That of Dendrobium it is a genus of plants that almost always finds its origins in East Asia, from the Pacific to the Himalayas, Australia and New Zealand. It is called this because it derives from the Greek, from the words “dendro”, which means “trunk, tree” and from the word “bios” which means “life”. It is about epiphytic orchids but that at times they can also behave as lithophytes or as terrestrials.
There are nearly a thousand species that are part of this genus of plants, one of the most numerous in the large orchid family, and for this you can find a great variety. There are some plants that grow at sea level, others instead that sprout at high altitudes, up to over 3,500 meters of altitude. There is not a single climate suitable for Dendrobium but different, always with the variation of the species, some prefer the temperate ones, others the tropical ones.
Even when it comes to growing a Dendrobium, it is very important to know which species it belongs to in order to understand how to treat it. There are also Dendrobium very large or very small, even just a few centimeters, and with colors that can vary in the whole range of possible shades. Let's not forget that there are also numerous hybrids to take into account.
How is it possible to describe the appearance of plants of this genus when they are so different from each other? There are even some evergreen species and others not, some with groups of leaves, others with single leaves. However, there is one element that unites all these very different plants, it is the keiki which are formed both at the height of the nodes and at the base of the stem. It is, for those who do not know, of new orchid seedlings which can also be detached and repotted, if they are expected to grow sufficiently.
We have seen that this term comes from the Greek but we have not said that it was assigned to this plant Olaf Swartz in 1799 which at the time counted only 19 species in this genus.
Another character that links his name to that of this genus of orchids is Jiro Yamamoto, a very good hybridizer. He is a Japanese enthusiast who works in Hawaii and creates very famous and appreciated hybrids, especially for the wonderful colors he manages to obtain.
Dendrobium grows in Australia, too, and has even become theQueensland floral emblem (Australia) from 1959. We also find it on the 25 cent Australian stamp published on 10 July 1968, designed by R. and P. Warner and in the $ 1.20 one, also Australian designed by Cathleen Cram with illustrations by the artist Clare Kaegi.
Even if they have a reputation for being difficult to grow orchids, it is worth trying because it is not an impossible task and, if you learn how to do it, you can get great satisfaction.
The first thing to do is to find out about the species to which it belongs and start from it to identify the cultivation needs. Since these are plants that come from very different climates you know ours, we will have to reproduce some ad hoc climatic conditions inside our apartment to make the plants feel at ease.
In most cases i Dendrobium they have a very fast vegetative period so they grow very quickly with regards to leaves and branches, while when it comes to flowering, they are much slower. The same goes for seed production.
In winter these orchids go into vegetative rest and use the reserves stored in the pseudobulbs during the phase of full development. To better understand how to behave in cultivating i Dendrobium, 6 groups have been created, each with particular needs, however there are some general indications that we mention below.
The best time to water these flowers is in the morning, so that there is time for the leaves to dry before night. It is important not to have gods formed water stagnation but at the same time make sure that the environment remains humid, for example by using a saucer with expanded clay or gravel and spraying the leaves once a day.
There fertilization it is essential because it provides the plant with the necessary nutrients. Better to combine the fertilizer with the irrigation water and wet the substrate well before proceeding. Sooner or later the time for repotting also arrives and it is a very delicate operation, to be performed carefully. Before moving the plant, let's wet the roots so that it is easier to move them without breaking them. When we move the plant, let's take the opportunity to clean it from roots and dead branches but every cut surface must be treated with fungicidal powders to prevent parasites or diseases from arriving.
When we move the plant, we make sure that there is some space between the edges of the pot and the roots so that we don't have to repot every year. In the new vase the orchid it must be positioned where it will not be hit by direct sunlight and where it is not likely to suffer from jump in temperature.