In the wild the Dendrobium grows on trees and rocks. The name says it all: ‘dendron’ is the Greek word for ‘tree’ and ‘bios’ means ‘life’.
The Dendrobium is available all year round, with a peak in the autumn. There are two types of Dendrobium, the compactum and the phalaenopsis hybrids. The compactum varieties often have multiple canes (fully-grown pseudobulbs), and therefore also several branches with smaller flowers (1 to 7 centimetres). The phalaenopsis hybrids have one or two branches with larger flowers (7 centimetres or larger).
The plants all have at least three or four canes, with four to eight leaves on each cane. The compactum species comes in white, blue and pink and the phalaenopsis hybrids come in white, pink, purple, blue, red, yellow, green, brown and cream. Some Dendrobium species are scented. In total there are more than a thousand Dendrobium species.
The Dendrobium prefers a light spot in summer and winter, but not in direct sunlight.
The ideal temperature for the Dendrobium is 18 to 22 °C. The compactum species flower for eight to twelve weeks. Because there are several branches on a plant, the plant can continue to bloom for twelve to sixteen weeks. The phalaenopsis species have a flowering period of ten to sixteen weeks.
Water the plant once a week, preferably with rain water. The plant does best if you immerse it in tepid water. Because the Dendrobium’s roots are very sensitive to water, the residual water needs to be poured away. Feed the plant with orchid food once a month throughout the year, but give it a smaller amount in the winter.
Cut the flower stem just above the top leaf of the pseudobulb when the Dendrobium has finished flowering. You should care for the plant the same after flowering as during flowering. There is no need to repot.
Phalaenopsis species can flower again on a new pseudobulb which forms in the spring. When this new pseudobulb has developed, it can produce one or two new branches. The compactum species flower on new pseudobulbs, but also on the same cane.
With compactum species it takes six months for a new branch to form. Then it’s another sixteen weeks until the plant blooms. If the plant flowers on the same branch, it takes another six weeks until flowering. Phalaenopsis species need ten months to flower again.
The Dendrobium is a strong plant which works well in arrangements.
The Dendrobium originates from the region between Japan, New Guinea, Australia and South-East Asia as far as New Zealand. Read all about the Dendrobium Nobilé here.