One huge family of orchids that is often overlooked by home orchid growers is the Dendrobium family. This family is extremely diverse and very widespread in Asia and while some might not be suitable for your collection, other definitely are.
I will describe a few that I have enjoyed through the years. Following are some Dendrobiums that I enjoy most.
Dendrobium crumenatum – Also known as the “pigeon orchid”, Den. crumenatum has several desirable traits:
- Easy to grow
- Enjoys our hot summers
- Blooms several times each year
- Has a wonderful scent (most other Dendrobiums do not)
Dendrobium thyrsiflorum and Dendrobium farmeri – Native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas and south and east into Malaysia, these plants put on a huge display with colorful pendentive flower spikes nearly as large as the plant itself. Easy to grow but needs less water and food during their winter resting period.
- Easy culture
- Compact size
- Very floriferous
- Cut back water and food during winter resting period
Antelope type Dendrobiums – The many species in this group range in size from compact to more than 10 feet in height and most have twisted “antelope horn” petals. I find these fascinating because of the shape, but for windowsill growing you might avoid some of the taller species.
Den phal type Dendrobium hybrids (aka Thai Dendrobiums) – People are often confused by the name but no, these are not related to Phalaenopsis, but are generally hybridized using Dendrobium Phalaenopsis and other compatible Dendrobiums to create a wide variety of colors, sizes, and shapes.
Dendrobium primulinum and Dendrobium anosmum (Honohono orchid) – These deciduous cane type orchids send new growths straight up in the spring after flowering but as the canes grow they get to be too heavy, bend over, and become pendulous as they mature. In early spring the leaves dry up and fall off and flower spikes emerge from each unbloomed leaf node.
- Native to Southeast Asia
- Require no water or food beginning in the fall and until they begin to flower in the spring
- Water and feed heavily during the growing season
- Keikis can be removed once they have leaves and a good root system
We do have many of the above well-rooted in pots and ready for your growing area!