Green foliage, full of flowers: Dendrobium feels quite different from the rest of the orchid family. Stately with a crown of flowers that rises upwards, Dendrobium is very distinctive.
Colours and shapes
It differs from other orchid species with its clusters of flowers that form at the axil of each leaf and which give off a lovely fragrance. The unusual way of flowering on the stem means Dendrobium looks very different from most orchids. The plant blooms for at least 8 weeks a year with sizeable flowers which are five to eight centimetres wide. The colour varies from entirely white through yellow and orange to red and purple and combinations of those colours.
The name comes from the Greek word ‘dendron’ meaning ‘tree’ and ‘bios’ meaning ‘life’. Many Dendrobium species are known for being good at removing chemicals like toluene and xylene from the air. They are therefore viewed as natural air conditioners.
Read also: This is how special exclusive orchids are
In the wild, this orchid occurs from the cool mountains of the Himalayas to the jungle of New Guinea and the Australian desert, usually on branches of trees as an epiphyte (which means that they grow on other plants and trees without drawing nutrients from them). It’s a strong plant which can tolerate hot days and cold nights. There are around 1200 different species of Dendrobium. The earliest mention of the orchid in the West was in 1799, in a description by Olof Schwartz.
You can enjoy your orchid during the summer months too, when we spend a lot of time outdoors. Most orchid species can be placed outside, and they look so nice on your terrace or balcony! Did you know that there are special garden orchids too? Read all about it in this article!
Orchids on your terrace or balcony
A number of orchid species such as Cymbidium, Dendrobium and Cambria can happily be placed outside in spring and summer in order to bring colour to your garden table or balcony. By putting your Orchid outside you encourage the plant the produce buds. But do keep a close eye on the outdoor temperature, especially in the evening. It should not be less than 9 °C or more than 25 °C. Choose a spot out of the wind and in the shade. Avoid bright afternoon sun and take advantage of the mild morning and evening sun. Do water your plant a bit more often when it’s outdoors! Important to note: make sure there are no snails around.
Also read: Garden trends with outdoor orchids
There are also special garden orchids available, such as Dactylorhiza and Epipactus. These species can generally cope well with full sun, provided that the plants always have moisture available. Good places for planting are along the edge of a pond for example. Make sure that the roots are not constantly under water; because they don’t like that. They’re actually waterside plants. If you don’t have a pond in your garden, then it’s better to place the Dactylorhiza and Epipactus in partial shade.
Garden orchids grow in areas where the temperature can drop below -20 °C. These orchids protect themselves by staying below ground in the winter. In the spring they emerge from the ground and within 3 to 4 weeks they are already in bloom. After this you have 3 to 8 weeks of enjoyment – depending on the variety.
Read all about the garden orchid in this article!
Photos: Judith Prins Tuinorchideeën