on the lower Atherton Tablelands with new growth on most of my natives including my speciosums with high humidity frequent storms and a leaky roof in monsoon showers .
    Just thought I would mention a trick I picked up from Gerry Walsh , buy as many as you need of polysitrone disposable coffee cups ( not the plastics ones as they can sweat ) and I place these over the new growths when watering / ferterlizing or on those special problem ones . Take it off after watering and the growth stays dry . It is a bit of a pain in the butt specially when you have to get 120 or more , but it works for me.

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