The genus dendrobium has many sections but we are going over the nobile type, specifically. Dendrobiums are native to the far east and grow epiphytically on tree branches from the warm lowlands to the cool highlands up to 4000 feet. Kept dry, they can survive in winter down to 35 degrees. Most blooming occurs from February to April.
LIGHT – Dendrobiums require lots of light. No shade is required during the winter months and only about 30% shading is suggested during summer months. With this amount of light, good air circulation is a must to keep leaves from burning.
TEMPERATURE – Dendrobiums prefer temperatures ranging from 55 – 85 degrees. Lower temps around 50 degrees for about a month are needed to initiate flowering. Try placing the plants in a cool window or outside to initiate flowering. Stagnant air should be avoided with all orchids.
WATER – A direct relationship exists between temperature, light, and watering. As temps begin to rise in the spring, watering should be gradually increased. In the warm summer months, water frequently to keep plants from drying. As temps decline during the fall, reduce watering. During the cold winter months, water only enough to keep the canes from shriveling – about 2 or 3 times a month. Water temps should feel tepid to the touch.
FERTILIZER – Use fertilizer sparingly with all orchids. Use a high nitrogen mix to initiate plant growth. If potted in a bark mix, use 30-10-10. Withhold all fertilizer in winter.
POTTING – Do not overpot dendrobiums. To maintain healthy roots, the plants usually appear to be in too small a pot. Bark mixed with charcoal, sphagnum moss. osmunda and tree fern can all be used as a potting media.