How to grow and care for Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids Indoors

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Indoor Orchid, Dendrobium Orchid, Dendrobium spp

Botanical name: Dendrobium spp
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Dendrobieae
Subtribe: Dendrobiinae

Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids also called Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchids are easy to grow Indoor Orchids which bear large, long-lasting flowers arranged along an unbranched flowering stems. The petals and sepals are free from and more or less similar to each other but distinctly different from the lip (lowermost flower petal). The lip is more or less egg-shaped and there is often a callus constising of narrow parallel ridges in the center of the lip. Dendrobium Orchids are sympodial branching herbs with cylindrical roots arising from the base of a pseudobulb. The pseudobulbs are long and cane-like, and covered with the bases of the leaves. There are one to many leaves arranged in two ranks which vary in shape from linear to oblong and sometimes cylindrical.

>Dendrobiums can be divided into Hard Caned or Soft Caned. The Hard Caned Dendrobiums are also called Dendrobium Phalaenopsis because they have some characteristics similar to Phalaenopsis. These similar characteristics are thick, waxy leaves and the flowers are borne on a flower spike. Hard Caned Dendrobiums have a harder cane than the Soft Caned Dendrobiums. Their pseudobulbs are tall and very thin. Dendrobium Phalaenopsis are evergreen and keep their leaves for many years. The flower spike emerges from the top of the cane.

Dendrobiums are native to the tropical forests of Australia and New Guinea where temperatures are relatively constant therefore they do not require a significant temperature difference to induce flowering. Many hybrids and cultivars have been developed which have greatly extended the range of colors. The flowers range in color from white, green, yellow, pink, purple and often contrasting colors in the lip (lowermost flower petal). With good care Dendrobium Phalaenopsis orchids will bloom year after year. The genus name Dendrobium is derived from the Greek words dendro meaning "tree" and bios meaning "life" in reference to the epiphytic habit of most species. The genus name is abbreviated as Den. in horticultural journals.

How to Grow Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids (Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchids)


Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids grow best in bright, indirect light for about 10 hours per day. A few feet away from an east- or west-facing window is ideal. Keep them away from direct sunshine to avoid sun scorch on the leaves. Regularly turn the pot to ensure the plant gets adequate light on all sides. A Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchid that is receiving the right amount of light has light-green upright leaves. Dark green leaves indicate that the orchid needs more light. Yellow leaves means the orchid is receiving too much light. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants


Water Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering in the cold period. Use tepid, chlorine-free water as orchids are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Avoid wetting the foliage as it can lead to fungal diseases. Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchids are more tolerant of dry soil conditions due to the presence of pseudobulbs and their thick leaves so keep them on the drier side. Learn more on how to water houseplants.


The best temperatures for Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids are between 16-300C. Warmer days and cooler night temperatures with a difference of 8-110C are ideal. Ensure there is good air circulation as orchids cannot tolerate hot and stuffy conditions. Protect them from draughts. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.


Moderate humidity is ideal for Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids. If the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Do not mist the leaves as it can lead to fungal diseases.


Feed Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids every 4 weeks during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season. Do not feed an orchid that is in flower. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.


Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids bloom best when they are pot-bound. Repot Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids only when growth begins to suffer. When the orchid has outgrown its pot and the new growth reaches out over the edge or when the soil has broken down completely. Basically repotting Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids every 2-3 years should be adequate. Repot only when new growth begins, shortly after blooming is over. Use a pot with proper drainage holes or slits; the roots need good air circulation. The pot should be only 1 size larger than the previous one. Use loose, free-draining bark soil. When repotting, shake off excess soil and trim off any dried and shrivelled pseudobulbs.


Pruning Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids is easy. Remove dead and diseased leaves by cutting them at the base with sharp scissors or a knife. The flower spike arises from the top of the cane. Once flowering is over, cut the flower stalk at the point where it meets the cane. The cane has the potential to produce more flower spikes. Do not remove old leafless canes as they continue to provide water and nutrients to the plant. The old canes can produce Keikis which can be used to propagate new plants.

How to Trigger Flowering in Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids (Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchids)

Phalaenopsis Dendrobium Orchid do not need a significant temperature difference to initiate flowering. A slight difference of of 8-110C is ideal. Reduce watering but maintain the soil moderately moist during this period. Withhold feeding during this period. Take it back to its usual spot when the 6 weeks period is over. This kind of treatment will coax a Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchid to flower as it mimicks its natural triggers in the wild.

How to Propagate Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids (Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchids)

Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season, once flowering is over by division or from keikis.

Propagating Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids by division
Gently split the rhizome into sections. Leave at least 3 shoots on each section. Seperate the roots attached to each section from the mother root ball. Remove the old potting soil attached to the roots. Place each section in the center of the pot. Bury the roots in the soil while ensuring that the bottom of the pseudobulb is level with the top of the soil. The best pot should be about 1-2 in. larger than the pseudobulb. Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes and slits to prevent root-rot. Place the set up in a shaded place until the new plants have established their own roots which is marked by new growth. Water the new Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids lightly to enhance root development. Stake each newly repotted plant.

Propagating Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids from keikis
Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids naturally produce "baby" orchids called "keiki" which normally appear at the end of the cane which is where the keiki producing hormones accumulate. Keikis are identical copies of the parent. The keiki can be detached from the mother when about one year old when it has developed 2-3 leaves and 1-3 in. long roots. Pot up the keiki in fresh potting medium. Direct the roots downwards and provide support for the keiki. Place the set up in a shaded place. Mist the keiki regularly to maintain a humid enviroment. The keiki may take 1-3 years to bloom.

Common Problems in Growing Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids (Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchids)

  • Brown soft spots on the leaves
  • Brown soft spots on Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchid leaves are an indication of a fungal disease; remove the affected leaves immediately to prevent further spread.

  • Brown hard and dry spots on leaves
  • Exposure of Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids to direct sunshine will result in scorch marks which are brown hard and dry spots on the leaves. Move the orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunshine.

  • Mould on leaves
  • This is an indication of Powdery Mildew Disease. Misting the leaves in Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids may lead to mildew growth if the water does not evaporate quickly. Ensure good air circulation and stop misting.

  • Limpy and droopy leaves
  • Limpy and droopy leaves in Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchid are caused by underwatering. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Water Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchid thoroughly, maintain the soil consistently moist and allow only the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

  • Dark-green leaves
  • Dark green leaves in Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchid indicate that the plant is not getting enough light. Move the orchid to a brighter spot. The leaves of a Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchid that is receiving the correct light should be light green.

  • Yellowish leaves
  • Yellowish leaves in Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchid indicate that the plant is getting too much light. Move the orchid to a shadier spot. The leaves of a Hard Caned Dendrobium Orchid that is receiving the correct light should be light green.

  • Leaf tips turn black and die
  • The cause of black leaf tips in Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchid is the presence of chemicals like chlorine and flourides in water. Use chlorine-free water only.

  • No blooms
  • Too little light for Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Orchids will result in no blooms. Move the plant to a brighter spot.


Hard Cane Dendrobium Orchids (Dendrobium Phalaenopsis) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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