They come in a range of sizes, from a few centimetres to around 1m high. Their flowers generally appear between February and June. The blooms can be tiny or large, in almost every colour imaginable, and can last for up to six weeks. Dendrobiums reproduce by forming baby plantlets, called keikis.
Dendrobiums make excellent houseplants. Most, such as Dendrobium nobile and D. speciosum, require cooler growing conditions and a less humid environment than the popular moth orchid, Phalaenopsis – 16°C-18°C is ideal. Grow in a bright spot and shield from direct sunlight. Water when the growing medium is becoming dry.
In autumn, reduce watering and move plants to a bright windowsill or porch, where they can remain cool and dry until spring. When temperatures increase in spring and flower buds begin to appear, water regularly and bring the plant indoors to a cool, bright spot.
More on growing orchids:
Here are five beautiful dendrobiums to grow.
Dendrobium 'Sweet Memory'
Dendrobium 'Sweet Memory' bears masses of pure white flowers with ruffled petals and a green centre, in contrast with dark green foliage.
Dendrobium 'Starburst Firebird'
Dendrobium 'Stardust Firebird' is a compact orchid, bearing brilliant orange flowers with a flat, crimson-striped lip, from April to May.
Dendrobium nobile 'Comet King'
Dendrobium 'Comet King' bears hot pink flowers with a white and yellow centre, once a year, between January and June. It hails from south east Asia.
Dendrobium phalaenopsis 'Thailand Black'
Dendrobium phalaenopsis 'Thailand Black' is a hybrid with lovely magenta flowers. It forms lots of buds that will flower for up to two months, often between August and October.
Dendrobium thyrsiflorum grows on trees in southeast Asian mountain forests, from the Himalayas to Vietnam. It produces beautiful, fragragant white flowers with golden yellow centres once a year from each flowering stem, usually from late winter to spring. Water well in summer, sparingly during the cooler months.