How to care for the Dendrobium orchid

The orchid plant family ( Orchidaceae ) is absolutely immense. We speak of between 25,000 and 30,000 species, so it is impossible to classify them if we do not divide them into smaller categories. From this division comes the genus Dendrobium , with 1200 species of epiphytic orchids with a very high ornamental value.

Orchids are a great attraction as indoor plants, since they are jungle species that need constant temperatures and humidity, very common in areas of Central America or Southeast Asia, but that little by little we have been adapting them to our home environment.

However, they are not without difficulty when it comes to caring for them. When we have said that they are epiphytic orchids, it means that they usually grow on other plants, but as a support, since they do not parasitize or steal nutrients. Therefore, when giving or nurturing them, special conditions are required.

Nothing to worry about if we have a guide on Dendrobium orchids That is our mission with this article that we hope you enjoy.


The genus Dendrobium is characterized by grouping orchids larger than usual, located mainly in the geography of Southeast Asia, mainly in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia or Papua New Guinea.

As we have said, this genus is merely epiphytic. In fact, the term Dendrobium is the union of dendron , tree, with bium, life, which means that it makes life in the tree or in the trunks of the same.

This type of orchids are well known to lovers of these very decorative jungle plants. The main species allow their flowers to be kept in perfect condition for several weeks, so they are very grateful plants if we give them the necessary care.

Read more:  Phalaenopsis, the most famous orchid


The genus Dendrobium presents particular differences with respect to other species of orchids. One of them is that it produces an underground stem (pseudobulb) that grows vertically to exceed 20 cm in height, and is covered by sharp white hairs.

Its leaves are large, fleshy and oval, with a dark green color. They grow along the main stem, but arranged alternately.

The flowers also come out of the main stem, forming different floors where leaves and flowers alternate. As for its appearance, there is everything. Among the more than 1000 species of this genus, there are species that produce many small flowers and others that do just the opposite, few but large flowers.

One of the most recognized species of this genus is Dendrobium nobile,  from which numerous hybrids have been obtained to achieve a very large range of flowering tones. This species is characterized by large flowers homogeneously distributed throughout the main stem.


Orchids are distributed throughout the world geography, especially in areas of high humidity and warm temperatures throughout the year.

However, the genus Dendrobium  is distributed mainly throughout the Asian continent, including countries such as those mentioned above plus others, with smaller orchid populations, such as Japan, Borneo, Ceylon and the Himalayan mountains.

There is also a presence on the continent of Oceania, both in New Zealand and Australia.


Being a very large genus of plants, it is in turn divided into 50 subgenera. However, commercially and offer great attraction as an ornamental plant as a houseplant, we mainly find these species:

  • Dendrobium nobile
  • Dendrobium wardianum
  • Dendrobium chrysaanthum
  • Dendrobium victoriae reginae


Orchids are quite special in their care . The knowledge acquired with other types of substrate plants, underground roots and aerial stems is not of much use, so it is necessary to reset the concept of “plant and pot” and offer an alternative maintenance typical of this genus of epiphytic plants.

The home environment is an ideal environment to care for different types of orchids. Conditions of homogeneous and stable temperatures throughout the day, a certain humidity (we will use a sprayer or humidifier) ​​and a lot of lighting are necessary to have orchids with spectacular flowering.

When establishing the risks and the subscriber, one of the most complicated parts of the care , it is necessary to establish 2 well differentiated periods.



We will place our Dendrobium orchids in environments with good lighting , a south-southeast location and with the entrance of sunlight throughout the morning and part of the afternoon.

It needs a lot of light but without direct sunlight , since its fleshy leaves are sensitive to the sun’s rays and a general chlorosis will cause spots on them.


They adapt very well to hot climates and high temperatures as long as there is ambient humidity. The ideal range is between 18-24 ºC , normal temperatures in the Dendrobium home 


Store in well-ventilated areas , relatively close to a window (but away from sunlight), and without excess windy air or that could make its leaves fall.


Orchids need a certain humidity in the air. The ideal is between 60-70% , so in very warm rooms we will need to spray the plant 2 or 3 times a week.


Epiphytic orchids do not need a substrate to live , only a support medium. For this reason, those that you usually find in specialized stores or hypermarkets are usually made up of pine bark and other trees or dry peat.

In this way, it also allows the excess water to be evacuated when we water them, avoiding the rotting of roots and the neck of the plant, one of the main causes of loss of an orchid.

In the final part of the article we will add a substrate that we consider optimal for this type of plants.


The greatest danger of orchids is excess water, one of the main causes of plant wilt. As you know, the ideal way to water an orchid is by immersion or with a base of several centimeters of water at the base, leaving it submerged for 10 or 15 minutes so that the roots are fully hydrated.

It is important to remove any remaining water accumulated , so it must be drained very well. The greatest crime is to carry out this operation with high frequency, especially in winter, with less light activity. Therefore, we wanted to differentiate 2 clear and perfectly defined periods.

Winter maintenance (November-February)

In winter, a period with higher humidity in the home and less lighting, the orchid does not produce flowers and its metabolic activity drops considerably. It is necessary to locate our plant in the least warm environment of the house.

For this reason, we will arrange the plant in a well ventilated area, with good light exposure and we will give the least possible irrigation . 1 watering every 10-12 days of low volume is usually a standard value. An additional tip is to pay attention to the appearance of the roots, especially their hydration.

When they start to wrinkle slightly, it’s time to add some water . We will notice after a few hours how they hydrate again.

Spring maintenance

From the formation of flower buds, the waterings will remain stable, with little water input during the entire flowering period. Many orchids usually bloom from February, so it is not advisable to add a lot of water to avoid their premature fall.

From the movement of the roots and the sprouting of new leaves, we gradually increase the waterings and we will begin to include fertilizer in them.

In hotter and less humid conditions, we will water approximately every 6 days.


We prefer to provide all the irrigations with fertilizer during the spring and summer period, but with a low dosage. Although we will have to read the manufacturer’s label, on average you can add 1 ml of fertilizer for each liter of water.

As it is watered by immersion or basal hydration, it will be enough to introduce a few liters of softened or softened water (this is important) and the chosen fertilizer. Mix well and immediately water the orchid.

Choice of fertilizer

During the first spring and summer period, after flowering, fertilizers rich in nitrogen and phosphorus are provided (3-1-2 ratio). Later, in mid-summer, the nitrogen load is reduced and a more homogeneous fertilizer is used (1-1-1.5 ratio).


The cause of non-flowering Dendrobium orchids may be due to the fact that there have not been notable differences between the dry period (winter) and the wet period (spring and summer), with more frequent waterings. Therefore, it is important to water to a minimum in winter to stimulate adequate flowering at the end of this period.

This “rest” in winter of the plant is what facilitates having a greater number of buds and flowers during its flowering period.

An orchid with an excess of water produces wilting of flowers and premature fall of leaves, in addition to showing a generalized chlorosis or yellowing.

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