The Q&A Archives: Care of Dendrobium Orchid

Question: I recieved an dendrobium orchid for Valentine's Day. It is potted in what looks like regular potting soil instead of bark chips, and it's in bloom now. The flowers are small and purple w/several on one stem.It stands about 1 foot high with two smaller shoots growing next to main plant. It said that it is a dendrobium variety. The one thing that I do know is, there are 1500 varieties of dendrobium! My question to you: Is the soil suitable for my orchid, and what other care do I need to give it. The plant was bought at Home Depot. Dawn Rose Warwick, RI

Answer: Dendrobium orchids are great for beginners because they are realtively carefree. Orchids need very well-drained medium to grow in, so I'd pot them in orchid soil mixed with bark chips. They also like to be crowded in the container, so don't repot to a larger size. Grow them in bright, filtered light (or under a grow light) for 10-15 hours per day, fertilize lightly during the growing season and keep the root medium moist. Temperatures should be about 70 during the day and 60 at night. Mist the plant daily, or increase humidity by placing the pot on a tray of pebbles to which you add tepid water every few days. Keep the water level in the tray below the base of the pot, or else the soil may become waterlogged, and cause root rot. Enjoy your orchid!

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