D. rigidum

D. linguiforme

D. cucumerinum ‘Mem. Stanford Madsen’ AM/AOS

Our experience is from growing the following species: cucumerinum, lichenastrum, lichenastrum var. prenticei, linguiforme, rigida, striolatum, teritifolium and wassellii. All do well in our conditions.

The Royal Botanic Garden, Kew—World Checklist considers these to be Dendrobiums. The genus Dockrillia was created to separate out a group of plants [often endemic to Australia] sometimes called “pencil orchids”. The name Dockrillia commemorates Alick Dockrill, an Australian orchidologist and author. We label our plants as dendrobiums, but often think of them as dockrillia—this group of fleshy-leaved dendrobiums.

Light and where we grow them:
In our greenhouse they hang on screens against the east wall. They’re somewhat sheltered from the bright, late afternoon sun. They seem to like near-cattleya type light, with the morning and mid-day sun being the best.

Water and seasonal variation:
When they’re growing (spring to early fall) we provide lots of water and regular fertilizer. Even with lots of water, they still get a wet, dry, wet, dry treatment. Do not keep them overly wet. They’ll rot! Those fleshy leaves are little water storage devices. They’ll start to shrivel if your’re underwatering them...you just need to “listen” to them—they’ll tell you how you’re doing! In the late fall and through the winter, we cut the back water by 3/4. Less water, less often.

Get them to bloom:
Ours don’t seem to bloom unless they are cooler during their dormant period. Since ours hang against the wall of the greenhouse, and it gets cold here in the winter, they naturally get a cooling period with temperatures in the low 50s. Maybe even cooler. Our mature plants of D. cucumerinum bloom repeatedly from May through September.

The only Dockrillia we’ve ever tried to grow in a pot is D. wassellii. It grows beautifully, but the potted ones don’t bloom for us. My opinion on this is because they’re in plastic pots and despite the lack of water provided in the winter, the increased humidity in our greenhouse in the winter probably keeps them a bit too moist. Terra cotta would be a better choice for them when grown in pots.