Want to know the easiest yet most effective way to care for a Dendrobium?
How to care for Dendrobium Orchids: Provide plenty of bright lighting. Water when the first inch of the soil is dry (which may be once or twice a week in the warmer months and once every 2-3 weeks in the colder months). Use a diluted fertilizer 1-3 times a month. Keep the room temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit
- Want to know the easiest yet most effective way to care for a Dendrobium?
- What is the best lighting for Dendrobium Orchids?
- What type of soil is best for Dendrobium Orchids?
- How often should I water my Dendrobium?
- What is the best fertilizer for Dendrobium Orchids?
- What temperatures can Orchids tolerate?
- Do Orchids like humidity?
- How do you repot Dendrobium Orchids?
- How do you prune a Dendrobium Orchid?
- How do you propagate a Dendrobium Orchid?
- Orchids need adequate air circulation around it
- Rotting roots
- Dark roots
- Brown spots
- New Guinea Dendrobium
- Phalaenopsis Dendrobium and Antelope Dendrobium
- Australian Dendrobium
- Nobile Dendrobium
History of the Dendrobium Orchids
Dendrobium belongs to the Orchidaceae family. Basically, orchids are perennial herbs with upright stems. All the orchid herbs have distinguishing characteristics such as alternate, opposite, or whorled leaves on the stem, and flat, pleated leaves, or leaves without toothed edges, with parallel veins.
The various flowers belonging to the Orchidaceae family are categorized based on the species and on the solitary tips of the stem.
Commonly known as the Orchid family, the fragrant, blooming, and colorful plant is one of the two largest families of the flowering plants, along with Asteraceae.
The Orchidaceae family currently has 28,000 accepted species that are further distributed among 763 genera. Dendrobium is one of the largest genera of the Orchid family with almost 1500 species.
What is Dendrobium?
Dendrobium is the genus of as many as 1500 species of epiphytic orchids. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, numerous pacific islands, and Australia. The popular members of the genus include pigeon orchids, also known as Dendrobium crumenatum, a white flower species.
Bull orchid (D. taurinum) have twisted hornlike petals and are mostly found in Philippine. Lastly, there is a cucumber orchid (D. cucumerinum) which has unusual cucumber-like leaves.
The latitude where these Dendrobiums grow is very important. They mostly come from South East Asia, specifically from areas that stretch from Northern India to the far islands off the East coast of New Guinea, and from Australia to Polynesia. The Equator runs right through the middle of these territories, which makes these areas hot at sea level, irrespective of seasonal variations.
Nevertheless, the plants coming from north of the Tropic of Cancer and south of the Tropic of Capricorn are very much used to a varying climatic. With colder and drier winters and hot and wet summers, it is important to know where each of these plants come from. There are many more Dendrobiums being discovered in New Guinea, Thailand, and the Himalayan region.
Why Choose Dendrobium Orchid plants?
People who are obsessed with nature and its creations or are growers and collectors of plants love to collect these dendrobium orchids. Serious gardeners often prefer Dendrobium Nobile. However, the most commonly available, the kind that you’d want to put in front of a store or on your window, is the hybrid Dendrobium phalaenopsis, commonly known as dendrobium orchids.
While they are great for beginners who are just learning to take care of a plant, it may get tricky with D. Phalaenopsis hybrids. This is because hybrids require more attention.
These plants are vigorous growers that send up at least one new upright cane every year. The canes help store nutrients and water to keep the plant healthy. Old canes also sometimes produce flowers and plantlets called keikis.
Keikis are a product of their mother plant. They look exactly like the mother and will grow identical to what the mother grows as well. You can also plant them in a separate pot once their roots are 1-3 inches long. You do however, would need to repot both the mother and the baby together, with a fresh potting mix, for the first year or so.
You will find a wide range of color, size, and shape of the blooms. The sprays of flowers remain in bloom for at least six to eight weeks. You may as well use it like cut flower arrangements.
Depending on the conditions, they bloom several times during the year. You can initiate a bloom by slightly increasing watering and adjusting the nighttime temperature.
How Do I Care for my Dendrobium Orchids?
What is the best lighting for Dendrobium Orchids?
Best lighting tip: keep it in an area with lots of bright lighting that will also provide shade as well.
Dendrobium orchids grow well under strong and natural sunlight. These plants thrive well in an environment that is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celcius) during the day and at night, they can endure a temperature drop of 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit (13-16 degree Celsius) at the most. Hence, it is best to keep them indoors where the temperature can be monitored and controlled.
Make sure that the plants get as much light as possible. While they may also grow under lower light conditions, it is unlikely that it will bloom well.
You can put the plant outdoors during the day when it’s moderately warm. Do not place them under direct sunlight though, it can be harmful. Instead, place them in the shade where they can get light while also staying protected from the harmful rays. However, it is best to bring it in at night.
