Dendrobium orchid


Dendrobium is a very beautiful indoor orchid, comparable in popularity to another representative of orchids – phalaenopsis. From Dendrobiums alone, you can assemble an amazing collection in which each plant will be different from the rest.

This is an epiphytic plant: in natural conditions it grows directly on tree trunks, and the word “dendrobium” in Greek means “living on a tree”. Dendrobium flowering is a sight worth seeing: its flowers delight not only with their shape and shade, but also with a pleasant aroma. Representatives of the genus Dendrobium are very diverse and differ in many ways: the shade of flowers, the timing of flowering, the habit of the plant as a whole.

Types of dendrobium orchids

In nature, according to various sources, there are 1000 – 1200 species of dendrobium (1). In room culture, of course, much fewer species are grown, but also numerous, plus varieties, it is unlikely that it will be possible to list them all, so it makes sense to talk about the most common and interesting ones.

Dendrobium noble (Dendrobium nobile). The most spectacular type of dendrobium orchid, which fully justifies its name – “noble”. Most often, these are hybrids that differ in the size and color of flowers, which can be white, pink, lilac, yellow, and even tricolor. The flowers form in the axils of the leaves and densely droop strong upright stems, giving the plant a “bouquet” appearance. Flowering is long, from mid-winter to early summer.

Dendrobium beetle (Dendrobium moniliforme). Very miniature, about 15 cm high, looks like a reduced dendrobium nobile. The flowers are white, yellow, red or pink, in inflorescences of 2 – 3 pieces. There are many varieties and hybrids. Flowering is long, begins at the end of winter.

Dendrobium Phalaenopsis (Dendrobium phalaenopsis). Despite the similarity of names, this is not a hybrid with phalaenopsis, but a separate type of dendrobium, outwardly similar to phalaenopsis. Its flowers are large, on a long peduncle, it usually blooms in winter, in November-December. Considered one of the easiest to grow.

Dendrobium Parish (Dendrobium parishii). Differs in long creeping or hanging shoots and large leaves. Flowers on short peduncles, single or in several pieces, with a “fluffy” lip. Blooms in early summer.

Dendrobium primrose (Dendrobium primulinum). It also has long drooping shoots with abundant foliage. Flowers appear 1 – 2 in internodes, they are large, with a light striped or mottled lip. Flowering in late winter – early spring, may be longer.

Dendrobium gustotsvetny (Dendrobium densiflorum). The name of this type of dendrobium fully corresponds to the appearance of the plant: in one inflorescence there may be several dozen small flowers, most often yellow-orange, with a strong pleasant aroma. Flowering is long, begins in winter.

Dendrobium Lindley (Dendrobium lindleyi). A compact type of dendrobium orchid, usually reaching no more than 20 cm in height. Each inflorescence may have 10 or more flowers up to 5 cm in size, yellow or orange in color with a darker lip. The flowers have a pleasant honey aroma. Flowering begins in the middle of winter and can last up to six months, it is especially plentiful in spring.

Dendrobium orchid care at home

Dendrobiums are not the most capricious orchids, however, they still require attention for good flowering growth.


Dendrobium is suitable for a special ready-made soil for orchids, which can be bought at the store, or a home-made substrate from pieces of pine tree bark mixed with sphagnum. If you prepare the soil yourself, you can add a little charcoal and peat to it.


Like other orchids, dendrobiums need very good lighting. This is one of the most important moments in care. It is best to grow them on a south, east, southwest or southeast window, providing light shade from the scorching sun in summer. Dendrobium must have at least 12 hours of daylight for normal growth (2). If it is not possible to provide plants with sufficient lighting, additional lighting will be required. Ordinary household light sources are not suitable for orchids, they need a specialized full spectrum fitolamp.


In nature, dendrobiums exist in conditions of very high humidity – about 80%. Indoor species and varieties put up with somewhat drier air, but in any case, its humidity should not be lower than 50 – 60%. Therefore, in summer it is advisable to take the dendrobium to the open air, for example, to the balcony and spray it regularly if the weather is hot, dry. In winter, and in the absence of a balcony, you can put a pot with a plant in a tray with wet gravel, expanded clay or sphagnum.

Watering the dendrobium depends on the time of year and growth phase: in spring and summer, the plants are watered abundantly, the substrate should dry out between waterings. Excess moisture in the soil does not benefit the dendrobium and can lead to root rot. Water the dendrobium only with warm settled water. Winter watering depends on what type of dendrobium you grow: plants with a pronounced dormant period (for example, dendrobium nobile) are almost not watered in winter, the appearance of flower buds should be a signal to increase watering. Some other species, in particular the dendrobium phalaenopsis, do not have a dormant period and need to be watered in winter.


