(den-dro' bee-um)

Common name: Dendrobium

Family: Orchidaceae, Orchid

Height x width: 2-6' x 6-18"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: linear, lanceolate or ovate leaves 3-9" long, either at ends of stems or alternate 2-ranked; from elongated, stem-like pseudobulb "canes"; monopodial growth

Flowers: single directly from pseudobulb, or many-flowered 1-2' racemes or panicles from nodes along stems; flowers 1-3" across, 3 outer sepals, 3 inner petals with 2 often wider than sepals and one forming a tube with wide flared opening; many colors, often brightly marked; flowers last 1-2 months

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: cool to warm

Watering: well-watered, less when not in growth

Fertility: low

Humidity: humid

Soil: epiphytic or orchid slab

Pests and Problems: bacterial and fungal rots, viruses, leaf spots, botrytis gray mold, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs

Growth habit, uses: flowering indoors

Other interest: native from rainforests to montaine forests in India, Australia, Southeast Asia, South Pacific islands; from the Greek dendron meaning tree, and bios meaning life, refering to the epiphytic habit on trees of most species

Other culture: keep potbound for best flowering; flower stems may need support; they resent disturbance as in repotting; often easy to grow but difficult to flower indoors

Propagation: divide offsets when roots are actively growing and plants overrun container; stem cuttings laid on damp moss to root of some species


Of the about 900 species, the following are often recommended or found. All have racemes, usually pendent, unless noted. Habit can be evergreen (E), semi-evergreen (SE), or deciduous (D).
Species height foliage, length, habit flowers, width
amethystoglossum 2-3' oval-obong, 4", SE white racemes, amethyst lips
aphyllum 3' linear-lance, 5", D pink, yellow lips, in pairs
bigibbum 3' oblong-lance, 5", SE white/purple/pink
chrysanthum 3-6' lance, 4-8", E golden, fringed orange lips
densiflorum 1' narrow elliptic, 6", E golden, darker/downy lips, dense 
fimbriatum 2-4' oblong-lance, 3-6", E orange-golden, fringed lips
infundibulum 2' ovate-oblong, 3", SE white, yellow throat markings
kingianum 6" narrow ovate, 4", E white/pink/purple/red, fragrant
lindleyi 4" single oval, 2-3", E yellow
loddigesii 6" oblong, fleshy, 3", D rose, orange on fringed lip, single
longicornu 1' linear-lance, 3", SE white, red/yellow on fringed lip
moschatum 3-6' lance, 6", E pale yellow, 2-marked cupped lip
nobile 18" ovate-lance, 3-5", SE rose, maroon marked lip
ochreatum 6" lance, 4-5", D, hanging golden, maroon marked lip, in pairs
speciosum 18" ovate-oblong, 10", E white, purple marked, fragrant
wardianum 1' lance,3-5", D, hanging white, purple tips, marked lips, pairs

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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