Dendrobium Orchids – Orchid Information
Dendrobia form the second largest orchid genus. There are several hundred species. A characteristic feature of many Dendrobia is the long pipe-like pseudo-bulbs which look almost like bamboo shoots. These stalks often consist of several segments and the flowers develop from the joins or even on leafless shoots from the previous year. The inflorescence is a raceme, garland-like or an umbel.
In their countries of origin, Dendrobia live high up in trees, a fact that is echoed in their name (Greek: dendros = tree, bios = life). While the warmth-loving, pink Dendrobiumand its hybrids have become known for their longlasting cut flowers, it is more often the cool-loving species and cultivars that are offered for sale for growing in pots, for example the spring-flowering Dendrobium nobile and its hybrids. I can recommend Dendrobium pierardii, Dendrobium crepidatum and Dendrobium kingianum for beginners.
Always ask about the relevant temperature range when purchasing Dendrobia. Origin: Asia, Malaysia and Australia.
cool, temperate and warm. Flowering time: mainly spring and winter; some in summer or even in autumn.
Colour of flowers:
white (usually with a blush of pink or violet), bright pink, pink, red (from light to dark), violet, yellow, orange, cream.
bright all year round. Protect from direct sunlight during spring and summer.
- Cool species: during the summer 15-18°C/59-64°F during the daytime, and around 13°C/55 F at night. During the winter around 13°C/55°F or above during the daytime and around 10°C/50°F at night. Temperate species: during the summer around 23°C/73°F during the daytime, cooler at night. During the winter, 16°C/61°F in the daytime and around 12°C/54°F at night.
- Warm species: during the summer up to 30°C/86°F in the daytime, only 20°C/68°F at night. During the winter, 22°C/72°F in the daytime, 18°C/64°F at night. Dendrobium nobile hybrids should be kept warm during the summer and during the autumn/winter at about 10°C/50°F to encourage flowers.
Watering: high humidity during the summer. Water abundantly during early spring to early autumn. Cool and temperate species should be kept almost dry during autumn and winter. Spray frequently, but only during the mornings. Warmth-loving Dendrobia should be kept in moist conditions all year round.
from early spring to early autumn, fortnightly.
every two years after flowering. Use small pots or small baskets for hanging plants.
from daughter plants, division of pseudo-bulbs or from parts of plants (See Propagating Orchids)
rare. If kept outdoors, watch out for snails which like to hide in the dense foliage of Dendrobium.
some Dendrobia lose their leaves, others continue to flower from old bulbs, so do not be hasty in throwing old plants away!
From early summer onwards, I hang my Dendrobium kingianum outside in the garden in a very bright, but not sunny, position sheltered from the wind. From early autumn onwards, I move the plant into full sunlight. The difference between daytime and night-time temperatures triggers the ripening of shoots and the formation of flowers.
Dendrobium species for a cool and temperate climate
D. agregatum, D. chrysotoxum, D. crepidatum, D. densiflorum, D. jamesianum,
D. kingianum, D. noble, D. parishii, D. pierardii
Scented Dendrobium species
Spring-flowering: D. primulinum, D. speciosum, D. superbum
Dendrobium hybrids for warm positions
Spring-flowering: “Doreen x Pale Face”, “Garnet Beauty”, “Indigo”, “May Neal”
I care for my Dendrobium kingianum in exactly the same way as my Coelogyne cristata. During the winter it is placed in cool conditions on the windowsill of an unheated room; during the summer it spends time in the garden in a cool, moist, semi-shady place. I keep it constantly moist from spring to mid-autumn and fertilize it once a month. It is watered less during the autumn. The flower shoots appear as spike-like formations from early winter onwards and then transform themselves into elegant, hanging sprays of flowers during early spring.