Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dendrobium Orchid Blooms

I love Dendrobiums, mostly because they are the orchid that I have finally figured out.  I can get them to bloom, or at least the Dendrobium nobile types.  Since moving to British Columbia, I have had better access to orchid vendors and have collected a couple more varieties of Dendrobium and am hoping for more success.

Essentially, these orchids needs regular water and orchid fertilizer all spring and summer, with very limited water and no fertilizer after October.  I put little signs on my orchids to remind myself of this.  "Don't water me".  It also helps to have the plants in a cooler location for a month in the fall season.  Mine are in a heated greenhouse, where temperatures drop to 14 degrees C (57 degrees F) at night.  I previously have had success placing them near a large and poorly-sealed window in an older house.  A bay window or sunroom might work for this purpose.  

Within a few months, small round buds appear along the length of the stems.  If you fertilize at this point, the buds grow into tiny plants, complete with roots, if you leave them long enough.  These are keikis and can sliced off the mother plant and be potted up as new plants.
Keiki on my Dendrobium
However, if you don't fertilize, these buds grow into flowers.  Once the flower buds appear, you can give the usual regular watering, so that they flower buds don't dry up and die (I have made that mistake before too).
Dendrobium nobile "Angel Smile" in bloom, February 23, 2016
I keep one plant (a smaller one that would not make a great deal of blooms anyhow) to make the keikis, thus generating around 3 to 4 new baby plants each year.  This lends itself to distributing new plants to any interested friends.

This orchid likes bright light and tolerates cool to quite warm temperatures in the greenhouse.  I give mine supplemental pinkish LED light in the greenhouse (which makes up for our short winter days).  However, I have grown these before in a bright sunny indoor spot too, so you don't need a greenhouse.  Generally, I think this orchid is quite easy to grow.  It is a pity they are not often sold at local garden stores. 

This website also has more detailed care instructions: http://www.akatsukaorchid.com/store/pg/29-Dendrobium-Nobile-Care.aspx

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your move, and welcome to BC! I just wanted to tell you that I use to live in the remote north of BC and I would read your blog, for inspiration, hope that I could grow something that you had, it gave me faith and saved me from feeling the horrible winter blues many a times! Thank you for continuing your new blog - I moved too, going from a zone 2 to zone 7 - I cant get over what I can grow now. Good luck with your orchids - I use to have an assorted collection of 70 or so - they are amazing and beautiful!