Dendrobium Orchids

Dendrobium Orchids


  • Scientific name: Dendrobium Orchid
  • Common name:  Dendrobium
  • Origin:  Southeast Asia, Australia and Tasmania
  • Orchid type : Epiphyte
  • Flowering:  Spring. Some specimens have flowers that last up to six months
  • Location:  A lot of lighting, without direct sun
  • Irrigation:  There are two types of Dendrobium, with different irrigation needs. To know how to water each one, visit his file.
  • Humidity:  Average 50% -60%
  • Level of difficulty:  Low, although it is very important to respect the periods of rest, so that they return to bloom

Inside the indoor orchids, the Dendrobium orchids, along with the Phalaenopsis are the best known. 
That’s why it’s no wonder that at this moment you have a Dendrobium orchid in your hands. 
Its popularity is preceded by being an orchid relatively easy to care for , but also because it is very attractive. The second thing we have clear, first we will find out throughout this article. 

More than 1,500 species belong to this genus. It is a very varied group of plants in all aspects. 
Its geographic distribution includes different habitats such as Southwest Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. We can find them from the same sea level at heights of up to 3,500 meters. 
Most of them as their name indicates (“dendro” = tree or trunk and “bios = life”) are epiphytes , that is, they live using the trunks and branches of the trees as support, feeding on the organic matters that the humidity and the rainwater drags through the structures that serve as support. 
There are species adapted to different climates but always prevailing tropical environments and constant humidity throughout the year.
We can find species of different sizes, from a few centimeters to specimens of several meters. The color of its flowers is also very varied and rich due to the multiple hybridizations made with this species.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Characteristics of the Dendrobium orchid
    • 1.1 Types of Dendrobium
  • 2 How to care for the Dendrobium orchid of soft cane
    • 2.1 Watering
    • 2.2 Lighting
    • 2.3 Temperature
    • 2.4 Humidity
    • 2.5 Substrate and transplants
  • 3 How to care for the Dendrobium orchid with hard cane
    • 3.1 Watering
    • 3.2 Lighting
    • 3.3 Temperature
    • 3.4 Environmental humidity
    • 3.5 Subscriber
    • 3.6 Substrate and change of pot
  • 4 Varieties of Dendrobium orchids
    • 4.1 Dendrobium nobile
Terms: Data: Observations:
Temperature Maximums not higher than 30ºC.Minimum of 10ªC. Summer: Day 28-30 ° C maximum. Night: 20-25 ° C. 
Winter: Minimum of 10ºC.
Humidity The optimum humidity is 60 to 70% in the vegetative period (spring-summer). In winter (rest period in deciduous) the humidity level should be reduced (40 or 50%).
Light Needs very bright environments without reaching the direct sun. They also need good ventilation.
fertilizer Add fertilizers for orchids in the water that we use for irrigation in the vegetative period (spring-summer). In winter (rest period) do not fertilize the deciduous dendrobium (not perennial).
Substrate We can install them in small containers with a special substrate for orchids and have a high capacity to filter the water (peat, pine bark, etc.).  
Others It needs good ventilation but you have to avoid direct air currents on the plant. It is not a particularly delicate plant if we are able to provide you with the conditions you need.

Characteristics of the Dendrobium orchid

Some of the data are mere curiosity, but they help us understand how we should face the care of orchids . We are facing a genus that has more than 1,500 different orchid species.

Before taking into account all the descriptions of these species, it is important to highlight the etymology of the name of this genus, since its meaning is given by the life in the trunk of trees, since all the known species of dendrobium orchids grow and develop from this form.That is, they have their roots in trees.

On the other hand, with regard to the structures of these plants, it should be noted that they have a large pseudobulb, which usually develops the stem that is similar to the cane, said stem can reach measures of about 30 centimeters. As for the stem it can also be said that it is covered by what are considered small hairs. Among other highlights, it stands out that as regards the auxiliary buds of the flowers they are grouped as a short bouquet.

However, to take into account all that concerns the flowers of the species of dendrobium orchids, we must first consider that they are known to occur in different sizes depending on the case of the species, that is, in some cases They can be small flowers, as in others they are large flowers in sizes and showy. Regarding the coloration of these flowers, this genus has the peculiarity of presenting different colors, everything depends on the species that is the case, but it is more common to find white dendrobium orchids.You can even present the same species with flowers of different colors. So taking into account the vitality of these flowers can be said that some have a duration of up to six months while others of just one day, everything depends on the species.

