Dendrobium species care – Different care for different Dendrobium species


Dendrobium is Asian and Australian genus, and also dwells on many Pacific Ocean islands. Dendrobium orchids grow naturally in diverse ecosystems – from warm rainforests to cold Himalayan mounts and dry Australian deserts. Given the fact that they live in so different biomes, Dendrobium is one of the most diverse orchid genera and because of it they are divided into different groups, according to their specific demands. They are divided to cold, intermediate and warm-growing, and they can also be divided to ones who need a cold dry rest period, and ones who do not need it.

The orchids that vendors sold are actually complex hybrids and some of this complex hybrids do not actually require such cold and dry dormancy, as they have some warm-group Dendrobiums in their pedigree. hybrids are much more easy to grow than species Dendrobiums, and within species, the warm group is easiest to grow.

Dendrobium nobile, Dendrobium phalaenopsis, and Dendrobium bigibbum are three popularly grown Dendrobium species which have been used extensively in hybridizing. These species and their hybrids are often added to collections without the grower being aware of their very different cultural requirements. We hope that a knowledge of the climatic conditions in the three habitats will help growers decide whether they can provide the conditions needed to grow and bloom these species and many of their hybrids.

A few general facts about the large and varied genus Dendrobium might help growers understand the difficulty in trying to apply generalizations to so many species. D. nobile was once used extensively in hybridizing with 77 hybrids registered in which it was a parent. The most commonly used parents in recent registrations, however, have been the Australian species D. phalaenopsis and the closely related D. bigibbum.

Cold Dendrobium species

Cold-growing species are Dendrobium wattii, Dendrobium wangliangii, Dendrobium vonroemeri, Dendrobium vexillarius, Dendrobium vannouhuysii, Dendrobium sutepense, Dendrobium sulphureum, Dendrobium subclausum, Dendrobium stellar, Dendrobium sinominutiflorum, Dendrobium sculptum, Dendrobium rupestre, Dendrobium putnamii, Dendrobium piranha, Dendrobium otaguroanum, Dendrobium cuthbertsonii. They cannot tolerate warmth for long periods of time and need to grow at cool all year round, as they are mostly mountain miniature to medium-sized species. The best way to grow them is mounting on slabs because at cool conditions roots are very prone to rotting. Mounting is the best way to keep roots of these Dendrobiums healthy.

Intermediate-temperature species

The second group is intermediate growing Dendrobiums, such as Dendrobium kingianum, Dendrobium nobile, Dendrobium crassifolium, Dendrobium crassicaule, Dendrobium amethystoglossum, Dendrobium gnomus, Dendrobium harveyanum, Dendrobium loddigesii, Dendrobium longicornu. All of them prefer intermediate temperature, half to full sun and moderate watering. Some representatives of this group need cold and dry dormancy to develop flower buds. For instance, popular Dendrobium nobile, Dendrobium kingianum and Dendrobium loddigesii produce keikis instead of flowers if not provided with cool temperatures , but they prefer intermediate temperatures when they are vegetating.

Warm Dendrobiums species

The third group is so called warm Dendrobiums – well known Dendrobium phalaenopsis, Dendrobium speciosum, Dendrobium spectabile, Dendrobium tangerinum, Dendrobium taurinum, Dendrobium transparens, Dendrobium truncatum, Dendrobium unicum need warm grow conditions. Some of them such as Dendrobium phalaenopsis and spectacular Dendrobium spectabile need year-round hot to warm temperatures, but deciduous Dendrobium unicum needs cold and dry rest in winter but warm temperatures at summer. Most warm species normally grow in pots, but Dendrobium unicum suits better to be mounted on a slab.


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Acriopsis (chandelier orchids)

Acriopsis liliifolia

Acriopsis liliifolia var liliifolia

The genus consists of 9 recognized species. The name ‘Acriopsis’ is derived because it resembles the shape of a locust.

They grow mainly in low, humid rainforests, sometimes ascending to medium altitudes. Their roots have specialised roots which grow from them up through the air and make branches which feed on litter and other debris.

Light Preference :
Semi-Shade (It is best grown under 70% light. )

Moderate shade and humidity as well as hot to warm conditions are required with a dry period when not growing and then ample water while in growth to have this epiphytic orchid bloom in the spring and summer on a basal

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Dyakia hendersoniana sp

Dyakia hendersoniana

A genus of orchids. It contains only one species, Dyakia hendersoniana

Dyakia is a genus of orchids. It contains only one species, Dyakia hendersoniana, endemic to the Island of Borneo.


Light:- This plant prefers low to medium light. This plant also does well under artificial lights. Grow from 12 to 18 inches from fluorescent tubes.

Humidity:- 50% or higher is ideal. When growing on a slab, keep the humidity as high as possible.

Water:- This plant should be misted or watered every morning when growing on a slab. When growing in a pot, water as the mix approaches dryness

This plant flowers in the spring to summer months. Each flower stem produces about 15 to 30 miniature salmon pink flowers.


