Questions about Dendrobium and Cattleia

fancyorchid(9a S.F. Bay Area)March 17, 2010

Hi everybody....I have some questions about three of my Orchids.....First: a Dendrobium I had for years, never bloomed, this particular one, supposedly, has little pink flowers coming out of the stems/leaves, I need some good instructions on the proper care.

Also, I have a Cattleya that,also, has NEVER bloomed. I water it about Once a week in the winter, more often as weather gets warmer, I have it in a bright light spot and in medium bark.

My son gave me a Phal. from an Asian supermarket, the orchid was in a soaking wet moss medium, I'm letting IT dry out but should I change the medium to small bark?

I need help.......!!!


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For your Phal, you can gently tease the plant out of its pot and inspect the condition of the roots and potting media. If the media is degraded, and/or the roots are rotted, you do need to repot. This is a good time of year to start, at least for me.

For your others, how much light are you giving it? Growing it in a window? What direction does the window face? We need more information on how you are growing them in order to help fix the problem. Light is usually the number one suspect for nonblooming plants. However, your dendrobium sounds suspiciously like a nobile type, which usually requires a winter rest in order to bloom (there are exceptions to this). Any chance you could post a picture of the dendrobium canes/foliage for a positive ID?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 11:53PM
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fancyorchid(9a S.F. Bay Area)

Thank you, terpguy, for coming to my rescue, I should say that all three plants are in a south exposure location.
I should probably wait until the Phal.' blooming is over, right? It has 6 full-bloom 'branches' and is in one of those 4 in. 'see-tru pots' (4 in. in diameter). I took it out of the 'green' plastic liner and is finally "drying out"! Do you think I should change the "medium"(osmunda fiber) and its container? I do have a ceramic pot that is 6 in. in diameter and is a little over 5 in. high, with 'holes' on the sides!!!
The Catt.,6.5 in diameter, in medium bark, also bright light...south exposure, on humid tray, it could use new bark!
The Den., has always new leaves growing, has not been re-potted for a few years and I can't see any 'bark' left, it's probably root-bound!
I water the last 2 orchids a couple of times a week or when needed.
I hope I gave you enough info. about my plants and, again, thank you for your help!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 3:25PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Ditto what Terpguy says, he's the man. You say that all three plants are in a south exposure location. How close to the glass? The phal can be a bit back, but both the den and the catt should be almost right up against it. The catt needs lots of sun, as much as the leaves can take. What color are the leaves? If they're dark green, the catt needs more sun. They should be light olive green, if you want blooms. Where is San Fran. Penn. (The Penn is throwing me off). Is it San Francisco? How strong is the light? Would you be able to put the plants outside for the summer?

Also, these plants bloom better in tight pots.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 4:04PM
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fancyorchid(9a S.F. Bay Area)

Thank you, orchid126, for quickly responding to my post. I had the catt. and the den. away from the window because I was concerned that their leaves would get scorched. I can put them outside in the summer, can they tolerate full sun exposure?


    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 3:08AM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Catts and dens can take a great deal of sun. Outdoors here in central NJ I give mine about six hours of sun, from morning til one or so, then they're in bright shade the rest of the day. The trick is to expose them to the light slowly, like you would for yourself on the beach. Too much too quick and you burn.

In a window, the light drops considerably every six inches. We are fooled because to our naked eye the light seems bright. Every few days move the plants a bit closer. Keep feeling the leaves. As long as they're not hot, the plant is okay. Give them as much light as the leaves can take. Don't worry if the leaves get a little burn.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 4:00PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

With regard to the Dendrobium it is important that you tell the posters here the type, from your description maybe a nobile species or hybrid that needs very different culture to the hard-cane and other types.

When it flowered did it look something like the thumbnails in the link?

Here is a link that might be useful: Nobile type den pics.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 4:14AM
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fancyorchid(9a S.F. Bay Area)

Hi ARTHURM, my Den. has softer canes and the leaves are much more slender than a Nobile, has also smaller pink flowers, very fragrant, that come from the middle of the leaves. A friend of mine gave me this orchid and she is very successful in getting it to bloom. She has it outdoors, part shade and part sun, she also lets it sit in water.
The only 'thumbnail', that resemples mine, is the Den. Unknown, on the second page of the album.

I noticed you are in NSW Australia, where exactly? I have a sister that leaves in one of Sidney's suburbs. I used to visit her once a year but now I have commitments that preclude me from traveling that far.
Thank you for your reply.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 1:40PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Outside in the summer I slip the orchid pots into hanging baskets and hang mine from my tall bushes.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 3:16PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Hi Annamaria, those are orchid society pictures, meeting place Strathfield.

Trying to home in on the type rather than an exact id. Maybe you have something like a nobile type crossed with moniliforme, so why not copy your friend's culture procedure.

Den. moniliforme comes from Japan so maybe standard soft-cane culture needs to be changed a bit for that species and perhaps the Climate of San Francisco suits. Just guessing.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 6:31PM
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when you think of dendrobiums you have to think more of everything. More light, more water, and more fertilizer. They are epiphites and grow in trees. They like lots of air but also like being root bound. They should send up at least one new upright every year. If they are producing Keikies and not flowering it means they are not getting enough light. Deciduous dends flower from old growth and evergreen from new growth

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 8:43PM
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