Dendrobium orchids – care

If you accurately translate the name of this genus of orchids, it means “living on trees” and indicates that the plants of the genus always lead an epiphytic lifestyle. Dendrobium orchids form one of the most diverse and perhaps one of the most numerous genera of the orchid family (the genus has about 1500 species).

Dendrobium. Farmer Elena Gaillard

Description of the dendrobium

Plants of the genus Dendrobium differ greatly not only in the shape and color of flowers, but also in their growth, structural features. Here you can find the most diverse, strikingly exotic species.

Flower shoots can grow hanging down, in bunches, or straight upright. All flowers of the genus are characterized by a spur-like protrusion of the lip, the so-called “chin”. The size of plants also varies greatly: some orchids are only a few millimeters in size, while others can reach 2 meters or more.

Many types of Dendrobium such as Pierre dendrobium or Dendrobium farmer shed their foliage before flowering. These species belong to orchids in the moderately cold temperature zone. During the leafless stage, they look like dried, abandoned plants, but when the dormant phase ends, these orchids are again covered with lush greenery. Other species of the genus such as Dendrobium noble or Dendrobium bouquet can also shed their foliage if the resting phase is well defined, but this usually does not happen.

The rest of the species of this genus are evergreen and belong to the moderately warm temperature zone. In the cultivation of orchids of the genus Dendrobium, there are such significant differences that this genus can be subdivided into about 15 groups. A large number of very peculiar, bizarre species have been added to the number of cultivated orchids, which are often quite easy to care for. For growing on the windowsill, orchid hybrids are becoming increasingly important. Dendrobium Phalaenopsis и Dendrobium noble.

Homeland: Sri Lanka, India, South China, South Japan, Polynesian Islands, East Australia and North East Tasmania.

Features of growing dendrobium

Temperature: Dendrobium is thermophilic, in winter the optimum temperature is about 22-25 ° C, the night minimum is 15 ° C. In winter, the dormant period when kept in cool conditions is about 12 ° C, depending on the type of plant.

Lighting: Dendrobiums are photophilous, eastern and western windows are suitable for them, shading will be needed on the southern window during the hottest hours of the day.

Watering: Abundant during spring and summer growth, the soil should be moist at all times. In winter, watering is very limited, i.e. almost dry content.

Fertilizer: During the period of growth, budding and flowering, they are fed with a special fertilizer for orchids.

Air humidity: Dendrobium requires an air humidity of about 60% and higher, so it is better to place it on a pallet with water or wet pebbles.

Transfer: The transplant is carried out only when the roots of the orchid begin to crawl out of the pot and the plant slows down growth. Approximately dendrobium is transplanted after 3-4 years, the pot should not be too large, otherwise the plant will grow poorly. Soil is a special commercial mixture for orchids. You can cook it yourself – for this, high-moor peat and large pieces of pine bark are taken.

Reproduction: Division and air layering.

Pests, diseases: Scabbards and pemphigi, in some species also spider mites – when the air is too dry. With accumulating dampness, fungal infection is possible.

Dendrobium amabile
Dendrobium Amabile. Farmer KENPEI

Growing and caring for dendrobium

Dendrobiums are cultivated, depending on their ecology, in rooms with moderate (18–22 ° C) or cool temperatures in baskets, on blocks of cork oak bark or tree fern roots. The substrate for their cultivation is pine bark, rotted leaves, charcoal and sand (1: 1: 1: 0,5).

Deciduous Dendrobiums, originating from areas with a monsoon climate, have a pronounced dormant period. In spring and summer they are kept in a warm (22–24) humid mode, preferably in a greenhouse. After the stems ripen, watering is reduced, and in winter it is completely stopped, limiting itself only to spraying and maintaining the temperature at least 15-17 degrees. Dendrobium Phalaenopsis, since it does not have a dormant period and comes from rainforest rainforests, it needs an evenly warm and humid content all year round. In general, the plants are photophilous, however, in the hot midday hours they need a slight darkening. Grows best in small dishes.

