How Do I Look After a Dendrobium Orchid?
Dendrobium orchids are a great way to add colour and interest to your home. They are easy to look after and they grow well in a wide range of climates, from tropical to sub-tropical to temperate.
They come in a huge variety of colours and they flower for about 6-8 weeks, usually three times a year if they’re given the right conditions. They’re easy to care for, but there are a few things you should bear in mind when looking after your dendrobium to help it flourish and flower.
Dendrobiums are warm-growing orchids and thrive in daytime temperatures between 70 degrees and 85 degrees, and nighttime temperatures should not fall below 54 degrees. They also require intermediate to high humidity levels and thrive indoors with humidity trays filled with pebbles or in humidifiers.
Water and Feed
Dendrobium plants like a steady supply of water, so keep them well-watered by giving them regular but tepid water. Water once a week during the summer, less often in winter when the plant growth slows down.
Don’t over-water your dendrobium as it can rot the roots and reduce their growth. To give your dendrobium a good supply of water, fill the pot with just enough water to cover the bottom, then let it drain well.
Use a specialised orchid potting mix when potting your dendrobium, and make sure it’s a good drainage soil mixture. Some specialised orchid mixes are perforated with air holes to promote good drainage, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t overfill your pot.
Fertilise the dendrobium with a balanced orchid fertiliser once a year. Some types of dendrobiums need to be fed more often in autumn and winter, but you should never overfeed this plant.
Dendrobiums need bright indirect sunlight, not direct sun, as it can burn the leaves and prevent them from developing buds. A windowsill or hanging basket in a south-facing window is ideal for these orchids.
Dendrobium flowers are very top heavy, so staking them helps the canes to grow as you want them and to avoid the plant falling over if the pot is knocked over. Stakes can be placed close to the centre of the pot, parallel to the cane, but a little away from the cane’s edge.
When a dendrobium has finished flowering, cut the flower spikes off just above where the pseudobulbs begin. This allows the plant to store energy for vegetative growth, which in turn will stimulate new canes and bud development on them.
Dendrobium orchids often produce keikis, or small clonal growths, on the tips of their stems. These keikis are useful in producing more flowers the next season. They will usually develop on the canes that have just finished flowering.
Scale, aphids and mealybugs can be a problem on these orchids. Treat an infestation by squashing or washing off the bugs, but if they are large, they may need to be treated with a commercial pesticide formulated for houseplants.