Proper care of the dendrobium orchid includes mandatory feeding. For dendrobiums, special ready-made formulations designed for orchids are suitable. Usually these fertilizers are added to the water during irrigation, but there are special formulations for foliar feeding – spraying on the leaves. Such preparations are recommended for plants with a damaged or undeveloped root system (for example, for rooted cuttings or cuttings), as well as for chlorosis. For dendrobiums, in no case do they use dry fertilizers (tablets and “health sticks”).


Top dressing is applied during the growing season, that is, the active growth of the plant, usually 1 time in 2 to 3 weeks, unless otherwise indicated in the instructions for the selected fertilizer. The first and last dressing for the season is applied in the amount of 1/2 of the full dose.

Whether it is necessary to feed dendrobiums during flowering is a moot point, but most often it is recommended to stop top dressing as soon as the flowers bloom halfway, and resume after flowering.

Foliar top dressing is possible only outside the flowering period, as the flowers die due to the nutrient composition on them.

Do not spray dendrobium with fertilizers in direct sun: this leads to burns and leaf death. Those varieties and species that have a winter dormant period are not fed at this time. Warm plants that do not have a dormant period can be fed once a month.

If you transplanted or propagated the dendrobium, you should wait with top dressing until it is strong enough and begins to form new shoots. Fertilizing immediately after transplanting can lead to the death of the roots and the entire plant.

Reproduction of the dendrobium orchid at home

Propagating a dendrobium is quite simple, you can do it in one of two ways.

By dividing the bush. After flowering, the dendrobium can be transplanted and divided. To do this, an adult plant is removed from the pot, the roots are cleaned of soil and gently untangled. Then, with a sharp disinfected instrument, cut off the delenki, each of them should have at least three pseudobulbs (stems) and young shoots. Places of cuts should be sprinkled with activated charcoal, covered with garden pitch or a special paste for treating damage to plants.

Cuttings. This is a slightly more complicated way of propagating the dendrobium orchid, but it is less traumatic for the plant.

Old shoots are cut into pieces with several internodes, the slices are sprinkled with charcoal or covered over. The cuttings are placed on moistened sphagnum in a greenhouse (a plastic or glass container is suitable) or simply in a bag. The greenhouse is kept in a bright warm place (20 – 25 ° C) with diffused lighting, every day it is opened for ventilation and the substrate is periodically moistened. After 2 – 3 weeks, young shoots should appear in the nodes of the cuttings. When they develop roots, they can be seated in separate containers.

Dendrobium orchid transplant at home

The root system of the dendrobium is very fragile and easily damaged, so it should be transplanted only when necessary. There can be several reasons for transplanting an orchid:

  • the plant has outgrown its capacity and the roots go beyond it;
  • the root system rots (the reasons for this will be discussed below);
  • the soil in the pot has not changed for several years and needs updating.

Unlike phalaenopsis, dendrobium requires an opaque container to plant. Dendrobiums are usually transplanted after flowering, late-flowering species can be transplanted in the spring, when the young shoots have finished growing.

The new container should be slightly wider than the previous one. A drainage layer of pebbles or rubble is laid at the bottom. When transplanting, the dendrobium orchid is carefully removed from the pot, the roots are freed from the soil, all damage is treated with crushed activated charcoal, var or other similar agent. After the sections have dried, the plant is placed in a pot and carefully covered with soil, without tamping it down and without falling asleep young sprouts. After transplantation, the plant is placed in a shaded place for 2-3 weeks and is not watered for 3-4 days.

Dendrobium orchid diseases

Fungal and bacterial infections. They are primarily affected by plants that are kept in unsuitable conditions: lack of lighting, too low humidity or irregular watering.

The first sign of these dendrobium orchid diseases is black or brown spots on the leaves, sometimes with a light rim. A single spot may be the result of an accidental injury or sunburn, but if the spots increase in size or number, it is most likely an infection.

To save the dendrobium orchid from diseases caused by fungi and bacteria, the conditions of detention are improved, the affected parts are removed, the sections are sprinkled with activated carbon or cauterized with iodine. Then the plant is treated with any fungicidal preparation suitable for home use.

Root and base rot of pseudobulbs. Most often, this dendrobium disease is the result of too abundant watering with moisture stagnation and flooding of the pseudobulb bases.

