Dendrobium (group)
Common Name: orchid
Type: Orchid
Family: Orchidaceae
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 0.50 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White, orange, yellow, purple, pink, brown, green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut

Culture

Dendrobium orchids belong to a large and diverse genus with different cultural needs; therefore, it is difficult to be specific about cultivation. The genus is comprised of some 1000+ species. Many alternate between a growth phase and a rest phase during the year; therefore, it is important to determine the culture needs of the specific Dendrobium orchid you are growing. Deciduous types lose their leaves during the dry season in nature; therefore, withhold water in the late fall and early winter to mimic natural conditions and stimulate blooming for these types. During the summer plants should be kept fairly wet and may be placed outdoors, hanging under the shade of trees. There are hot, intermediate and cool-growing species, so consider temperature requirements to optimize growth and flowering. Most species can be grown in a bark-based medium containing horticultural charcoal, with some preferring mounting on a cork bark slab. Do not use a pot that is too large for the root mass, as these orchids do not produce an extensive root system and prefer to be tight in their pots. Feed weekly during the growing season after first watering thoroughly with tepid water. Use a commercial fertilizer diluted in water to half strength. Good air movement and humidity of 50% or greater are important.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dendrobium orchids are primarily epiphytic, growing in nature on the branches and trunks of trees. They are sympodial, producing new stems (pseudobulbs) at the base of the previous year’s stems. They have a wide distribution and great variation in growth characteristics and floral structure. They may be evergreen or deciduous, and both types may require a dormant rest phase in winter, or not. All are known for the profusion and delicate attractiveness of their flowers, which come in an array of pastel colors. Blooms occur along the full length of the stem in some species, or in sprays emanating from the apex of the stem in others.

Genus name comes from the Greek words dendron meaning a tree and bios meaning life.

Problems

Few problems. Plants are generally not affected by pests, but watch for mealybugs. Insufficient light results in non-blooming.

Garden Uses

Dendrobium orchids make good house plants. Because their blooms are long-lived, they are used as cut flowers.