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  #1  
Old 03-31-2019, 02:14 PM
emmajs243 emmajs243 is offline
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My first two Dendrobiums! Care/Culture/Advice!?
Default My first two Dendrobiums! Care/Culture/Advice!?

Hey guys! I just recieved my first dendrobiums so am a total newbie to them! 100% clueless! So I began looking for the Culture sheets like I did for my first Catt....that's when I learn, dendrobiums are NOT like Cattleyas....obviously in the sense of the plants but I mean in the sense that, the Cattleya alliance just has one main very detailed Culture sheet and besides maybe a little change here and there, the Catt alliance can all be cared for the same way...dendrobiums have one short Culture sheet, with all these different groups and then only 2 sentences on their Culture/care....It's just such a quick "overview" if you could even call it that.

I could REALLY use some help wrapping my head around their care, growth cycle, repotting time/advice....everything and anything you have to offer on dendrobium care!

My dendrobiums are, Dendrobium parishii and Dendrobium superbum 'Little Sweet Scent' (thank goodness they are in the same group!). One problem is that dendrobiums have like, VERY different care depending on their current growth stage....If I am being honest....totally did NOT know dendrobiums even went into "dormancy"...I unpacked the first one and it was just canes with one wilted, yellow leaf and I was thinking. "Are you kidding me? Who would pick this out?!" Then I read the note in the box saying that both dendrobiums were "coming out of dormancy".

The dendrobium parishii only has the canes and one wilted yellow leaf right now...dendrobium superbum has green leaves already. I just don't really know what is suppose to happen next or what to watch for....AOS basically says, when roots appear give warmth, water/fertilize heavily until "top leaf appears on canes". Then high light, little to no water, no fertilizer, cool nights "basically forget about them".

So since the dendrobium superbum has leaves do I now forget about it? Am I at that point already? When does blooming occur in all of this? I want to say both are spring bloomers.

OH AND! When in the world would be my repotting window? Right after dormancy when new roots show up or before dormancy after they have bloomed...?

Basically, anyone with dendrobium advice jump in here! I am in need of further education! Helpful Links work too! I will graciously take any sort of help!
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:01 PM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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My first two Dendrobiums! Care/Culture/Advice!? Female
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This answer may not appeal to your technical mind, but here is how I've tackled the dormancy issue (it works for me).

I have nowhere to chill the plants that is well lit. So, I place them right next to the glass as far away from the heater as possible. They get only bright natural light. I don't water from Thanksgiving until after the blooms fall, then I feed and water freely. Putting them outside when weather permits helps.

I struggled to extrapolate a method that worked for me from the myriad of advice offered. My plants grow and bloom. If it's coming out of dormancy, feed and water.
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:05 PM
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As you have seen, there are Dendrobiums and then there are Dendrobiums... It is such a huge genus, no generalization is going to get it right. Actually, a good place to start is the AOS culture sheet on Dendrobiums - it breaks the genus down into sections with some examples. When you get down to the "Other Species" section, however, do your homework because for most f those species, the "general advice" that follows is flat wrong. (Try to grow Den. cuthbertsonii intermediate to warm with drying in winter and you will kill it for sure! You may kill it anyway, it's tricky especially if you don't live in San Francisco, but follow the advice and you'll do it much faster)

Of the deciduous types, they don't all start to leaf at the same time. If it has leaves, water it. At this time if year, you can safely water lightly even if you don't see any action yet but wait for full-on watering until the buds develop (which will probably happen before the leaves, but not always). Just to confuse things more, some that tend to be deciduous may not be if they were raised someplace very temperate like Hawaii, then lose leaves when they move to your house. It's not dead, just adjusting.

For those that tend to be deciduous, I tend to keep even dead-looking ones around for a year or so to figure out if they are really dead or just sleeping. Hope springs eternal...
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Old 03-31-2019, 05:07 PM
emmajs243 emmajs243 is offline
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My first two Dendrobiums! Care/Culture/Advice!?
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Thank you ladies VERY much!!!

Dollythehun, I actually REALLY like your answer!! SO beautifully simple and easy to remember with it starting around thanksgiving! One thing though, you don't water until after the blooms fall? Most orchids use substantial water for their blooms production and support so how do they bloom after not having water all winter???

Roberta, you know, I have seen people say that statement before..."there are dendrobiums and then there are dendrobiums". In fact, I think it is used for most orchid genres! Anyways, I just never truly understood what people meant when talking about dendrobiums! Then I went to the AOS culture sheet and saw all the different subcategories and luckily, these guys came from the Chicago area (Hausermanns) so they should have had a good winter even in heated greenhouses! However, I will need to remember that for further dendrobium orders!! I think your right about doing my homework. Just on all of the categories! I will also have to make a mental note NOT to buy Den. cuthbertsonii anytime soon!!