When root rot appears, the plant must be immediately transplanted into a new substrate. Before this, the rotten sections of the roots are removed, the sections are sprinkled with activated charcoal. If the bases of the stems rot, the rotted areas are removed (in case of severe damage, the stems are completely), the sections are disinfected, the plant is treated with a fungicidal preparation.

Pests of dendrobium orchids

Dendrobium is vulnerable to typical indoor plant pests: spider mites, scale insects, aphids, mealybugs, thrips and whiteflies.

Dendrobium pest control measures are the same as for other indoor plants. From the mealybug, spider mite and whitefly, if there are few of them, it helps to thoroughly wash the plant with household or special green soap, it is better to do this 2-3 times with an interval of several days.

In case of severe damage by these pests, as well as when scale insects or thrips are found, only treatment with special agrochemical preparations helps: Actellik, Fitoverm (3) or others with a similar effect.

Popular questions and answers

How to choose a dendrobium orchid?
Do not buy an orchid you like on the impulse of a moment – it can greatly disappoint you. Different types and varieties of dendrobium have different requirements for conditions, including temperature: some species require a cool content in winter, which is difficult to achieve in a city apartment. Before buying, read about the features of the variety or hybrid you like, evaluate the complexity of caring for it and your capabilities.

When buying, carefully inspect the dendrobium for damage and signs of pests. It is better to keep the purchased dendrobium for 2-3 weeks “in quarantine” – separately from other houseplants, as it can be infected not only with hidden pests, but also with viruses or bacteria.

What types of dendrobium are best for the home?
For those who are not ready to spend too much time and effort on creating conditions for plants and caring for them, Dendrobium phalaenopsis, Dendrobium moniliforme, Dendrobium Nobile hybrids, King’s Dendrobium are suitable.
Why does the dendrobium not bloom?
There are several reasons:

– the plant is too young – dendrobiums grown from cuttings usually bloom for 2-3 years;

– insufficient lighting – you need to rearrange the plant in a brighter place or provide additional lighting;

– the dormant period is disturbed – if during the dormant period (for those species that have it) the plant is kept at an unsuitable temperature or – receives excessive watering, it may not bloom at all, sometimes under such circumstances, instead of flowers, young shoots form on the plant;

excessive watering at the stage of bud formation – this can lead to the fact that the buds do not develop or fall off;

– stuffy room – dendrobiums need access to fresh air.

What is the best dendrobium for a beginner?
Dendrobiums are very different, dendrobiums moniliforme are best suited for home amateur maintenance – they feel much better on our windowsills, and it is much easier to achieve their flowering than dendrobium nobile, says biologist, collector of rare plants Elena Kostrova.
What is the most common problem beginners have when growing dendrobium nobile?
Dendrobium nobile is not the easiest plant to keep on our windowsills, for flowering it needs differences in day and night temperatures of 5 – 10 ° C, air humidity of 70 – 80% and bright lighting without direct sunlight. It is very problematic to provide such conditions in an apartment on the windowsill. But, perhaps, the most important mistake of novice lovers of these orchids is abundant watering in the autumn-winter period, despite the fact that the dendrobium nobile needs a dormant period, explains biologist Elena Kostrova.
Do dendrobium nobile need lighting in winter?
Need not. Nobile dendrobiums need a dormant period from October to March, during this period watering should be reduced to a minimum and the plant should be allowed to redistribute sugars in the tissues for future growth and flowering. Illumination and watering stimulate vegetation, which means that there will be no dormant period and there is no point in waiting for flowering, – says biologist Elena Kostrova.
Where is the best place to buy dendrobium to get a healthy plant?
 There are many hybrid dendrobium nobile of various colors in the chain hypermarkets of goods for the home and garden. Do not buy discounted plants – they spent a critical amount of time in the trading floors, where they were kept in low light, subjected to repeated drying and flooding, weakened and susceptible to fungal diseases. Choose a healthy plant from fresh supplies, – recommends biologist Elena Kostrova.

Moniliform dendrobiums, which are more suitable for beginners, are not available in chain stores, you need to buy these plants from collectors, there are a lot of offers now. Before making a choice, be sure to read online reviews about the seller.

Sources of

  1. Averyanov L.V. Key to orchids (Orchidaceae Juss.) of Vietnam // St. Petersburg: World and family, 1994 – 432 p.
  2. Hawkes A.D. Encyclopaedia of cultivated orchids // Faber and Faber, London, (1965) 1987.
  3. State catalog of pesticides and agrochemicals permitted for use on the territory of the Federation as of July 6, 2021 // Ministry of Agriculture of the Federation

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