Dendrobium Orchids – Do You Make These 4 Mistakes With Dendrobiums?

Dendrobium Orchid CareDendrobiums are one of the largest species of orchids with over 1,200 genera spreading all over the world. As such, when choosing to grow them, many orchid growers cannot avoid making mistakes that are common to a large variety of species.

Because of its large selection, the ones grown in cultivation have been classified into two more specific types, the evergreens and the deciduous plants. These two types are quite different from each other, but both of them can be grown successfully in greenhouses or other such structures.

When choosing dendrobiums, the deciduous type are considered better for beginners because they are tougher and more resilient to beginners’ mistakes compared to evergreens. On the other hand evergreens, when confined in greenhouses and similar places, are very easy to grow as long as the proper climatic conditions are met.

Dendrobiums in general need high moisture content and have intermediate light requirements. During the growth season they are best kept under shaded areas where the sun can sufficiently provide them with light at certain times of the day.

To further help you with the successful cultivation of these orchids, here are the 4 most common mistakes that orchid growers make when growing dendrobiums.

Sleeping Orchids

During winter, deciduous dendrobiums go into a sort of hibernation. They slowly lose their leaves and seem to look dead but are very much alive. Most orchid growers call this period of rest dormancy or ripening period.

At this very crucial time, the first mistake happens. The usual requirement for a growing dendrobium is plenty of humidity and medium sunlight. This will ensure that the plant will provide plenty of thriving flowers when the time comes. But during winter, orchid growers mistakenly treat them the same way. You should not do this!

Dendrobiums in their ripening period actually have very different requirements. During this time they should be exposed to as much sunlight as they can stand. Never place them in areas where they are shaded and away from sunlight. Its usual place when it was still awake will not be sufficient anymore to keep it alive. Try to place them beside windows or anywhere sunlight can reach them.

Another thing to remember is the humidity levels. During this period, dendrobiums do not need a lot of moisture. Very little water will be enough to keep their roots alive. Also keep in mind that their roots constantly need plenty of air circulation so you should place them where there is a lot of fresh air. If you follow these crucial tips then you are sure to have healthy pseudobulbs in the spring.

Baby Orchids

The second mistake that orchid growers make is when trying to propagate and flower dendrobiums. Evergreens and deciduous dendrobiums act very differently than each other when it comes to propagation. Treating them similarly is not a very good idea and can even cause their flowers to not bloom.

Evergreens are more lenient compared to deciduous plants when propagating. Evergreens can produce new growths without affecting their blooming cycle. On the other hand, deciduous pseudobulbs can only produce flowers once.

In order to successfully propagate evergreens without affecting its flowers, be attentive. As soon as its flowers shed, immediately cut the stem at the bottom where there are new shoots. Cut them into two or more divisions, then pot them. Be sure though that the stems you collected have two or more pseudobulbs. And never throw away the old pseudobulbs because they can still produce flowers the following year.

While deciduous dendrobiums’ old pseudobulbs may be cut into several pieces and potted in order to propagate after flowering, be sure that the cuttings have one or two nodes each. Pot them on moist sand and place them somewhere humid, warm and shaded.

Making the Cut

This next mistake is also about the propagation of deciduous dendribiums. Sometimes because of the season of the year the nodes of the cuttings have difficulty growing new plants. To avoid this, orchid growers usually choose spring time to grow new plants to take advantage of the season.

But when orchid growers decide to do this outside of spring, they can use a different technique that will ensure new growth at its nodes. This is done with the help of growth hormones.

When handling other plants, you usually dip the bottom part of the cut in hormone powder to stimulate root growth. In the case of these orchids, you have to do the opposite. You must dip the top end of the cuttings instead of the bottom. Orchids produce new growths first, and then the roots will develop right after.

Size Matters

The final mistake you should be aware of happens when potting dendribiums. Choosing the correct size of pot to use is a critical part of growing these orchids. Among all orchids, dendribiums are described as having the thinnest and least extensive roots.

This means that large pots are a big no-no. If you can, find and use the smallest pot that it can fit into. A smaller pot is more desirable because its roots can thrive better.

After its flowering year you can replace the pot and choose the next best container that can fit its new size.

Dendrobiums are a great choice. Sure, they may be more work for you, but once you learn the simple do’s and don’ts growing them will be a walk in the park.

