DIVERSE

DENDROBIUM

Something for Everyone

The dendrobium (den-DROH-bee-um) orchid is a large and diverse genus. These orchids can be found from southeast Asia and extend to islands below Australia – from mountains to valleys.  Because care requirements vary, dendrobiums have been classified into sections according to care requirements. Some of these orchids are perfect for the beginning orchid enthusiasts, while others are best left to experienced orchid growers. Let’s explore dendrobium culture:

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Section – Phalanethe/Phalaenopsis

The Phalanthe/Phalaenopsis section dendrobium is an evergreen orchid that is closely related to the Spatulata section.
Origin: Northeastern Australia.
Species: D. affine, striaenopsis, superbiens, williamsianum.

TEMPERATURE

Dendrobium phalaenanthe are warm growers:
Day: 70°-80° F/21°-26.7° C
Night: 60° F/15.5° C/ at night.
One month winter rest: 55° F/13° C.

LIGHT

Bright light 2,000-4,000 (fc).

HUMIDITY

75% humidity is ideal with 65% in winter. Use a humidifier if necessary and a fan set to low to provide air movement. Home growers: remember 50% is the maximum recommendation. Easily track humidity levels with a humidistat.

WATER

Water copiously, then allow the roots to dry before watering again. Leaf drop indicates a need for more water, humidity, and warmer temperatures. Begin decreasing water for winter rest after blooming. Do not allow pseudobulbs to shrivel. Increase water again in spring when new growth appears.

FERTILIZATION 

When new roots begin to grow, apply a high nitrogen fertilizer (9-3-6) in spring and a high phosphate fertilizer (3-12-6) late summer to fall. liquid fertilizer three out of four weeks. On the fourth week, flood potting media to rinse fertilizer salts.

POTTING AND MEDIA

These tall, arching orchids like to be underpotted and can be top-heavy. Nest an inner culture pot in a heavy clay pot to add stability. Use a free-draining potting mix to allow roots to dry between watering.

TIPS

Most Dendrobiums produce keikis (plantlets), which can be removed from the mother plant and potted up once the pseudobulb and roots are about an inch long.

 

BIGIBBUM

Typically bigibbum species are typically categorized with phalaenopsis dendrobiums, but as their winter care varies, I have given them their own culture guide. Bigibbum species look very similar to Den. phalaenopsis, though the flowers tend to be smaller. These evergreen orchids originate from Australia.

TEMPERATURE

Dendrobium bigibbum are warm growers:
Day: 82°-89 ° F/28°-32° C
Night: 73°-78° F/-23°-26° C/ at night.
These orchids do not need cool temperatures during the winter.

LIGHT

Bright light 3,000-4,000 fc) with strong air movement.

HUMIDITY

Humidity levels between 70-80% work well for this orchid. Use a humidifier if necessary and a fan set to low to provide air movement. Note to home-growers: keep humidity levels at or below 50%. A humidistat is helpful to track humidity levels.

WATER

Water copiously, then allow the orchid roots to dry before watering again. Allow for a long, dry rest in winter, 2-3 months.

FERTILIZATION

When new roots begin to grow, apply high nitrogen (9-3-6) in spring and high phosphate (3-12-6) late summer to fall. liquid fertilizer three out of four weeks. On the fourth week, flood potting media to rinse fertilizer salts.

POTTING & MEDIA

These orchids like to be underpotted. Nest an inner culture pot in a heavy clay pot to add stability. Use a free-draining potting mix to allow roots to dry between watering.

TIPS

Most Dendrobiums produce keikis (plantlets), which can be removed from the mother plant and potted up once the pseudobulb and roots are about an inch long.

 

Section – Antelope/Spatulata

Dendrobium (den-DROH-bee-um) spatulata (antelope) section orchids
Easily identified by its twisting, pointing petals, like antelope horns, denote antelope horns.
Evergreen for many years.
Closely related to the Phalaenthe section.

Species: D. antennatum, D. bicaudatum, D. analiculatum, D. carronii, D. discolor, D. gouldii, D. helix, D. johannis, D. lasianthere, D. lineale, D. mirbelianum, D. nindii, D. stratiotes.

TEMPERATURE

Dendrobium antelope are warm growers:
Day: 65°-90° F/18°-32° C
Night: 60° F/15.5° C
No need for a cool winter rest.

LIGHT

Bright light 2,000-4,000 fc).

HUMIDITY

Humidity levels between 50-80% work well for this orchid. Use a humidifier if necessary and a fan set to low to provide air movement. Note to home-growers: keep humidity levels at or below 50%. A humidistat is helpful to track humidity levels.

WATER

Water copiously, then allow the orchid roots to dry before watering again. Watch for leaf drop, which indicates a need for more water, humidity, and warmer temperatures.

FERTILIZATION

When new roots begin to grow, apply balanced (7-7-7) fertilizer three out of four weeks. On the fourth week, flood potting media to rinse fertilizer salts.

POTTING & MEDIA

These tall, arching orchids like to be underpotted and can be top-heavy. Nest an inner culture pot in a heavy clay pot to add stability. Use a free-draining potting mix to allow roots to dry between watering.

TIPS

Most Dendrobiums produce keikis (plantlets), which can be removed from the mother plant and potted up once the pseudobulb and roots are about an inch long.

 

Section – Latouria

Dendrobium (den-DROH-bee-um) latouria section orchids.
Evergreen
Origin: New Guinea
Species: D. atroviolaceum, D. macrophyllum, D. spectabile.,
Hybrids: D. Roy Tokunaga, D. Green Lantern, D. Stephen Batchelor, D. Andree Millar

TEMPERATURE

Dendrobium latouria are warm growers:
Day: 65°-90° F/18°-32° C
Night: 60° F/ 15.5° C
Allow for a slight drop in temperature for a winter rest.

