Dendrobium Orchid Info: How To Grow And Care For Dendrobium Orchids

By: Anne Baley

Some of the most popular orchid plants among home growers are Dendrobium orchid plants. These showy flowers are relatively easy to grow, with a central long stem and an attractive spray of flowers that can last up to four weeks. There are many Dendrobium varieties, and each one has slightly different growing conditions. Luckily, with all the types of Dendrobium orchids to choose from, there is likely to be one that fits your home environment perfectly.

About Dendrobium Orchid Plants

Dendrobium is sort of the catch-all of orchid species. When you look for Dendrobium orchid info, you can find whole books devoted to each of the different types of Dendrobium orchids that can fall into this category. In general, though, you can separate them in a few different groups.

Sheer beginners will love Nobile orchids. These hybrids go dormant for a couple of months in the winter, losing some of their leaves in the process. These plants can have up to 50 blooms on one stem, making for a stunning floral display. Growers have perfected the Nobile hybrids so closely that they can even cause them to bloom for any requested holiday. If you’re looking for an orchid with lots of helpful information available about it, this is the one to choose.

Another popular type is the Phalaenopsis orchid with its bright, densely packed flowers. Like all orchids, they are particular about their environment, but if they’re well cared for you might be rewarded with a second blooming season later in the year.

How to Grow Dendrobium Orchids

Although there is a huge variety from which to choose, when it comes to learning how to grow Dendrobium orchids, there are two important rules that they all follow:

First, they like to live in little pots with their roots crowded into a tiny area. If you try to be nice and give them room to spread out, the roots are likely to stay too moist and begin to rot. If you don’t like the look of a large plant growing in a ridiculously small pot, camouflage it in a larger planter.

The other way to care for Dendrobium orchids is to give them as much bright light as possible. This doesn’t mean sticking them in the desert sunlight, but a south-facing window in the house is the place where they will thrive. In almost all cases, when your Dendrobium orchid isn’t flowering, it’s a case of not enough sunlight.

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How to Grow Dendrobium Orchids

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

The Dendrobium genus is one of the largest of all orchid groups with nearly 2,000 species. Native to southeast Asia, these plants grow in all manner of climates—from hot, wet lowlands to high-altitude, cool mountains. Dendrobiums are primarily epiphytes, meaning they grow on other plants. In nature, they're often found growing on tree branches. While the species vary in appearance, all of them are known for their profuse blooms that come in a variety of pastel tones. Some species bloom all along the lengths of their stems while others bloom just from the tops of the stems. Some are deciduous and drop their leaves in the fall, and some hold on to their leaves year-round. Most species have a moderate to fast growth rate. The best time to plant is either at the very beginning of the growing season or after the orchid has finished flowering.

Botanical Name Dendrobium spp.
Common Name Dendrobium orchid
Plant Type Herb
Mature Size 0.5–4 ft. tall and wide
Sun Exposure Partial
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom Time Seasonal
Flower Color White, yellow, orange, green, pink, purple, brown
Hardiness Zones 9–12 (USDA)
Native Area Asia
Toxicity Nontoxic

Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for Dendrobium Orchids

Tips for Indoor Orchid Care

Caring for your orchid is pretty simple. During the summer months, water it weekly and heavily. Let the water drench the roots and fill up the pebble tray. It doesn't hurt every so often to put the plant in the kitchen sink and really soak it down. Don't worry, you won't kill it as long as it's allowed to dry out afterward.

During the growing season, feed it weekly with a weak solution of a powder or liquid fertilizer.

In the winter, keep your plant warm and cut the water back to once a month or so. Mist it every so often to make sure it stays hydrated. Don't fertilize it.

If you see signs of distress, such as yellowing leaves, wrinkled leaves, or no blooms, move the plant and keep tweaking your conditions. Once an orchid finds a happy spot and falls into a routine, the plant should regularly throw out new roots and leaves or canes and reward you yearly with a beautiful bloom.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Space Does a Dendrobium Need?

Crowding your orchid with a range of other plants can result in a smaller, sickly plant. This is because orchids prefer more open spaces with good air circulation.

Leave a couple of feet between your plants. This can help prevent the growth of fungus, which will thrive in more crowded and concealed spaces. It will also help you notice more quickly when you have an insect problem that you need to take care of.

My Orchid Has Bugs, What Should I Do?

Keep these little guys off your orchids!

It’s quite common for orchids to end up suffering from an infestation of mealybugs. This can happen even when you do everything in your power to keep your house and the surrounding area as clean as possible.

Luckily, these little pests are easy to remove. Simply put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and rub it all over the surface of the plant. This will kill the insects and leave your plant feeling better than ever.

We hope you found this guide useful. If you have any tips and tricks for growing Dendrobiums, leave us a comment below!

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