Propagated by dividing the bush, stem cuttings and apical shoots – children that form aerial roots. The bushes should be divided no more often than after 3-4 years, while the apical shoots can be removed annually. Transplantation and reproduction are carried out in April-June, depending on the species, when young shoots begin to grow.

Dendrobiums are light-loving plants, prefer fresh air, but do not tolerate drafts well. They bloom profusely, on average for 12-19 days. In the cut, flowers of some species remain fresh for 4–6 days (in dendrobium phalaenopsis – up to 3 weeks).

During the period of intensive growth, they are fed 2 times a month with a 0,01% solution of complete mineral fertilizer.

After the end of growth, deciduous species enter a dormant period and need cool and dry maintenance. Species without a clearly defined dormant period, such as D. moschatum, need minimal watering when growth processes are attenuated. Tropical species (D. phalaenopsis, D. chrisotoxum) require watering at any time of the year, and the minimum temperature in winter should be at least 15 ° C. During dormancy in the greenhouse, a certain air humidity should be maintained at all times, the plants should be periodically sprayed to avoid excessive depletion and shrinkage of tuberidia.

All types of orchids of the genus Dendrobium need a small container. Many species are also suitable for block breeding. Tall plants need to be sprayed more frequently to prevent pest infestation. Some species of Dendrobium, for example, Phalaenopsis, are prone to the formation of “children” with which these species are easy to reproduce.

Dendrobium noble (Dendrobium nobile), as well as other species and hybrids that shed their foliage, should be placed in a cool (10-14 ° C) and dry place in the dark (from November to January). Once the buds are clearly visible, return the plant to its original location.

Dendrobium king (Dendrobium kingianum), Dendrobium is magnificent (Dendrobium speciosum) and their relatives in the summer, like orchids of the Cymbidium genus, can be placed in the open air, in a bright, but not sunny place. If you do not have this opportunity, pay special attention to the fact that the plant is in a cool and dry place in winter.

Dendrobium Phalaenopsis (Dendrobium phalaenopsis), as well as related species and hybrids, it is enough to place in a warm place and make sure that the temperature drops at night, as required by the plants of these species.

Council: When buying a plant of the genus Dendrobium, you definitely need to find out which temperature zone your orchid belongs to, because due to the large variety of species of Dendrobium, it is impossible to give general advice on plant care.

Dendrobium (Dendrobium)
Dendrobium. Farmer Juni from Kyoto, Japan

Types of dendrobium

Dendrobium aloe leaf (Dendrobium aloifolium)

Epiphyte common in Southeast Asia and Indonesia. Thin shoots are densely covered with unusual triangular leaves, more like succulent leaves. Short peduncles develop from the buds of the upper internodes of the shoot, which are devoid of green leaves. The flowers are numerous (at least 10-12) and very small, only 0,2-0,4 cm in diameter. All parts of the flowers are greenish-white. It blooms in summer and autumn, from July to October.

Dendrobium aphyllum

Epiphytic or lithophytic species, widespread in Southeast Asia. Pseudobulbs are long, semi-drooping, multi-leaved. Short peduncles develop in nodes that have dropped the leaves of last year’s shoots and bear one to three pale pink flowers with a cream fringed lip. Each flower reaches 3-5 cm in diameter. The main peak of flowering occurs in February-May, however, flowering specimens in culture can be found almost all year round.

Dendrobium nobile (Dendrobium nobile)

Epiphytic orchid widely distributed in Southeast Asia. Pseudo bulbs up to 60-90 cm long, multi-leaved. Short stalks develop one to four flowers from 6 to 10 cm in diameter, which have a dense texture and can even stand in the cut for a while. Flowers of various shades – from dark purple and deep pink to pure white. The lip has a large dark purple spot. In culture, it blooms more often from January to May.