LIGHT

Bright light 2,000-4,000 fc).

HUMIDITY

Humidity levels between 50-80% work well for this orchid. Use a humidifier if necessary and a fan set to low to provide air movement. Home growers: remember 50% is the maximum recommendation. Easily track humidity levels with a humidistat.

WATER

Water copiously, then allow the orchid roots to dry before watering again. During the winter, reduce water by 20%.

FERTILIZATION

When new roots begin to grow, apply balanced (7-7-7) fertilizer three out of four weeks. On the fourth week, flood potting media to rinse fertilizer salts.

POTTING & MEDIA

These tall, arching orchids like to be underpotted and can be top-heavy. Nest an inner culture pot in a heavy clay pot to add stability. Use a free-draining potting mix to allow roots to dry between watering.

TIPS

Most Dendrobiums produce keikis (plantlets), which can be removed from the mother plant and potted up once the pseudobulb and roots are about an inch long.

These orchids have notoriously long-lasting flowers.

 

NOBILE

Dendrobium (den-DROH-bee-um) noblile.
Deciduous
Belongs to dendrobium section.
Origin: Southeast Asia
Species: D. moniliforme, D. anosmum, D. crepidatum, devonianum, D. falconeri. D. fimbriatum

TEMPERATURE

Summer day: 72°-82° F/26-28° C; night 66° F/19° C/.
Spring day: 87° F/ 30° C; night: 54°-66° F/ 12°-19° C.
Winter days: 76°-82° F / 25°-28° / C; nights: 50° F/10° C.
Low winter temperatures are essential for flowering.

LIGHT

Very bright light 3,500-4,500 fc). Lots of keikis (plantlets) are the result of insufficient light.

HUMIDITY

80% summer and 60% winter. Use a humidifier if necessary and a fan set to low to provide air movement. Home growers: remember 50% is the maximum recommendation. Easily track humidity levels with a humidistat.

WATER

During active growth, water copiously, then allow the orchid roots to dry before watering again. Reduce water in fall, then withhold water for 1-2 months winter. Begin watering in spring when new growth appears.

FERTILIZATION

When new roots begin to grow, apply 1/2 strength, low nitrogen liquid fertilizer (3-12-6) three out of four weeks. On the fourth week, flood potting media to rinse fertilizer salts. Do not apply fertilizer during winter rest.

POTTING & MEDIA

These tall, arching orchids like to be underpotted and can be top-heavy. Nest an inner culture pot in a heavy clay pot to add stability. Use a free-draining potting mix to allow roots to dry between watering.

TIPS

Most Dendrobiums produce keikis (plantlets), which can be removed from the mother plant and potted up once the pseudobulb and roots are about an inch long.

Cool, dry winters are essential for spring flowers.

 

Section – Callista/Densiflora

Dendrobium (den-DROH-bee-um) callista/densiflora section orchids
Evergreen
Origin: Himalayas, mid-elevations.
Species: D. densiflorum, D. farmeri, D. thyrsiflorum, D. kingianum, D. lindleyi, D. griffithianum, D. sulcatum, d. jenkinsiil.

TEMPERATURE

Spring, summer, early fall: 72°-82° F/26-28° C;.
Winter: 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.
Low winter temperatures are essential for flowering.

LIGHT

Very bright light 3,500-4,500 (fc).

HUMIDITY

80% summer and 60% winter. Use a humidifier if necessary and a fan set to low to provide air movement. Home growers: remember 50% is the maximum recommendation. Easily track humidity levels with a humidistat.

WATER

During active growth, water copiously, then allow the orchid roots to dry before watering again. Reduce water in winter, being careful not to allow pseudobulbs to shrivel. Begin watering in spring when new growth appears.

FERTILIZATION

When new roots begin to grow, apply 1/2 strength, low nitrogen liquid fertilizer (3-12-6) three out of four weeks. On the fourth week, flood potting media to rinse fertilizer salts. Do not apply fertilizer during winter rest.

POTTING & MEDIA

These tall, arching orchids like to be underpotted and can be top-heavy. Nest an inner culture pot in a heavy clay pot to add stability. Use a free-draining potting mix to allow roots to dry between watering.

TIPS

Most Dendrobiums produce keikis (plantlets), which can be removed from the mother plant and potted up once the pseudobulb and roots are about an inch long.

Think monsoon: hot and wet in summer; cool and dry in winter.


Get your Dendrobium Care Card: For your convenience, you can download your own quick-reference Dendrobium Care Card. Just click on the button below.

Click here to download your Dendrobium Care Card

 
Dutch Guy Orchids Easy to rebloom

Dutch Guy Orchids sells many Dendrobium phalaenopsis hybrids. If you’re ready to expand your orchid collection, I recommend beginning with Dendrobium phalaenopsis hybrids.

Go to Dutch Guy Orchids
Sophie's Orchids Lots of variety

Sophie’s Orchids sells a variety of different types of Dendrobiums. One of my favorites is D. Roy Tokunaga. This orchid reblooms easily and the long-lasting flowers have beautiful purple spots.

Go to Sophie's Orchids
Orchid Insanity love these orchids

If you’ve always wanted to try the easy-growing Australian native, Dendrobium kingianum, then this shop is for you. While you’re at it, the Dendrobium nobile is a great choice – just give it a cool winter to trigger blooming.

Go to Orchid Insanity