Dendrobium is a genus of about 1200 species in the orchid family (Orchidaceae), which are native to Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. They either grow on trees (epiphytes) or on rocks (lithophytes). At Flowers by the Sea, we grow Australian lithophyte Dendrobiums. In their native environment, they thrive in bright shade to full sun on rocky river canyon walls where ambient moisture is plentiful. On our farm, we can also grow them in full sun as long as we provide supplemental misting. However, we find that a setting with partial shade -- and perhaps some hours of full shade -- is better for keeping them hydrated, especially in a time of low humidity. One way to know whether your Dendrobium is receiving sufficient sunlight is by a light yellowish green leaf color; deep green indicates too much shade.
We maintain a cool growing environment for our Dendrobiums at a range of 40 to 85 degrees F. However, when humidity is high in their growing environment, these lovely yet tough plants can survive a brush with frost or temperatures up to 100 degrees F. USDA Plant Hardiness Zones with moderate winter temperatures, such as Zone 9 and beyond, are fine for growing these orchids outdoors in containers or on cork slabs or wood plaques in a sheltered, shady location.
FBTS Dendrobiums are native to southern and central eastern Australia. Their rhizome-type roots cling to crevices in damp cliffs and boulders, transporting water into storage in thick cane-like stalks called pseudobulbs that help the plants survive during dry times. Mosses and other rock plants clustered around the pseudobulbs help conserve moisture. In the wild, decaying organic matter -- such as from their own plant parts -- natural rainfall provide nutrients for growth. In cultivation, it's necessary to manage the quantity of mineral solids in irrigation water to limit the potential of salts damage. However, it's also important not to use water that is processed so as to remove all important nutrients, such as calcium. As to fertilizer, follow a standard orchid regimen for Dendrobiums, which are heavy feeders during their seasonal growth.
Lithophytic Dendrobiums need humidity, filtered sunlight and good air circulation. They should be grown in a rock mixture that may also contain orchid bark or coir chunks, because it mimics their natural growing conditions of these plants. FBTS plants and ships Dendrobiums in rock-filled terra cotta pots for sharp drainage.Dendrobium Care Guide
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