General culture for DenPhal, Antelope and Nigro-Hirsute type Dendrobium orchids.
Dendrobiums belong to a diverse genus, consisting of numerous evergreen, semi-deciduous, and deciduous species. This information is for Phalaenopsis (DenPhals) or Antelope types (tall, thin canes, flowering on sprays from the tops), and Nigro-Hirsute types (fine dark hairs on canes, flowers direct from canes).
Temperature: Dendrobiums can withstand hot weather if adequate ventilation and humidity are provided. They do best when the temperature is between 65 °F and 75 °F in the day and between 55 °F to 60 °F at night.
Humidity and Ventilation: A minimum humidity of 50% is generally best, although this can vary without harm. In a home environment, Dendrobium appreciate a morning mist, or sitting on the grid of a humidity tray. Air movement essential at all times, but especially critical when the humidity is very high. Dendrobium love to go outside in the summer.. especially on the East Coast where our humidity is always high! Natural breeze provide good air circulation.
Light: Dendrobium need an abundance of light, and can withstand direct sun on their leaves early in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening. They must be weaned into direct sun, however, or their leaves will sunburn badly. Try to avoid any type of mid-day sun directly on their leaves. A lightly shaded South window is best. East or West facing windows are satisfactory if bright, but plant is protected from direct midday sun.
Watering and Feeding: Dendrobiums like to be pot bound, so you will often see plants in pots substantially smaller than the plant itself! Because of this, they often need to be watered more frequently than other orchids. Note that they want to dry out completely between watering, and never to stay soggy! Fertilize half strength with a balanced orchid fertilizer, such as Dyna Gro ‘Orchid Pro’ weekly in the late spring and summer, and every two to three weeks from fall to late winter.
Pests: Dendrobium suffer from the same pests as other orchids. Slugs and snails can be controlled with products containing Metaldehyde such as Deadline or Slug & Snail Bait. Mealy bugs and scale can be easily controlled with a regular spraying of a Ultra-Fine Horticultural Oil mix, which smothers bugs and their eggs quite effectively!
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