Its natural habitat is quite broad.   these species of dendrobium orchids are known for their large size compared to other species of other genera. It is usually easy to find them in the Asian continent, in the countries of Indonesia, the Philippines, among others.
With this great diversity of locations and environments, the temperatures and climatic conditions are quite varied, although the “typical” tropical environment predominates, with high temperatures and constant humidity. 
Regarding their growth, most of them can be found growing on trunks and branches, like epiphytic plants, but some grow on rocks and are called lithophytes. 
Its size is also diverse, with species that only measure a few millimeters, even some that measure two meters or more.

Most of these plants grow with strong stems fromrhizomes.

The leaves are very fleshy and usually develop individually at regular spaces directly from the stem.

The flowers can develop in the superior part of the stem and through a floral wand or along each one of the stems being born from the same trunk and without need of floral wand.

These last plants are of great beauty since when the flowers are opened, the plant is all wrapped in the color of the flower.

Perhaps one of the most marketed is the white one called Dendrobium nobile

Types of Dendrobium: Hard Cane And Soft Cane

In the Dendrobium orchids we find two very different groups, those of hard cane and those of soft cane. 
Hard-boiled orchids have tall, thin pseudobulbs. Its leaves are usually a little darker than the stems and are perennial. They usually keep their leaves and do not lose them for the season of the year. 
From the hardened canes, they form spikes of flowers. 
Meanwhile, the soft-rod Dendrobium possess long, leafy and thin pseudobulbs. 
Its leaves are lighter than the previous ones, and appear along the length of the stem, from which the flowers also emerge.

dendrobium orchids

So we have

The Dendrobium Phalaenopsis (hard cane) have high and very thin pseudobulbs.

Its leaves are usually a little darker than those of soft cane.

Hard-growing orchids are evergreen and often retain their leaves for many years before they fall.

This type of plants grow spikes from the top of the cane and produce magnificent groups of flowers.

Soft-reed Dendrobium Nobile orchids have leafy, long-sized and thin pseudobulbs.

Its leaves are generally a little lighter than the Dendrobium Phalaenopsis, of hard cane.

The leaves grow along the cane and the flowers are born from the individual stems that are found along the cane itself.

The Dendrobium Nobile, of soft cane, are deciduous so they drop their leaves when it starts to get cold.

As the care for each type of Dendrobium can vary so much we have chosen the two groups mentioned above to explain the care. The Dendrobium Nobile (which are soft cane) and Dendrobium Phalaenopsis (hard cane).

So as we said, let´s study them individually.

How to care for the Dendrobium orchid of soft cane

dendrobium orchid

The Dendrobium nobile belongs to the Dendrobium deciduous and soft- stemmed orchids. 
Some cares differ from one variety to another, so I’ll give you the case of a deciduous Dendrobium and an evergreen Dendrobium.


They should be watered in the morning with warm water. As with all orchids, the water must be soft and low in mineral salts, so as not to damage the roots and not end up damaging the plant.  The frequency of irrigation, as we have already explained, is determined by the different environmental factors. You can read more here in the article about how to water an orchid.
The watering schedule for a Nobile orchid depends to a large extent on the season and its growth cycle. When the plant is growing actively, water once a week. In early fall, it reduces the frequency of irrigation to help stimulate shoot growth. In the winter you should only water when you see that the substrate is practically dry.

The frequency of irrigation has to do with its stage of growth and the time of year. 
When the plant is in the process of growth, it should be irrigated (more or less) once a week, to reduce the risks in early fall. 
In winter (when they have lost their leaves) it should only be watered when we observe that the pseudobulbs begin to wilt, it is a clear indicator that the plant needs more water.


They need good lighting, so they will be perfectly close to a window facing south, but always with the precaution that they do not receive sunlight directly. 
In these cases, we must place a curtain or put the orchids behind another plant that provides shade. The risk we run is that the leaves burn with the sun.

Dendrobium Nobile orchids, along with their hybrids, grow better with high intensity of light. The ideal place to place the plant is a window facing south. Remember not to let the orchid receive direct sunlight because this could cause the leaves to burn.


