Section Latouria Dendrobium Orchid Care

“New Guinea Dendrobiums”

Common Species

Den. aberrans, Den. alexandrae, Den. atroviolaceum, Den. convolutum, Den. johnsoniae, Den. rhodostictum, Den. spectabile

General Description

A popular group of Dendrobiums hailing from Australasia, with many species native to New Guinea and nearby island groups. Latouria Dendrobiums are often easily identified by their bulbous, top-heavy canes and sprays of winged flowers. Flowers typically appear seasonally en-masse, often in the winter and spring months, and can last for well over a month. Latouria hybrids have been a popular focus for Dendrobium breeders in recent years and can range in size from the compact Den. Mini Snowflake to the sizable Den. Roy Tokunaga. Some species and hybrids feature sweet flower fragrances. Many of the common Latouria species and hybrids are hardy, reliable orchids that will grow and bloom well for novice and advanced growers alike with adequate care.

Culture Notes


Variable from cool to hot, depending on the species or hybrid but most commonly-available varieties will flourish at intermediate to warm temperatures (62F minimum night / 85F maximum day). Many will tolerate a slightly cooler, drier winter period but do not require a specific winter rest like some other Dendrobiums.


Latouria Dendrobiums grow well with bright, indirect light. Filtered light from south- or east-facing windows will suit plants of this Section well. Avoid extended exposure to direct sunlight, particularly in the afternoon and early spring mornings.

Humidity, Watering & Feeding

Most Latourias will appreciate a relative humidity of 60% to 85% accompanied by good airflow. Watering should be consistent throughout the year, just as the plants approach dryness. Latouria Dendrobiums do not respond well to completely drying out at the roots for extended periods of time. Fertilizer can be given to plants of this group regularly year-round, but with less frequency during the winter months. As with any other orchid, follow appropriate fertilizer application practices depending on the type of potting medium used.

Potting Media

Plants of this section can be grown in either a bark-based mix or New Zealand sphagnum moss in any type of well-draining container, as long as appropriate watering practices are observed. In addition, coconut husk will also work well due to its slow rate of decomposition and high moisture retention. Like many other Dendrobiums, Latourias prefer to be under-potted. It is best to wait to re-pot these plants until new growths and accompanying roots have begun to emerge, unless an emergency dictates otherwise. Smaller species and hybrids can be grown mounted as long as they receive consistent watering.