Dendrobium nobile (Dendrobium nobile)
Dendrobium noble (Dendrobium nobile). Farmer Guérin Nicolas

Dendrobium bigibbum

Epiphytic or lithophytic plant from Northern Australia. Pseudobulbs bear fleshy leaves at the end. Peduncles appear from the buds of the upper internodes, and both young shoots of the last year’s growth and old leafless pseudobulbs can bloom at the same time. Each peduncle bears 8-20 bright flowers with a diameter of 3-5 cm, purple-crimson or purple-pink, sometimes white. Blooms from August to December.

Dendrobium single (Dendrobium unicum)

The homeland of this miniature epiphytic and lithophytic dendrobium is Northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The plant is deciduous, and is in a leafless state for most of the year. Lateral one-three-flowered inflorescences usually appear on internodes that have dropped leaves. The flowers are turned with the lip up, bright orange, 3,5-5,0 cm in diameter. The lip is pale yellow. Blooms from January to June.

Dendrobium christyanum

The miniature epiphyte is native to northern Thailand, Vietnam and southwestern China. Pseudobulbs consist of 2-7 internodes, each of which bears one leaf. Inflorescences are single-flowered, very short, appear in the upper part of the shoots. Flower up to 5 cm in diameter, white or creamy, translucent. The lip is three-lobed, with a red-orange or orange-yellow central part. Blooms from mid-summer to mid-autumn.

Dendrobium lindleyi

An epiphytic species widespread in Southeast Asia (India, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and southwestern China). Pseudobulbs are univalent, densely covered outside with translucent scaly leaves. The inflorescences are lateral, drooping, bearing 10-14 pale yellow or golden yellow flowers with a diameter of 2,5-5,0 cm with a wide open lip, equipped with a large orange-yellow spot in the center. Blooms from March to July.

Dendrobium lindleyi
Dendrobium lindleyi. Farmer KENPEI

Dendrobium loddigesii

Homeland – Laos, Vietnam, southwestern China, Hong Kong. This is a small epiphytic orchid (10-18 cm) with many-leaved thin pseudobulbs and large bright flowers 5 cm in diameter. Inflorescences are one-two-flowered, usually appear in the spring on shoots that have shed their leaves. The flowers have pinkish-purple sepals, lilac petals, and a pink-purple lip with a large yellow-orange spot in the center. Bloom lasts from February to June.

Dendrobium lion (Dendrobium leonis)

Homeland – Cambodia, Laos, Malaya, Thailand, Vietnam, Sumatra and Kalimantan. Small (10-25 cm) orchid with thin shoots and completely covering them with fleshy flattened triangular leaves from 3,8 to 5 cm long. Inflorescences develop at the nodes of the apical internodes that have shed their leaves. Each peduncle bears one or two creamy yellow or pale green nondescript flowers with a diameter of 1,5-2,0 cm. It mainly blooms in summer and autumn.

Dendrobium odorless (Dendrobium anosmum)

Epiphyte, widespread in Southeast Asia. In nature, its shoots can reach enormous sizes – up to 3 m, and in culture – 30-90 cm. Short peduncles appear on shoots that have shed their leaves, and develop 1-2 large bright flowers. Flowers with a diameter of 7-10 cm, painted in purple tones of various shades. Flowering plants of this species can be found in the greenhouse all year round, with the peak flowering from January to April.

Dendrobium odorless (Dendrobium anosmum)
Dendrobium odorless (Dendrobium anosmum). Farmer Elena Gaillard

Dendrobium primrose (Dendrobium primulinum)

The species is widespread in Southeast Asia. Epiphytic plant with long, multi-leaved shoots. One-two-flowered inflorescences develop from buds that have dropped the leaves of internodes. The flowers are 4-8 cm in diameter, light purple with a large yellowish-white fringed lip, which inside the pharynx is painted with parallel dark red or purple stripes. In nature, it blooms in spring, in cultural conditions – from January to August.

Dendrobium orchids - care
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Anna Evans

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