They like cooler temperatures than their sisters who do not lose leaves. 
When they are in full bloom (spring …), nighttime temperatures should range between 4.5ºC and 10ºC. 
Always watch that the temperatures oscillate with a maximum of 32ºC during the day, and a minimum of 3ºC during the night.

Dendrobium Nobile orchids need cooler temperatures than hard cane. While the plant is blooming nighttime temperatures of 4.4 ° C to 10 ° C are recommended. Temperatures should not rise above 32 ° C or fall below 3 ° C).


They require high humidity conditions, ideally between 50% to 60%, ensuring that there is a good movement of air, to prevent the occurrence of any type of attack by fungi.

Fertilizer And Nutrients

When Dendrobium Nobile orchids are in full growth they must be fertilized regularly. It is important never to fertilize an orchid that is completely dry, since doing so can cause burns to the roots.

Substrate and transplants

The substrate needed by Dendrobium is typical of epiphytic orchids, very thick that allows good air circulation, but with enough capacity to retain some of the moisture and nutrients. 
To change the substrate, we must address the already prepared, which are usually based on pine bark. 
It must be replanted every one or two years and whenever the canes have grown too much, or the substrate no longer drains correctly. 
The change should be made after flowering, cutting out the damaged roots. 
Dendrobium orchids can be reproduced by separating the pseudobulbs, provided they have between 7 and 8 reeds, cutting at least 3, to ensure the possibility of success.

Dendrobium Nobile orchids should be transplanted every year and a half or two years. You can also guide yourself by the time the canes have started to grow too much or the substrate has worn out and does not drain properly. 
You have to replant the orchid after it has bloomed. Before replanting, always trim and prune damaged roots with a sterilized cutting tool.

In this article we explain how to perform the procedure, about how to transplant orchids. Dendrobium nobile orchids can reproduce as long as they have 7 or 8 canes.

How to care for the Dendrobium orchid with hard cane

As I mentioned before, Dendrobium hard cane are those that have high pseudobulbs, and are evergreen, producing floral rods (spikes), from where the flowers come out. An example is Dendrobium phalaenopsis.

As you will see, the care between the 2 large groups of Dendrobium differ a lot. That’s why we separated in 2 sections with the instructions to grow and flourish our plant in a way


The best time to water is in the morning and with warm water, so that when the night comes the substrate and the roots are already somewhat drier , preventing the appearance of fungi. 
The water must be soft and poor in mineral salts, which discards the tap water. You can use filtered water, rainwater or otherwise, bottled water. 
The frequency of the irrigation depends on several issues, such as the size of the pot and how quickly the substrate dries. 
As a rule, we must understand that in times of growth the risks must be more frequent, to space them when the coldest months arrive, starting in the fall.

Lighting and Illumination

They thrive well in medium lighting situations An ideal location to have them at home, would be near a window facing east. 
If the window we have is oriented to the south, nothing happens, but we must always foresee that they do not support direct lighting, and that we should sift the light.

Dendrobium Phalaenopsis orchids grow well in medium light conditions. A good location inside is a window facing west. If you have a shadow area in a window to the south you can also leave it there.


The diurnal temperature should oscillate between 24ºC and 30ºC, with night temperatures between 16ºC and 18ºC . 
As with all orchids, they need changes between day and night temperatures, to meet their growth cycles and stimulate flowering. These differences have to oscillate between 8ºC to 11ºC.
These plants bloom best when there is a difference of 8 ° C to 11 ° C between the temperature of the day and night. Remember, with higher temperatures you will have to maintain higher humidity conditions, more air movement and more frequent waterings.


The ideal environmental humidity has to be moved around 50% to 60%. We can resort to different methods, such as using a humidifier or the simplest, a dish with water under the pot, with the precaution of placing some pebbles so that the roots are not in direct contact with the water. 
We must also remember that at higher temperatures, the humidity must be higher and if we do not want to have problems of diseases, we must look for good ventilation.

If you need to increase the humidity, because it is lower than the 50% to 60% required, you can place the orchid on top of a tray with water or place a humidifier nearby. Remember to have a suitable air movement for your orchids, opening a window and letting in the breeze or placing an oscillating fan nearby.

Fertilizers And Nutrients

Subscribing is important when the Dendrobium is growing. Fertilizers should be suitable for orchids, following the manufacturer’s instructions, although as a rule, fertilize every two or three weeks during the summer months, and once a month during the winter.

The Dendrobium Phalaenopsis orchids need to be fertilized regularly when they are in full growth.