Be mindful that the temperature on your window sill can be warmer and cooler than the rest of your house. It may not be the best place to keep the plant.
Do be extra careful during the extreme seasons of the summer or winter.
If sun lighting is not an option because of a rainy season, you can always place the plant under grow lights for at least 14-16 hours during the day to simulate sunlight.
When you’re setting up a grow light, use one white warm tube and one cool white tube placed under a reflector. They should be placed at least 8 inches away from the light.
If you observe the appearance of keikis, it is often because the plant is not getting sufficient sunlight. In contrast, if you see yellow leaves appearing on the plant, it is because the plant has been exposed to too much sunlight.
What type of soil is best for Dendrobium Orchids?
Best tip: use an orchid potting mix that will allow proper aeration and will be well-draining for the plant
Orchids belong to the tropical regions and are best grown under similar circumstances. Hence, they are not grown in soil. Instead, they grow in a special mixture that is similar to their wild environment.
Dendrobiums are not made for potting soil. They are more used to an orchid mix or a soilless potting media that is mixed with coconut fiber, perlite, clay aggregate.
Because these plants are typically shaped from Asia, some gardeners may plant them in wood chips. However, this is not a very favorable medium to grow these plants, the wood eventually starts rotting due to their heavy tops.
You’ll need to get a commercial orchid potting medium that contains either perlite, fir bark, or peat moss. Alternatively, you can make your mix that contains these ingredients. The best potting mix for orchids is a mixture that has to be prepared in such a manner that it will havr proper aeration and will be well-draining, so that the roots are not left with the moisture for a long period of time.
How often should I water my Dendrobium?
Best watering tip: Water once the top of the soil feels dry. Use the finger test when unsure. In the summer months, it’ll be as often as once every 1-2 weeks. In the winter months, it’ll be as often as once every 2-3 weeks.
How often do you water a dendrobium orchid? This answer will depend on the season. In the growing seasons, between the months of February to September, dendrobiums like high humidity and plenty of water. During the warmer months, when they’re actively growing, they require watering more often than the winter, when their growth phase is slowing down. Before watering the orchid, determine if the potting mix is dry enough to be watered. Only the top inch of the soil has to be completely dry. Use a toothpick or your fingers to test the dryness level. Rule of thumb is that if it feels more dry than moist, then it needs watering.
Sometimes they may go a week or two without needing to be watered.
Never leave a plant in a water tray with too much water anywhere, because this will lead to roots rotting. In the cooler months, from October to January, you can cut down the frequency of watering, as they won’t need as much watering. Once every 2-3 weeks should suffice.
Watering first thing in the morning is best for dendrobium. It gives the plant time to soak up the nutrients as well as go through the process of evaporation.
What is the best fertilizer for Dendrobium Orchids?
Best fertilizer: use a diluted fertilizer once a week
The dendrobium orchids require a lot of nitrogen. Hence, during the growing season, treat the soil heavily with a mild fertilizer solution that contains a lot of nitrogen. Or you can also use a balanced fertilizer such as Peters 20-20-20 at quarter strength every time you water the plant.
You’ll find fertilizers that are specifically prepared for orchids. They are perfectly balanced to feed the orchid plants. Always dilute these fertilizers with water in a 4:1 ratio for regular fertilization. Use the fertilizer once a week as per direction. You can alternatively use full fertilizer once a month.
At the end of the growing season, reduce the use of fertilizers by about half to help facilitate better bloom and growth.
What temperatures can Orchids tolerate?
Best temperature: In the summer (February-September), 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit is best. And in the winter, (October-January), keeping the temperature above 54 degrees Fahrenheit is best.
A warm greenhouse is an ideal place for these plants to grow. For this reason, they are considered a warm house plant by gardeners. These plants should always be at 60 degrees Fahrenheit all the time.
They can sometimes withstand a few nights and days at 50 degrees. However, this is not an ideal condition for these plants and it must be avoided if possible. That said, a drop in the nighttime temperature often stimulates a bloom in these plants.
Do Orchids like humidity?
Best tip: Always make sure Dendrobiums are moist. Misting will help tremendously!
The humidity should always level to 50 to 70 percent all the time. If you find any brown leaf tips, it is a sign that the air is too dry for the orchids and you may need to enhance the moisture level in the air. Misting the orchids will help maintain their moisture level as well as using a humidifier.
How do you repot Dendrobium Orchids?
Best tip: Repot at least once every 2 years and always repot in the beginning of Spring, during its active growth stage.
Dendrobiums are natural epiphytic orchids that will flourish in hanging baskets with little to no requirement of any potting media when kept in an ideal condition. However, they do pretty well in fast-draining media like a windowsill planter.
