Thelychiton (Dendrobium) kingianum

Pink Rock Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

The common name of this orchid is ‘Pink rock orchid’ and as you can see, my species is a very dark pink coloured form and an outstanding reliable plant for any garden with a few rocks. This species occurs naturally along eastern Australia from just above Newcastle to the central Queensland highlands and grows naturally on rocky surfaces.

They do best in full sun to partial shade with good air circulation and no frosts.

They are not hard to establish as you only need a few ‘aerials’ (small new plants with roots that form on established pseudobulbs) or a small clump of pseudobulbs to start with.

They establish better if they are held/tied down to prevent movement until established. Lightly covering the base with leaf litter aids establishment as it keeps new roots (the ones with green tips) cool.


In the garden

I have been growing this orchid for many years in my relatively flat garden in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh, ever since I ‘inherited’ a 5 tonne rock for a Christmas present. The story behind this rock (one of three) and its transportation is too long for this article; however, they are certainly bold landscaping features in my front garden and courtyard.

My orchids receive afternoon full sun and morning dappled light, with minimal artificial watering and they are thriving. They now cover the whole of the top portion of the rock.

You will also notice there is a self-sown/self bonsai-ed/flowering Philotheca myoporoides growing at the base of the orchids. Nature is wonderful and I could not have thought of a better spot myself.


Other information

Note: the naming of this plant was correct at the time of writing. However, it appears the decision on this orchid’s naming is still not settled. 

By Jeff Howes