Dendrobiums are among the most commonly encountered orchids in
the retail trade. Like most other cultivated orchids, dendrobiums
are epiphytes, or air plants. They have well-developed water-storage
organs (pseudobulbs), often called “canes” for their upright, leafy
appearance. They should be potted in porous, free-draining media.
There are many different types of dendrobiums available to the specialist
grower. However, hybrids involving Den. phalaenopsis are what you
will most often encounter.
Sufficient light is important for healthy
growth and flower production.
PROVIDE Bright light, to 50 percent
sun. In the home, an east, west or
lightly shaded south window. In a
greenhouse, about 30 to 50 percent
of full sun. Under lights, four 40 watt
fluorescent tubes and two 40 watt incandescent
bulbs directly over plants.
Plants should be naturally erect, without
need of (much) staking, and of a
medium olive-green color.
Mature plants need a 15 to 20 F difference
between night and day.
PROVIDE Nights of 60 to 65 F; days of
80 to 90 F. Temperatures up to 95 to
100 F are beneficial if humidity and air
circulation are increased. Low temperatures
(below 50 F) may cause leaf drop.
Keep evenly moist while in active
growth. Allow to dry between waterings
after growth is mature (indicated
by terminal leaf).
Dendrobiums need 50 to 60 percent.
In the home, place on trays over
moistened pebbles. In greenhouse, use
a humidifier if conditions are too dry.
Should be provided on a regular basis
during the active growing period.
The exact fertilizer you use will depend
on the mix in which your plant
is growing. A good general rule is to
apply a balanced (10-10-10, 12-12-
12, or similar ratio) fertilizer
“weakly, weekly” during the period of
active growth. That is, fertilize every
week at one quarter to one half of the
Should be done every two to three
years before mix loses consistency
(breaks down). Pot firmly in
medium, giving aeration and
ample drainage, allowing enough
room for two years’ growth.
Dendrobiums grow best in pots
small for the size of the plant.