Substrate and Repotting

The substrate to use is recommended for orchids, spongy, resistant, lightweight and capable of storing water and nutrients. 
Every two years or so, you have to remove the old substrate and renew it for new , unless before the date we discovered that the previous substrate no longer drains well. 
When the change is made, always outside the time of flowering, we will take advantage to cut the roots that present damages. 
Dendrobium orchids usually grow better in rather small pots, in this sense the container has to be adjusted to the size of the roots and not larger.
As with orchids that grow through pseudobulbs, we can take advantage of these changes to divide and have new orchids, which will be identical to their progenitors. 
You will have seen that once we are clear about which group our Dendrobium belongs to, which leaves the leaves during the winter or loses them, we can already establish some basic care, but they are very simple and they will try to have copies healthy and flourishing for years.

This orchid must be transplanted in a medium grade mixture every two years or once the substrate remains soaked and can not drain the water. Before replanting, always remove all old substrate and prune damaged roots with a sterile cutting tool.

In this article we explain how to perform the procedure: How to transplant orchids

The Dendrobium Phalaenopsis orchid tends to grow better in small-sized pots where they fit well. When the canes begin to grow too much in the pot it is time to transplant. This plant can be divided to reproduce once the orchid has flowered and shows signs of regrowth.

Varieties of Dendrobium orchids

Dendrobium nobile

The Dendrobium nobile orchid, as we can see by its name, belongs to the genus “Dendrobium”. You can learn the general characteristics of this genre here: Dendrobium. They are orchids that are for sale in some garden centers, they are relatively easy to care for and offer a good flowering. But as with most orchids, they are a bit misunderstood by inexperienced gardeners. Some are frightened when they lose their leaves, they do not understand that the Dendrobium orchids of soft cane need a period of rest, during which they lose all their leaves.

It must be borne in mind that, in some species (such as Dendrobium nobile), these leaves are deciduous and, therefore, the leaves may fall after flowering and in the resting period.

Despite this, the plant is still alive but in vegetative rest.

In the wild the leaves of the deciduous dendrobium fall in winter coinciding with the arrival of the cold and drier season.

In this way the plant saves nutrients and survives thanks to the reserves of the pseudobulbs or rhizomes.

With the arrival of spring and higher temperatures with precipitation, the plant enters again into activity and generates new roots, buds and leaves.

It is at this time when we must ensure a regular irrigation and fertilization to stimulate their development and generation of new flowers.

The most common dendrobiums can be grown at home since they do not require special care, although we must ensure good light conditions.

Detail stem and pseudobulbs (rhizomes) Dendrobium:



The Dendrobium reproduce by the generation of seeds and keikis. Being the first mechanism of difficult reproduction in artificial environments, the dendrobium give us an alternative method that involves the creation of an exact reproduction of the mother plant. First a small bud appears on the trunk of the mother plant to grow progressively and develop its own roots. Once the keiki (son) has roots of 2 or 3 centimeters, the plant can be separated from the trunk and cultivated in a separate container. This system is extremely easy and affordable for anyone. Below are some images of keikis in dendrobiums.


Dendrobium Orchids for Sale

It is known that these orchids are highly valued in shops internationally, this thanks to the beauty that presents in their flowers, various lovers of orchids are the main market for them. Therefore, before the demand that has been generated from it, we proceed to carry out everything that would be the process of cultivation of these plants in order to be able to find them in a more accessible way.

Now, everything related to the cultivation of dendrobium orchids comes directly from the trade and the intentions of keeping these plants on the market. It is generally known that this type of crop, as in the case of different genera of orchids, is usually simple while maintaining the necessary care for the sunlight necessary for these plants, the ideal temperature of the environment where they grow, the conditions of the Substrate and fertilizer as well as the entire irrigation process and the components in the water.

For this reason it is known that as regards the care of dendrobium orchids,  first of all we must consider fresh environments, where the plants can acquire sunlight but not directly, usually when they are located in the houses the ideal place comes given by windows, balconies, or even outdoors taking care of a place that is roofed. On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account the temperature changes that this plant needs for its development, usually in the day it needs a warmer climate, and at night it can withstand cold temperatures. For the successful cultivation of these plants should take into account the optimal conditions of water drainage for irrigation, since this is a vital factor, standing water would be harmful to these plants.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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