Often know as 'softcanes', these beautiful, frost-sensitive epiphytic orchids derive mainly from Dendrobium nobile orchids found in the mountains of South-East Asia from the Himalayas to Southern China and Taiwan, where they experience hot, humid, wet summers and cool, dryish winters. They have long-lasting blooms in a variety of hues, which appear in mid- to late spring. The flowers are sometimes decorated with a large dark mark on each lip. The canes grow around 45 cm in length.
In frost-free climates, they can be affixed to trees or tree fern trunks: I cut a slit half-way along an old pantyhose leg and tie a knot on one side of it. I put some orchid mixture into the stocking then tie another knot a little further on to make a sort of sack. The orchid is placed into this sack then tied onto a tree using the ends of the pantyhose. By the time the orchid has grown roots to hold itself onto the tree, the pantyhose will have disintegrated more or less, and can eventually be removed. Suitable trees for hosts include Jacaranda, frangipani, lilly pilly and Callistemon.
They can also be grown in pots or hanging baskets of 100-150 mm diameter, using orchid mix. They like some morning sun but must be sheltered from the hot afternoon sun in summer. They enjoy being watered once a week, especially from early spring to mid-autumn, and this will also help deter pests such as red spider mite, mealybugs and scale insects. They can be given a soluble orchid food occasionally during the growing season. Propagation is by detaching a cane; these sometimes develop rootlets in mid-air!