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Orchid Care

Dendrobium Hybrids:

      DENDROBIUM (den-DROH-bee-um) - Dendrobium orchids are called "Phalaenopsis type" because their flowers resemble those of the Phalaenopsis variety. Phalaenopsis type are evergreen, while other varieties of Dendrobiums shed their leaves in the fall and winter. Dendrobiums are also commonly used as cut flowers because of their sturdy stems and distinctive coloring.

      Basic Care - Keep your new orchid out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry, pollution-free environment. Water once every 7-10 days.

      Blooms - How long your orchid will remain in bloom can vary greatly depending on its environment and how long ago it began blooming before it was purchased. You should expect your orchid to stay in bloom anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. With proper care, it may remain in bloom for several months! If your room is very hot, the blooms will not last as long.

      Temperature - The ideal day temperature is 75-85 F, while the ideal night temperature is 60-65 F. Occasional temperature extremes are tolerated if exposure is not prolonged.

      Light - These dendrobiums enjoy full morning sun, but will require shading between 11am and 3pm - less shading will be needed in late afternoon. An overhead light source is most effective.

      Water - DO NOT over water your orchid! Water it only once a week to once every 10 days. Your orchid should grow best when its potting soil becomes dry between waterings. They are epiphytes (i.e. - they grow on trees), in Nature and are accustomed to becoming fairly dry between the rains of their natural habitat.

If the potting soil is kept wet, the roots will rot and the plant will start to wilt because it cannot absorb the water needed. When this happens the beginner usually adds still more water thinking the plant needs it.

If your office has low humidity, mist your orchid with a spray bottle of room temperature water. Do not soak your orchid with the spray. Note that is "mist" NOT shower!

      Feeding - High-nitrogen fertilizers (25-9-9) can be used year-round at one teaspoon per gallon of water. Feed once a month.

      Air Movement - Orchids do not like stagnant air. In their natural habitat, most orchids grow high up in trees where the breezes are always blowing. Wind cools the leaves when it is hot, and helps dry excess moisture that may have accumulated on the plant. Wind also helps distribute warm and cold air so harmful air pockets don't form.

Be careful of drafts because they can be harmful. A draft of cold air can cause buds to drop. If a window can't be opened, a small fan directed away from your orchid or a ceiling fan to circulate the air in the room will work fine.

      Air Quality: Your orchids, like people, need plenty of clean fresh air. Accumulated air pollutants from smoking, cooking, aerosol sprays, plastic, other synthetic materials, people, and other sources can all be harmful to your plants.

You shouldn't smoke around your orchid, but if you do smoke, be sure you wash your hands before handling your orchids to prevent spreading a deadly virus called Tobacco Mosaic Virus to your orchid.

If your orchid blooms suddenly wilt, it may not be due to bad air. If the bloom suddenly fades and the petals fold together and turn papery, an insect may have pollinated the blooms. Look to see if there is pollen on the stigma.

If you would like more information, The American Orchid Society provides the latest and best culture sheets available on their website. You can read and/or download information on either beginner or intermediate levels of growing. Their sheets are organized by orchid genera for your convenience.

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