The name is from the Greek ‘dendron’, which means ‘tree’, and ‘bios’ which means ‘life’, because it is an epiphyte and grows on the branches of other trees. Their pleasing appearance and bright colours have made them very popular as a cut-flower and they are used in flower arrangements across the world.
Dendrobiums are highly adaptive plants and have been found to grow in a wide variety of habitats, including high altitudes in the Himalayan Mountains, lowland tropical forests and the dry climate of Australia’s deserts.
Ranging from pale pink to deep red, there are a variety of colours in the Dendrobium species. Typically, they have small rounded petals and can grow up to 60 cm in height.
Dendrobium can bloom throughout the year and the spike can be encouraged to flower if you drop the temperature of the water and keep it cool at night.
Dendrobium is one of the largest genus of orchids and includes around 1,200 species. It is found mostly in south, east and south-east Asia, the Philippines, Borneo, Australia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Zealand.
Dendrobiums require well-drained soil and small pots to begin with. As the orchid grows you will have to repot once the soil becomes full of roots. Depending on where your Dendrobium comes from in the world will depend on its care, so remember to ask when you buy them.
Did you know?
- Some Dendrobium species are grown as medical plants and the Noble Dendrobium (D. nobile) is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as shí hú or shí hú lán.
- If your Dendrobium cane loses all of its leaves, don’t cut it or throw it away. Sometimes they will still flower without any foliage.
- Dendrobiums are a great orchid species to start with if you are new to growing orchids. They are fairly resistant to temperature changes and can flourish in cooler weather.