So where does repotting fall into all or this? Like other orchids do I just wait for root growth or do you just repot while in dormancy?? Opinions? Oh! On that note, I thought you are suppose to adjust bark/media size to root size? These guys have the skinniest roots I have ever seen on an orchid but they are growing in medium looking sized bark...any thoughts on this?

Do dendrobiums like to dry out completely between waterings more like Catts or stay a little on the damper side like a phal or are they straight up water lovers?

So, is there anyway to know if my dendrobiums have bloomed already for this year or where exactly they are in this odd winter bear cycle? I posted some photos in case that helps!

One last thing, in the last two photos there are two small, tender green leaves/stems..these are new canes growing right? You can clearly view both in the 4th/2nd to last photo. In the last photo, you can see both these new growths and a couple green canes with leaves....The canes are old I'm guessing right? I am just trying to figure out what is what! How many growths do dendrobiums usually form each year anyways??
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Old 03-31-2019, 05:42 PM
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The roots in my parishii are skinny. It came from the same vendor. I followed the advice of several OB members who suggested Thanksgiving as a cut off point. They are dormant, so they rarely get watered. If I feel generous, I mist the exposed roots (very seldom). I repotted it in small bark upon it's arrival. Now might be a good time as it will wake in it's new home.

(FYI, Hausermann's is huge. There are different climates under one roof).
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Old 03-31-2019, 06:36 PM
emmajs243 emmajs243 is offline
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Thanks dollythehun!! SO good to know that your parishii came from the same place and thanksgiving works!! Also very good to know you swapped the bark too! I just wasn't too sure if there was a specific reason for the large bark or not but it didn't quite make sense with those skinny roots!

Also, VERY good to know now would work for repotting! I want to get a lot better about repotting all plants right when purchasing as long as sensible. Not just to repot but also because it's just such a good opportunity to really, closely, examine the plants state of health thoroughly and ensure nothing is missed you know?

I was wondering if repotting dendrobiums while they are in dormancy would work....I mean if they are sleeping it really shouldn't bother them and the next thing that happens is root growth it sounds like which is what you want after repotting!

Oh and hearing hausermanns have different climates all under one roof just sounds like an amazing picture!
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Old 03-31-2019, 06:50 PM
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I repot most plants when I receive them. But Roberta often says to wait for root growth. Again, many different opinions. I just bought two Zygo hybrids in bud. Repotted them both, they never missed a beat or dropped a bud.
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Old 03-31-2019, 07:16 PM
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Remember, there are no hard-and-fast rules... it's the goal that you need to keep in mind.

On the repotting issue, while it is ideal for nearly all orchids to do it just as new roots start (or even better, slightly before, in case that you can read the plant's mind) , that's not the only factor. If you just got the plant, "immediately" might be better... one factor is that your watering pattern is different than that of the vendor and you need to optimize that. The other is that more often than not, the plant is likely to be in need of repotting because of bad media - nobody pays the vendor to pot and so they are likely to want to sell the plant that they have had for awhile rather than repotting it. Some orchids are fussier than others. Some Catt species may really sulk if they have to wait 6 months for roots to grow after the existing ones have been damaged in repotting. Others, such as Phals and Paphs grow roots most of the time and so any time is fine. But it can be a balancing act... which will cause more damage, potting at a less-than-ideal time or letting bad media rot roots? For Dens that have a slow period, potting before the root growth starts but in anticipation of it is fine.

Timing is more importing in mounting, since only new roots will grab onto the mount, though the old ones will still serve to hydrate the plant.

As for how many growths for a Den? Varies. Just observe and enjoy.
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Old 04-01-2019, 03:23 AM
emmajs243 emmajs243 is offline
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Very helpful! Yes Catts love to be finicky and sensitive it seems...at least as a beginner. And man! Let me just say, when I first saw the whole "queen of orchids" name or reference for Catts, i really just thought it was in reference to their beauty but I'm learning their attitude can be a tad more on the pampered, sensitive side...once again, at least for me! Just sayin, I'm suspicious that the nickname is for more then just their appearance!

And Roberta! As of yet, I haven't gained the power of reading orchids minds! I must of missed that AOS webinar! Dagnabit! I am left to using the conventional methods of detection.

luckily, most of my purchases have arrived with either new growths or new roots or both but the roots are just longer then I would like for repotting. If they have a new growth started then for my Catts I normally wait until it's so large before repotting...dendrobiums seem to have an entirely different basket of rules however so I hopefully will figure out their growth cycle and be able to better judge when to repot in time. For now, I'm back to feeling a tad clueless again like when I first recieved my Catt. I have a suspicion that this is a feeling I just need to get use to in the orchid world however!
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