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Dendrobium

Phonetic Spelling
den-DROH-bee-um
Description

Dendrobium is a large genus of diverse tropical orchids in the Orchidaceae family.  They are native to tropical areas of Asia down to New Zeland.  Many of the plants in this genus are epiphytic or lithophytic.  While species vary in form and size, most have elongated, cane-like pseudobulbs from which the leaves and inflorescences emerge.  The flowers are brightly colored and showy.

These plants grow best in bright, indirect light, idealy a west or south-facing window. 2,000 to 5,000 fc light intensity should be sufficient (full, direct sunlight is approximately 10,000 fc by comparison).  They prefer high humidity, around 60%, and need consistently moist soil.  Allow the soil to only halfway dry out between waterings, never fully.  They MUST be planted in the smallest pot that fits, and clay pots work well for maintaining good soil drainage..

 

Quick ID:

  • Narrow pseudobulbs that are segmented (cane-like)
  • Racemes of flowers without a sheath
  • Spurs at the back of flowers

 

VIDEO Created by Laura Barth for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
D. gracilicaule
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#perennials#specimen#cut flowers#colorful#epiphytic#dappled shade#moist soil#well-drained soil#herbaceous perennials#orchid#partial shade tolerant#tropical#container plants#high humidity#hsc#hsc-fl
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
D. gracilicaule
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#perennials#specimen#cut flowers#colorful#epiphytic#dappled shade#moist soil#well-drained soil#herbaceous perennials#orchid#partial shade tolerant#tropical#container plants#high humidity#hsc#hsc-fl
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dendrobium
    Family:
    Orchidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical and Subtropical Asia, New Zealand
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Epiphyte
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Weeping
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Shape:
    Lipped
    Flower Description:
    Flowers may be in short or long unbranched racemes, some even pendulous, emerging from the top of the pseudobulb. Most inflorescences have 7-15 colorful flowers with short spurs at the back. They lack the sheath that Cattleya species have. Some species have flowers that last a few days while others last many months.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves vary in size among species. Most grow from the top 1/3rd of the pesudobulb and are elliptical in shape.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Humidity