Repot this plant once a year in a net or clay pot using New Zealand sphagnum moss. These can be slab mounted as well.When growing on a slab, repotting is not necessary unless the slab develops a salt like coating on it.

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Trichoglottis (Trgl)

Trichoglottis Brachiata Sp.

Trichoglottis Brachiata

In this  genus contains about 60 species found mostly in Southeast Asia (Indochina, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.) with a few species in China, the Indian Subcontinent, and various islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
All the Trichoglottis grow well either in a bushhouse or outdoors, with broken sunlight and protection from direct hot sunlight. The climbers need something to clamber up, and can be kept manageable by cutting tops and replanting at the base of the support for a specimen clump.

Temperature :-   Warm to intermediate.
Light:- no direct sun.
Humidity:- even moisture and high humidity. Constant air movement is also important.

Trichovanda Thai Velvet 'Meechai'

Trichovanda Thai Velvet ‘Meechai’

                                          (cross of Trichoglottis brachiata x Vanda Kinzweiler)

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Chiloschista Orchids


Chiloschista (Chsch) in the horticultural trade, is a genus of orchids, comprising 20 currently recognized species native to China, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Australia, Fiji and Micronesia.

Unlike the majority of orchids, they tend to be leafless or with only a few occasional leaves, being composed principally of aerial roots equipped with photosynthetic cells.

this genus is listed as a leafless epiphyte. In reality, however, some species produce leaves, although the leaves are caducous (shed at an early stage of development).

Because these plants have no leaves, the photosynthesis normally performed in the leaves is done in the roots. Therefore, the roots must be grown exposed to sunlight. Plants are usually mounted on small tree branches.
Temperature:- Minimum temperature(15-18C)

Light moderate shade (60-70%)

Water-Humidity: High humidity; while in active growth, plenty of water – allow to dry between waterings.


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Best Fragrant orchids


  1. Oncidium Sharry Baby

The fragrance of the Sharry Baby is what makes it magnificent and much sought after. It bears a remarkable resemblance with chocolate, though some people describe it as milk chocolate, or vanilla chocolate. In any case, it is one of the very few orchids that bear this unique fragrance, so it is a must for any fragrant orchid collection.

The Sharry Baby releases fragrance during the day time and is not fragrant at night. It can take 2 or 3 days for the fragrance to develop once a flower opens and the smell is quite powerful,

There are several varieties of the Sharry Baby, the most popular one being the ‘Sweet Fragrance’ variety which was awarded with AM/AOS. It is said that this is the most fragrant of all varieties.

2) Cycnodes Wine Delight

The blooms are very fragrant, the intensity of the scent can become overwhelming if kept in a small room. The fragrance is sharp, clean and slightly minty, reminding of medicine. Some people suggest it can remind of cherries, but overall the fragrance can be quite pleasant.

The scent is more noticeable in the morning hours, while in the afternoon it completely fades away.

3) Rhynchorides  Bangkok Sunset.

The flowers are moderately fragrant, smelling floral and clean. There is nothing bothering about the fragrance and can only be described as a refreshing, floral scent. This orchid releases its fragrance mainly in the first part of the day, towards the evening and night it slowly fades away.

4) The Sedirea japonica species

Is a popular fragrant species, smelling clean and fresh of delicious lemon pie. It is a bit sweet so it’s quite enjoyable, but you definitely think of lemon fruit when you smell it.

5) Rhynchostylis gigantea species

This orchid species has large flowers that give off a very powerful citrus smell.

6) Oncidium Twinkle Fragrance Fantasy

Another Oncidium hybrid. This one produces a strong and spicy vanilla scent.

7) Angranthes Grandalena

The flowers are beautiful with an icy green appearance. Very fragrant both day and night.

8) Brassavola nodosa

known as “Lady-of-the-Night,” orchid. This orchid has beautiful white flowers that are said to smell of a strong freesia or lily-of-the-valley scent

9) Miltoniopsis santanaei

This small orchid has beautiful white flowers that emit a wonderful rose smell.

10) Phalaenopsis violacea

This small beautiful orchid is said to emit a spicy cinnamon smell.

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cattley intermedia

cattleya intermedia

cattley intermedia var alba

cattleya intermedia var alba

Alba refers to a plant lacking in coloring pigments, meaning it will be white or green or yellow  in a plant in which the type species has color.

cattleya intermedia Var Semi alba

cattleya intermedia Var Semi alba

Semi-alba is used to refer to a flower lacking colouring pigments, but the lip still is colored.

C. intermedia var. coerulea

C. intermedia var. coerulea

Coerulea refers to bluish tones.

Cattleya intermedia var. aquinii also known as var. flamea

aquinii means there is collation in the petals mimicking that of the lip. It is also referred-to as “flared”.