To learn the complete ins and outs of growing dendrobium orchids, and take your orchid growing to the next level, download your copy of the Amazon best seller: Dendrobium Orchid Care: The Ultimate Pocket Guide to Cattleya Orchids

Your Comments

30 Comments so far

  1. carrie says:

    excellent newletter since i have dendrobuiums. always glad to learn new ways to take care of them

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Carrie! Thanks for the kind words. Glad to have you as a subscriber and glad we could help. Feel free to pass these articles along to your orchid-loving friends, too! 🙂

      Mary Ann
      P.S. We just added a big Dendrobium training inside our “”. If you’re not a member yet, you might want to check that out also! We’ve got a LOT of advanced orchid care training in there, too.

  2. laoi says:

    So, can I conclude that Evergreen dendro needs no rest period while ddeciduous needs it?


  3. Elizabeth says:

    brilliant just what we were looking for and at the right time

    Many thanks

  4. Baldwin Hosin says:

    Thanks very much Mary you have been more than a help to me in taking care of my little beauties. Keep up the good work may the good lord continue to bless you.

  5. meera says:

    Excellent Article ! Mary, your inputs are really helping me.Can you give us more tips on initiating flowering ?

  6. Gbone says:

    Dear Mary Ann,

    Thanks for these very useful tips.


  7. Giny99 says:

    I recently found a dendrobium on the brink of death. It had been left and neglected at our office window for i dong know how long. The stems are bare and pretty dried. Most of the roots are dried except for two or three short ones that are at most 1 inches long. I’ve just become an orchid enthusiast so I would like save this orchid if I can. I know it’s bleak but i would like to use this as a learning experience and was wondering if you have any advice.

  8. merle jane says:

    thanks for the greats tips as i am just starting out with orchids and need all the help i can get thanks again

  9. Annie says:

    Hi,Tanks for the wonderful info! How do I know if I have an Evergreen dendrobium or a ddeciduous dendrobium? Thank you soooo much! 🙂 Annie

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Annie, You’re welcome. Thanks for visiting us. Evergreen dendrobiums, like it sounds, bloom throughout the year. Deciduous dendrobiums have a dormant period in between blooming. Also deciduous dendrobiums lose their leaves before blooming, but evergreen ones do not. – Mary Ann

  10. ami says:

    Great info. Many Thanks to you for giving these. Very useful to me. Hope to see more stuff like this. Take Care!

  11. valerie hollingshead says:

    my beautiful white multistemmed plant has just finished flowering. It was amazing for weeks. I keep it in the conservatory. It was bought for mein full flower a year ago in May. Can you please tell me what I should do now the flowers have faded do I cut it back and how Thankyou

  12. Kath says:

    Thankyou very much for all this very helpfull information Mary. I have only had orchids since Jan 2015 & had lots given to me by family. Some we don,t know what they are!
    I bought 8 beautiful dens which are den / phals but have others that were given which have a thicker stem than the den / phals, they have green leaves still..please do these need resting? Thankyou once again, Kath

    • Mary Ann says:

      Kath – I’m not really sure. If the thick stems are a type of dendrobium, they usually need a resting period. – Mary Ann

  13. Kath says:

    I live in northern Western Australia & was told the den/phals do not need a rest…all a bit confusing, lol….one of the den/phals today has a new shoot, it is also still in flower so guessing I do not rest it? Thanks Mary Ann, you give good info.. Kath….ps…many tell me we cannot get cymbidiums to flower in Geraldton. I am thrilled to have two plants with buds getting ready to open. Must be doing something right!

    • Mary Ann says:

      Ok – if they are all the hybrids, then that is correct. I wasn’t sure if you had just pure dendrobiums as well. Sounds like you are doing well! 🙂 – Mary Ann

  14. Amanda says:

    I had a dendrobium kinganiam it was doing great putting new shoots and the leaves were green and thick I had it hanging bare root in a plastic with a lot of air flow and watered and let it dry out , however I added bark and the new shoot died so I figured it needed light then moved it near a sunny window to get light and it started to die back, soon as fall came in and the temperature drop the top of it looks dead now leaves have died back to a stale green brown color and so have the top portion of the stem, how ever the bottom half of the den is perfect fully green and thriving and the roots are healthy and still growing perfectly fine, but the plant looks dead so I’m confused is it resting? What should I do ! Thanks for your help

    • Mary Ann says:

      This plant likes a lot of ventilation. I’m not sure where or how you added the bark, but I’m wondering if you restricted the ventilation of the plant. It does also have a dormant period from late fall to winter in the northern hemisphere, so that could be playing a part as well. Here’s a repotting video that is very good. Thank you! – Mary Ann

  15. Mike Yamamoto says:

    Hi, What is the name of the dendrobium cultivar on the top of this page? Thank-you.


    • Mary Ann says:

      I’m not sure what kind that one is other than a dendrobium. Someone else gave me that picture, and I can’t remember what it is. I apologize. – Mary Ann

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