Dendrobium: Easy to care orchids for beginners
Dendrobium are the best orchids for beginners. They are epiphytic plants that can be grown as an indoor as well as an outdoor ornamental plant. If provided with optimum conditions they are easy to grow and maintain. The sprays of flowers are long lasting and remain in bloom status for five to seven weeks giving you the best output of your efforts and care.
Quick Details of Dendrobium
|Other Common Names||Dendrobium|
|Type||Ornamental orchid plant|
|Light||Indirect diffused sunlight (for Indian conditions)|
|Water||Deep water once a week. They prefer moist soil conditions|
|Temperature||Warm, humid climate, can tolerate cold but the rate of growth can differ|
|Soil||Special orchid mix. Does not grow in soil.|
|Fertilizer||Any liquid orchid fertilizer|
|Toxicity||Unsafe for human consumption|
|Common Diseases||Root rot, leaf spot|
|Scientific name||Dendrobium (Genus)|
Dendrobium Buying Instructions
- If possible buy a Dendrobium plant which is about to bloom.
- Buy couple of plants of different varieties.
- There should not be any spots on leaves and plant should look healthy.
Overview of Dendrobium
They are epiphytes belonging to the family Orchidaceae. There are more than 1800 species available under this family which are found in divers habitats. They are native to China, India, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Guinea, Vietnam.
The roots cling to the branches of the trees. The roots rise from a pseudobulb. The leaves are arranged in rows or one or many. The flowers arise from an un-branched stem and can be white, pink, yellow or purple in colour. They flower from January to June. the growing phase lasts till September after which the plant enters the dormant or resting phase. They are mostly grown as ornamental plants.
Usage and Advantage of Dendrobium
- Used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various diseases.
- Grown as an ornamental plant.
General Care for Dendrobium
We need to understand the natural habitat of orchids. Orchids grow on stems of trees in the green forests under the canopy of the large trees. They do not get direct sunlight instead they get diffused sunlight from the trees. There is lots of moisture around the plant in natural conditions.
So while care we need to provide them appropriate environment.
Pot selection for Dendrobium:
Pot selection is very important for orchid plant. Normally orchid pots are different from normal pots. A plastic or a clay pot can be used with proper aeration holes. Clay pots help absorb water and maintain moisture. Orchids have areal roots which required direct air contact.
Media to Grow for Dendrobium:
They are mostly epiphytes and grow on the trees, clinging to branches. A well-draining orchid mix can be used for their growth which usually consist of peat moss, perlite or fir bark or a mix of coarse pine bark, coconut husk and perlite can also be used.
Other than above, coconut husk chips, wood coal, peat moss, tree bark mixture can also be used for growing orchids.
Watering for Dendrobium:
The watering of plants depends on the growing season. They prefer moisture and humidity. The plants should be deep watered at least once a week during the growing season. However, excess water or leaving them in a wet condition can result in root rot. After the growing season, the watering can be reduced to ones in 10-14 days depending on the moisture content of the potting mixture.
The best way to water orchid plants is to keep the pot in water bowl or bucket for 15 minutes and then pull out the plant. Please make sure plant leaves and flowers should not come in contact of water. A water pot can also be kept near the plant to make the air humid around the plant.
Light and Temperature requirement for Dendrobium:
Prefers indirect diffused sunlight like near by glass window or below the tree. The leaves turn yellow when exposed to excess sunlight. They prefer warm, humid conditions. The plants start to bloom when there is a small fall in the temperature. The leaf tips turn brown when the temperature is too dry. They require high humidity and proper air circulation.
Special Care for Dendrobium:
The plant can be re-potted once a year after the blooming period or when the small plant-lets start appearing. Orchids are not usually pruned. The stems that hold the inflorescence can be pruned back, to encourage emergence of new inflorescence.
Fertilization needs for Dendrobium:
They can be fed with liquid orchid fertilizer ones in 1 or 2 weeks. The roots are sensitive to over fertilizing and the fertilizer should be half the recommended quantity. Over fertilizing can lead to damages in root, development of excess foliage and also keikis. If fertilizing ones a week, the plant can be deep watered once a month to drain out excess fertilizer in the potting mixture. They shouldn’t be fertilized during the resting period (October- March). This stimulates blooming during the growing period.
Pests and other problems for Dendrobium
The plant is mostly prone to root rot and leaf spot.
This caused when there is excess moisture in the soil. The roots turn black or brown in colour, there is yellowing of leaves and the plant can wilt. Prune the infected leaf and disinfect the cut ends with a fungicide. Repot the plant into a new potting mixture.
This can be a fungal or a bacterial infection. The infected leaves can be removed. In case of severe infection, the leaves can be sprayed with neem oil or soap solution. This is mostly caused due to high humidity.
Propagation of Dendrobium
They can be propagated through seeds, keikis and puseudobulb
Dendrobium Propagation through Seeds:
The seeds can be collected and planted in the potting mixture. it is watered regularly and provided with ample amount of sunlight.
Dendrobium Propagation through Keikis:
Under conditions with low light , the plants produce small plant-lets or offshoots called as the keikis which are present attached to the parent plant. They produce roots. These offshoots an be removed and planted separately to grow in to a new plant.
Dendrobium Propagation through Pseudobulbs:
This can be done through division of the rhizomes. The rhizomes along with the sympodials consisting of the shoot and the foliage can be cut and planted to grow into a new plant.