Logan and District Orchid Society  -  Dendrobium Orchids

Growing Dendrobium Orchids

Basic information for the novice grower

American Orchid Society Novice Culture Sheet

More in Depth sheets as follows

American Orchid Society Culture Sheet  

Australian Dendrobiums and their cultivation

Dendrobium Nobile & hybrid Culture (soft cane dendrobiums)

Australian Native Dendrobium Orchids (Werribee Orchid Club pdf sheet)

Care for Dedrobiums Bribie Island Orchid Society (multi source document)

Culture sheet for D. Biggibum, D. Nobile & Vappodes phalaenopsis

Charles & Margaret Baker published in AOS Bulletin

Introduction to Orchid Species Culture Climate Tables

Charles & Margaret Baker published in AOS Bulletin

Dockrillia & Dockrillia bowmanii

(Previously Australian Terete Dendrobiums)

Thelymitra ixioides

Spotted Sun Orchid


Dendrobium is a huge genus of orchids. It was established by Olof Swartz in 1799 and today contains about 1,200 species. The genus occurs in diverse habitats throughout much of south, east and southeast Asia, including China, Japan, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Guinea, Vietnam, and many of the islands of the Pacific.[1] The name is from the Greek dendron ("tree") and bios ("life"); it means "one who lives on trees", or, essentially, "epiphyte".


Dendrobium species are either epiphytic, or occasionally lithophytic. They have adapted to a wide variety of habitats, from the high altitudes in the Himalayan mountains to lowland tropical forests and even to the dry climate of the Australian desert.

This genus of sympodial orchids develop pseudobulbs, which vary in length from under a centimetre (e.g. Dendrobium leucocyanum) to several metres long (e.g. Dendrobium discolor), resembling canes. A few grow into long reed like stems. Leaf bases form sheaths that completely envelope the stem. In the section Formosae (e.g. Dendrobium infundibulum), the sheaths and undersides of leaves are covered with fine short black hairs. Other species (e.g. Dendrobium senile), are covered with fine white hairs.

In selected species, the short, ovate leaves grow alternately over the whole length of the stems, in others, the leaves are bunched towards the apex of the stem (e.g. Dendrobium tetragonum). The axillary inflorescence vary in length from insignificant to 1m long, and can carry from a few (1-4) (e.g. Dendrobium nobile) to as many as 100 (e.g. Dendrobium speciosum [syn.Thelychiton speciosus]) flowers. Deciduous species carry their leaves for one to two years then typically flower on leafless canes, while canes of evergreen species usually flower in the second year and can continue to flower for a number of years (e.g. Dendrobium densiflorum).

These orchids grow quickly throughout summer, but take a rest during winter. Dormant buds erupt into shoots from the base of the pseudobulb mainly in spring, and a few species in autumn. This is then followed by rapid growth of new roots. Reproduction is usually through seed, but a few species reproduce asexually through keikis produced along the stem, usually after flowering and sometimes as a result of injury to the growing tip.

Dendrobium Parishii

Photo credit :JoJan @WikiCommoms

Dendrobium biggibum

Sm. Vappodes phalaenopsis

Cooktown Orchid. Qld. State Flower.

Genus Vappodes (8 species) was separated from Dendrobiums in 2002

Debate still continues.

Photo credit: WikiCommons

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