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Care Instructions for a Dendrobium

These care instructions are written specifically for our dendrobium orchids.  Other growers may have different care requirements for their plants based on how they have grown their dendrobiums.  But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids dendrobium, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.

Rule No. 1:  Dendrobiums like to be kept lightly moist at all times when actively growing.  When the growth is mature and no longer active, let the plant just dry between waterings.  When mature, let the potting mix dry ¼ to 1/3 of the way down into the pot before watering.  When in active growth, let just the very top of the potting mix dry between waterings.  To properly water your plant, take the pot to the sink and water the pot with tepid water until water is pouring out the drainage holes.  No one likes a cold shower.  Let the plant stand and drain thoroughly.

Rule No. 2:  Proper light is very important for flower production.  Your plant should be naturally erect and a medium olive or grass green color.  An East, West, or lightly shaded South-facing window will be just fine.  While dendrobiums enjoy a lot of light, I would still avoid direct sun during the harshest “skin cancer” hours.

Rule No. 3:  Regular meals all year long, please.  Your orchid does not really go fully dormant.  When not full of buds and blooms, your orchid is growing roots, canes, and leaves so it will have the energy to put out more blooms the next cycle.  Feed your plant every other watering with a balanced (20-20-20) plant fertilizer mixed at ½ strength or a balanced orchid fertilizer.

Rule No. 4:  Your plant is potted in an orchid bark blend.  Dendrobiums really like ample drainage and a mix with a lot of aeration.  Repot your plant every other spring; increasing the pot size just enough to fit the new root growth into the pot.  Moisten the mix prior to use.  Pot the plant so that the mix is firm but still airy.  Dendrobiums like to live in pots that look ridiculously small for the plant’s size.  Keep the plant in a pot that is “clown car small” compared to the height of the plant.

Rule No.  5:  This is more of a reassurance than a rule.  Some dendrobiums lose all their leaves at certain points in their bloom/growth process.  Don’t panic.  If you have one of these dendrobiums, you have not killed your plant.  It is a natural cycle.