Cattleya intermedia var orlata

Cattleya intermedia var orlata

var orlata means flower lip’s trim or border also coloured

For to know the diversity of flower colour change check Color forms of Laelia purpurata

Typical plants (“Tipo”) have white petals and sepals, blushed pink. The pink can be lighter or darker. The lip is purple, and this purple lip is dominant in hybrids.

Concolors are always pink; they have pink lips, petals and sepals. The lip can be darker than the petals and sepals.

Whites have pure white petals and sepals, with no hint of color. Albas have pink in the throat, but not farther out in the lip. Semi-albas have purple lips. Atro has a very dark lip. Virginalis is pure white, with no hint of pink nor purple.

Blues have several forms. The coerulea we are familiar with is called Ardosa in Brazil. A brighter blue is called Roxo-violeta in southern Brazil, and Aco in the north. Werkhauserii is an unusual grayish blue that is found in no other orchid. For years it was unavailable outside Brazil, or inside, for that matter.

Carnea has a raspberry- or strawberry-colored lip. These plants used to have lighter lips but are being bred for darker lips.

Russelliana or Suave has a pale pink lip, paler than Carnea.

Roxo-bispo occurs only in Santa Catarina state. It has pure white tepals, and a pink-purple lip the color of a Roman Catholic bishop’s ceremonial robes.

Vinicolor or bordeaux is a red wine color. This is a very rare color, so flower form is not as important when judging.

Rubra has strongly-colored petals and sepals, and a red lip.

Sanguinea is a very dark red.

Anelata has a white lip with a narrow ring of color near the edge. The lip can have any color.

Argolao has a white lip with a ring of color up to 1/3 the lip width. The lip can have any color.

Marginata has a very dark rim on a white lip. The lip can have any color.

Oculata has a white patch at the tip of the lip, separating the color on the rim. If this white spot did not exist, it would be a Marginata. The lip can have any color.

Mandayana has no grooves in the jaws of color in the throat.

Flamea has patches, of any color, that radiate out along the petals and sepals, against a lighter background, looking like flames.

Striata has unbranched lines or stripes, of any color, that radiate out along the petals and sepals, against a lighter background.

Venosa is similar to Striata, except the stripes branch as they radiate outwards.

Werckhauserii striata is found in nature.


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Alba and semi-Alba

Alba refers to a plant lacking in coloring pigments, meaning it will be white and/or green in a plant in which the type species has color.
Semi-alba is used to refer to a flower mostly meeting those same criteria, but the lip still is colored.

Example  Dendrobium parishii

Dendrobium parishii

Dendrobium parishii  (Normal Form has colour)

dendrobium parishii alba

Dendrobium parishii  -Var alba

(refers to a plant lacking in coloring pigments, )

Den. parishii var. semi-alba.

Dendrobium parishii  -Var Semi alba

( Semi-alba is used to refer to a flower lacking colouring pigments, but the lip still is colored.)

Dendrobium parishii semi alba Black pearl

Dendrobium parishii  Var semi alba “Black pearl”

( Semi-alba is used to refer to a flower lacking colouring pigments, but the lip still is colored In this case lip is another colour.)


seidenfadenia-mitrata ( Normal Form has colour )


seidenfadenia-mitrata var-alba

(refers to a plant lacking in coloring pigments, )

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Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis


Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis

Bulbophyllum phalaenopsis, a rare species has very wide Phalaenopsis-like leaves. The flowers are very unusual in that they are carrion scented and smell of rotting flesh. Fortunately you have to get fairly close to the flowers to catch the scent. This orchid is easy to grow and would be treated as a phalaenopsis for culture.

Low to medium as for Phalaenopsis. Bright diffused light is best. Too much light will cause an intense reddening of the foliage.

50% or higher is ideal.

Do not allow it to become completely dry between watering.


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The Most Expensive Orchid in the world


Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid (species: Paphiopedilum rothschildianum) from Kinabalu Park (commonly known as the Gold of Kinabalu orchid). Also locally known as Sumazau Orchid, because the long sweeping side petals of flower look like the outspread arms of dancer of Sumazau, the most popular traditional dance of Sabah.

Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid only grows on the slope of Mt. Kinabalu between 500 and 1,200 Meters in altitude. Most local villagers and orchid smugglers know this and steal the flower, making them vulnerable to extinction.

why Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid, “the aristocrat of all slipper orchids”, is so expensive.

1) The Rothschild’s orchid is only native to Kinabalu National Park in Malaysia. This strain of the orchid species is scarce even there so it is protected by the government.

2) This specific species of orchid was not discovered until 1987 and the flower only grows on the slope of Mt. Kinabalu between 500 and 1,200 meters in altitude.

3)Since the plant is endangered and protected by the Malaysia government it is illegal to pick. The plant is only available from smugglers on the black market at a price of up to $5,000 per stolen stem.

4) The flower itself can take up to 15 years to take bloom. This is one reason they are so rare, and even at Kinabalu National Park in Malaysia they are extremely difficult to find.

5)It’s beautiful too!!

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