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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens

Plant Profile Series



DENDROBIUM - Spray Orchid


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 (pseudo bulbs), 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. (Don't confuse this with Phalaenopsis orchids. Den. phalaenopsis is not a hybrid of Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis. Instead, it is one of many hundreds of species of Dendrobiums that resembles a Phalaenopsis Orchid.)

LIGHT: Provide bright light, even as much as 50% sun. Place near an east, west or thinly shaded south window.

TEMPERATURE: Provide night temperatures of 60-65° and day temperatures as high as 80-90°. Higher temperatures are tolerated if humidity and air movement are increased. Temperatures below 50° may cause leaf drop.

WATER: Keep evenly moist while in active growth. Allow to dry between waterings when growths are mature.

HUMIDITY: Provide between 50-60% humidity. Low humidity can be increased by using humidity trays or a humidifier.

FERTILIZER: Food should be provided during the active growth period. Water weekly with a balanced fertilizer mixed at 1/2 the recommended strength. After canes mature, stop feeding nitrogen. This will help the plant begin the bloom process.

REPOT every 2-3 years before the mix breaks down. Use a well-drained mix and a pot that will accommodate the roots and still allow for a year's growth.

Dendrobiums are occasionally available at certain holiday seasons in 4" or 5" clay pots.