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Orchid Dendrobium

Other plants called Orchid:

Previously known as:

  • Phalenopsis
Phonetic Spelling
den-DROH-bee-um
Description

Dendrobium is a large genus of about 1800 diverse tropical orchid species in the Orchidaceae family. They are native to tropical areas of Asia down to New Zealand. Many of the plants in this genus are epiphytic (having roots that creep over the surface of trees) or lithophytic (having roots that creep over rock), . While species vary in form and size, most have elongated, cane-like pseudobulbs from which the leaves and inflorescences emerge. The flowers are bright, showy, and fragrant and come in a range of colors including white, orange, yellow, purple, pink, brown, and green. Many of the species in this genus will have a growth phase followed by a dormant phase over the course of a year. The genus name comes from the Greek words dendron meaning a tree and bios meaning life.

These plants grow best in bright, indirect light, idealy a west or south-facing window. A partially shaded site providing 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, but never fully dry. Because these plants have small root systems, they MUST be planted in the smallest pot that fits and clay pots work well for maintaining good soil drainage. The genus includes deciduous species that lose their leaves during the dry season in nature. For these species, you should withhold water in the late fall and early winter to mimic natural conditions and stimulate blooming. The genus also includes hot, intermediate and cool-growing species, so consider temperature requirements to optimize growth and flowering. Most species can be grown in a bark-based medium containing horticultural charcoal. Feed weekly during the growing season after first watering thoroughly with tepid water. Use a commercial fertilizer diluted in water to half strength. 

Quick ID:

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

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

These plants have few problems. They are generally not affected by pests, but watch for mealybugs. Insufficient light results in non-blooming.

 

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#colorful#epiphytic#dappled shade#moist soil#well-drained soil#herbaceous perennials#orchid#cutting garden#partial shade tolerant#tropical#container plant#high humidity#hsc#hsc-fl
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
D. gracilicaule
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#perennials#specimen#colorful#epiphytic#dappled shade#moist soil#well-drained soil#herbaceous perennials#orchid#cutting garden#partial shade tolerant#tropical#container plant#high humidity#hsc#hsc-fl
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dendrobium
    Family:
    Orchidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical and Subtropical Asia to the Pacific and New Zealand
    Distribution:
    Cuba and the Caribbean, Hawaii,
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Epiphyte
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Weeping
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a, 12b, 12a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit of this genus are long, oval pods with a stem at one end. In some species the pod turns brown. The pods carry large numbers of tiny seeds which are easily dispersed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    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 to 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:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    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 Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Humidity