Dendrobium is one of the largest families of orchids with somewhere around 1000 species being known. Being such a large family creates much diversity. There are some Dendrobiums that are very large as well as some miniatures, some come from warm sea-level conditions of the equatorial Pacific islands while others originate in the near alpine climate of the Himalayan foothills. Dendrobiums are found only in the Eastern Hemisphere and range from Australia, throughout the South Pacific and Philippines, Southeast Asia, and India, and a small representation in Japan. Although the color range is varied most hybrids offered for sale are usually lavender, white, golden-yellow, or combinations of these colors. Some of the more unusual species and hybrids can be bluish, ivory colored, brilliant orange or scarlet, or have exotic markings. Most of the evergreen Dendrobiums are not fragrant however the deciduous species can have fresh citrus scent or smell of raspberries.
Most Dendrobiums that you will commonly find for sale require intermediate temperatures and bright filtered light during the growing season. Humidity should be between 50 and 75%. The easy-growing evergreen Dendrobiums and the Phalaenopsis type can receive this same culture throughout the year. These Dendrobiums produce sprays of long lasting round Phalaenopsis like flowers that can last for several weeks. They can often bloom several times a year and the flower sprays make excellent cut flowers for arrangements. Certain species of Dendrobium (superbum, pierardii, parishii, etc.) are deciduous, that is, they lose their leaves and require cool dry conditions throughout most of the winter. They should be watered only enough to prevent the canes from excessive shriveling and fertilizer should be witheld completely. During spring and summer these orchids should be provided with ample water and a fertilizer designed specifically for orchids such as Better-Gro® Orchid Plus® Fertilizer, the fertilizer that includes essential minor elements – and NO urea nitrogen – making all elements readily available to your orchids.
Dendrobiums are sturdy orchids that can add a focal point to any room without being too difficult to grow. The fall blooming season of many of the Phalaenopsis types fills a void left by other groups of orchids. For best results repot dendrobiums each year using Better-Gro® Dendrobium Mix which is specially formulated with Lava Rock to meet the drainage needs of Dendrobiums. With Dendrobiums, avoid using too large of a pot. They may also be successfully grown in wooden slat baskets using Better-Gro® Premium Grade Orchid Moss®.