You can put these plants in tiny pots and watch them grow at their best. You can use various decorative larger pots with a smaller pot inside and place it anywhere you like. (P.S.- Don’t forget the sunlight and the other conditions)
You can re-pot at the beginning of the growing season when necessary. Usually, re-potting should ideally take place every two years at the most. This ensures that you are left with more than three leafless canes, and you can also replace the old ones while repotting.
How do you prune a Dendrobium Orchid?
After the orchid is done blooming, cutting off the spikes above the leafy part of the stem is necessary for pruning. However, be careful not to remove any old leafless canes.
How do you propagate a Dendrobium Orchid?
Propagation can be done when your plant has at least four canes that are bearing healthy leaves.
- Try using a stiff, large knife to cut through the rhizomes and root mass, while attempting to keep the root mass as intact as possible.
- Then you need to remove all the growing mediums, dead roots and cut away all the dangling long roots from the root masses.
- After you’re done grooming the roots, use a pot, not too large, just small enough to put in the plant, as discussed earlier.
- Add the orchid potting mixture to the pot and around the roots such that the junction of the plant and the root is half-inch below the potting mix.
- Next, pack the potting medium firmly and wait at least one week to start watering the plant consistently.
Orchids need adequate air circulation around it
Best tip: When finding a place for orchids, ensure that it has plenty of space around it.
Allow adequate space for air circulation around the orchid. Proper air circulation will prevent problems like fungus and insect infestation in the stems and roots. Also, always keep the surroundings of your plant clean and ensure that you place it in a clear space with nothing around its immediate surrounding. Leave at least five inches (thirteen centimeters) of empty space around it to provide sufficient space for the air.
When the air is too stuffy or humid, put a small fan near the plant to improve air circulation.
When you water the plant, make sure there is no standing water left on top of the orchid mixture.
Dendrobium Orchids Common Diseases
Dendrobiums do not do well in excess water. If they are overwatered or left in water for too long, their roots start to rot. This could lead to their leaves shriveling, wilting, or turning yellow.
If the roots have turned dark in color, it is necessary to trim off the infected parts of the root, while disinfecting the pruning shears between cuts. Next, re-pot the plant in a fresh mixture that is mixed with fungicide.
If you observe brown spots on your leaves, it’s a sign that it may be infected. The reason for this is that it may be due to high humidity or too little area movement. You will have to trim off the heavily damaged leaves and the affected areas, sterilizing the tool in between the cuts.
To help solve this issue, spray the orchid with a bactericide and fungicide mix. Always avoid copper fungicide.
Mealybugs are the most common pests that affect orchid plants. If you spot these insects which are about 0.5-0.8 millimeters long, remove them immediately to prevent further damage to the plant. Dip a cotton ball into rubbing alcohol and rub it thoroughly over the plant to remove and kill the bugs and prevent them from attacking it again.
You should strictly use rubbing alcohol only. Do not use ethanol or methanol, they’ll do more harm than good for the plant.
Repeat the process once or twice a week to prevent the bugs. If you see tiny yellowish spots on the plant, rub the alcohol over it, they’re newly hatched bugs.
Popular types of Dendrobium Orchids
New Guinea Dendrobium
These are perhaps not easy orchids for beginners. New Guinea orchids have an exotic growth depending highly on the altitude that they grow in. They require generous warmth, water, and feeding to thrive in any climate other than the mountainous regions of New Guinea.
The easiest New Guinea plant for beginners is the Dendrobium oberrans, D. lawasii, and D. Bigibbum.
Phalaenopsis Dendrobium and Antelope Dendrobium
The Phalaenopsis dendrobiums can be found in a multitude of color variations and stripes while the antelope dendrobiums come with twisted petals that appear more like an antelope horn.
They are also more resistant to temperature change than other dendrobiums and are otherwise well-adjusted to normal orchid care procedures. Bright lights encourage flowering; however, their leaves have to be taken care of.
Dendrobium kingianum is one of the easiest to grow. They are tall, thin, and often spindly and tough. The leaves are narrowly oval and the plant usually flowers during late winters and early spring, mostly in loose sprays at top of the cane.
They require intermediate temperature and drier conditions than other dendrobiums.
They are some of the easiest orchids to grow, but it’s the blooming part that gets tricky and difficult. The flowers come in a range of colors from white to pink and purple and the lips are often marked with beautiful contrasting colors. They are a magnificent specimen and are grown in the Himalayan climate.
Conclusions for Dendrobium Orchids
Overall, Dendrobium orchids are beautiful plants! They require some attention but overall, they are quite low maintenance. They thrive well if they are provided a moderate environment with adequate water and sunlight. And they will be the centerpiece of attention wherever its placed!