I thought I’d pass along these answers to an email I received from a customer regarding Dendrobium care. I’m sure some of you have had similar questions.
First question: I got two small Hibikis from you back in June of 2022. (*side note–it’s now August 2023) They are now beginning to produce much larger canes so I’m thinking to repot. But I’m wondering if I might pot them together. Have you any idea if they’d get along OK like that, or would they compete with one another, with one losing out?
Answer: If they are growing well, I hate to say it, but leave them alone. Dendrobiums really hate being repotted, and they love being pot-bound. They’ll also bloom better if they’re a bit squished in their pots. I would wait until next early spring, say Feb or March, and repot them then. At that point, if you’d like to put them together you certainly can. It’ll put them in competition with each other, but not enough to do them any harm.
Second question: I’ve read somewhere that Dendrobiums don’t care for a high nitrogen fertilizer (which is what I used for my Cymbidiums and some other orchids in bark). What formulation do you use and recommend?
Answer: Although I do not consider myself an expert on fertilizer/fertilizing, the general rule for all orchids is to use a balanced fertilizer. Bloom boosters aren’t reported to work in the same way for orchids as they do for other flowering plants. Because you always use a fertilizer super diluted for orchids, there’s no reason to use one that has a big number in any category. Also, (you probably know this) Nitrogen encourages vegetative growth over reproduction which isn’t what most people are most interested in. I use a number of different fertilizers including Miracid, MSU, and Peters 10-10-10. My opinion is that the feeding is more important than the food, if you get what I mean.