A Brief Overview of the Genus Dendrobium

Author: Celeste BoothNo Comments


The genus Dendrobium (pronounced den-DROH-bee-um) span a large range of types, sizes, colors, shapes and cultural requirements. Dendrobium orchids have tall canes and regardless of type, want bright light, small pots, well-drained mixes, good air movement and humidity between 50 and 70 percent. Providing these elements, you will have profuse-blooming plants.

Naming and Distribution

The name Dendrobium comes from the Greek dendron and bios meaning tree and life, respectively. This name refers to the fact that the orchids are epiphytes, plants that grow on another plant (like a tree) without harming it.

Dendrobiums are native to much of Asia, including China, Japan, and India as well as many islands in the Pacific.

Plant Identificationorchid

Dendrobiums are sympodial orchids (growing in a vine-like manner) and produce pseudobulbs, or “canes” which grow up from the stem of the orchid, and act as reservoirs for water. These orchids produce around four to a dozen blooms per stem, with an average flower size of 1-2 inches. Flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, orange, yellow, pink, green, purple, and cream. Blossoms are long-lasting and can remain on the orchid over 2 months before dropping. The common Dendrobium flower will have three petals and three sepals (one of which is called the lip). This lip may vary in hue and shape, and it acts as a landing place for pollinators.

General Care Requirements

LIGHT: Bright light but not direct sunlight.

TEMPERATURE: Dendrobium orchids prefer temperatures of around 65-75ºF during the day, and 55-65ºF at night. Temperatures below 50ºF will cause leaf drop.

WATER: Water around twice a week, or so that the potting media is almost dry before watering. (Watering frequency may vary depending on size of pot and potting media used).

POTTING: Dendrobiums like small pots (larger pots will reduce growth and flowering) and can be repotted every few years.

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