Group : Dendrobium
Covers these genera : Ceratostylis (Crtstl.) , Dendrobium (Den.) , Epigeneium (Epig.) , Eria (Eria) , Inobulbon (Ino.)

General information for this group :
Very rewarding and easy to grow. The major issues tend to be overpotting, and not respecting the rest periods for those that need it. The initial discussion is for Dendrobium and any hybrid which has Dendrobium in it's background. For subgroups that have additional information, it will appear under individual headings near the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can click on the genus name above to take you directly to that subgroup.


Subgroup : Dendrobium

Covers these genera : Dendrobium (Den.) , Inobulbon (Ino.)

Description :
Dendrobiums are a very rewarding and easy group of orchids to grow. Many of them have flowers which last several months, and many are also sweetly fragrant !

Light :
This group prefers moderate to bright light, depending on which section they belong to. Refer to the table below for specifics on each section that we grow.

Temperature :
Most Dendrobiums prefer intermediate to warm temperatures during their active growth period. Some require a cooler, dry rest to initiate blooming. If no distinct rest is required, and winter temperatures are cooler, then keep plants on the drier side. Refer to the table below for specifics on each section that we grow.

Media :
When grown in smaller pots (2.5" and under), then sphagnum in often an ideal choice to provide moisture for an extended period of time. In larger pots (3" and over), then a good bark-mix is appreciated. Pots should be wider than deep, since Dendrobiums are shallow rooters.

Water :
Rainwater and dehumidifier water are the best overall choices, since some groups resent hard water of any kind. NEVER use softened water, and well-water is only suitable for the more tolerant species. Good humidity is usually essential for all sections, and more so for those that do not have a distinct rest period. Refer to the table below for specifics on each section that we grow.

Fertilizing :
Use a balanced orchid fertilizer (3:1:3 or 4:1:4 ratio) at 1/4 to 1/2 strength, throughout the early and mid ranges of the active growing period. It is best to stop fertilization completely about 4 to 6 weeks before the end of the growing season (for us that is mid-August), to allow adequate flushing of the pots before the rest period (for those that require one). Note that the presence of excess nitrogen in the fertilizer will usually result in very few if any flowers, with keikis being produced instead.

Blooming :
Flowering Dendrobiums is easy, provided the individual section requirements are respected. If you are having trouble blooming yours, ensure that you are providing the right conditions throughout the year.

Quick reference table for section requirements :
General Comments :

Section or Common Group Name Light Temperature Rest Details Additional Notes and Examples
Phalaenanthe
(Phalaenopsis)
moderate to bright intermediate short cool dry rest (2 weeks) in November/December or no rest period Keep very potbound for best results. Some species are bigibbum, phalaenopsis, amabile.
Ceratobium
(Antelope)
moderate to bright intermediate to warm short cool dry rest (2 weeks) in November/December or no rest period Keep very potbound for best results. Some species are taurinum, antennatum, tangerinum.
Latourea
(New Guinea)
moderate intermediate to warm no rest Appreciate moisture-retentive media like sphagnum. Very durable flowers. Some species are atroviolaceum, forbesii, aberrans, spectabile.
Nobile
(Soft-cane)
moderate to bright intermediate to warm Give high light, almost no water, no fertilizer and cool nights (8 to 10 ° C), starting mid September to mid October. Rest period is 6 to 8 weeks. Leaves are deciduous for most of these, often prior to blooming. Those with elongated canes are often more easily managed when mounted. Some species are nobile, monoliforme, friedericksianum, anosmum.
The parishii and rhodopterygium types will often bloom with virtually no rest. They will shed their leaves when the cane matures. Typically a sign it may bloom shortly, provided the cane is large enough.
Australians
(Hard-cane)
bright intermediate Give high light, almost no water, no fertilizer and cool nights (8 to 10 ° C), starting mid September to mid October. Rest period is 6 to 8 weeks. Some species are speciosum, kingianum, adae.
Callista
(Chandelier types)
bright intermediate Give high light, almost no water, no fertilizer and cool nights (8 to 10 ° C), starting mid September to mid October. Rest period is 6 to 8 weeks. Short-lived but spectacular displays. Some species are thyrsiflorum, densiflorum, chrysotoxum, harveyanum.
Nigrohirsute
(black-haired)
moderate to bright intermediate to warm Give higher light, almost no water, no fertilizer and cooler nights (12 to 14 ° C), starting mid to late October. Rest period is 3 to 4 weeks. Keep barely moist until new growth begins to show. Some species are formosum, sanderae, cruentum.
Aporum moderate intermediate to warm short cool dry rest (2 weeks) in November/December or no rest period Usually grow much better mounted on treefern or cork. Some species are anceps, leonis, distichum.
Calyptrochilus moderate intermediate short cool dry rest (2 weeks) in November/December or no rest period Some of the brightest colored flowers in the genus. Most grow better on mounts. Some species are lawesii, mohlianum, obtusisepalum.
Oxyglossum
(including Cuthbertsonia)
moderate cool to intermediate (high temperatures and low humidity are not tolerated) no rest period Many miniatures in this section. Water quality is very important for this group. Some species are cyanocentrum, delicatulum, cuthbertsonii, laevifolium.

Inobulbon is best treated like the Latourea section above.

Schedule stages for rest periods :
***** Hard Rest *****
If potted, plants MUST be rootbound for successful blooming.
DateWhat to do
Sept 1Stop all fertilizing, use only plain water.
Oct 15Reduce watering almost completely. Apply only lightly to prevent excessive shrivelling.
Oct 15Allow night temperatures to drop, ideally between 8 to 10 °C and increase light levels during the day.
Dec 1You should begin to see early bud development.
Maintain the treatment for several weeks, until buds are nearly ready to open.
Dec 21 (approx)Once buds are opening or close to being ready to open, you can phase slowly back to a normal fertilizing and watering routine.
This treatment is particularly good for species which are difficult or reluctant to bloom, such as Australian and Nobile types which have been recently
introduced from wild sources.
We strongly recommend it for Den. kingianum, Den. nobile, and Den. speciosum.
NOTE : If this routine is not followed properly, you will get keikis (small plants) instead of flowers.
This approach usually results in a single, heavy flush of blooms, rather than a more spread out event.

***** Gentle or Soft Rest *****
If potted, plants MUST be rootbound for successful blooming.
DateWhat to do
Sept 1Stop all fertilizing, use only plain water.
Oct 15Reduce watering by about half, but not necessarily completely. A very slight shrivelling is acceptable, but no more.
Oct 15Allow night temperatures to be cooler than usual. If possible, increase light levels during the day.
Dec 1You should begin to see early bud development.
Maintain the treatment for several weeks, until buds are nearly ready to open.
Dec 21 (approx)Once buds are opening or close to being ready to open, you can phase slowly back to a normal fertilizing and watering routine.
This treatment is good for species and hybrids which bloom more easily such as the Yamamoto Nobile hybrids (among others).
NOTE : This approach will provide small flushes of flowers several times during the season. Some keiki development is also likely.


Subgroup : Ramblers

Covers these genera : Ceratostylis (Crtstl.) , Epigeneium (Epig.) , Eria (Eria)

Description :

Same as for Dendrobium, except :

  • Shorter species do better on mounts, whereas taller ones prefer (and are more stable in) shallow pans.
  • Shorter species are good terrarium candidates in the mid to upper levels.

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