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How to prune dendrobium orchids

Updated February 21, 2017

The World Orchid Checklist contains more than 24,000 accepted species of orchid from around the world, according to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Orchids in the dendrobium family take up a number of spots on that list and the varieties can exhibit different characteristics from each other. Some dendrobium orchids are evergreen, while others feature flowers that fade and fall from the plant each year. Regardless of the type of dendrobium you have, proper pruning is required to encourage healthy growth throughout the seasons.

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  1. Prune the dendrobium orchid in late autumn or early winter, after the blooming period. You will be able to see dead or dying branches more clearly and the plant will retain more nutrients over the winter time without the extra plant material.

  2. Clean your pruning shears before pruning any plants and before moving on to another plant. This will prevent the spread of any contaminants or diseases between plants, even if you do not know they are there.

  3. Gently remove the orchid from its pot. Trim off any dead, damaged or unhealthy roots.

  4. Repot the plant in the same pot, with fresh soil; use a mix of 10 parts pine bark to one part orchid mix for pots that are smaller than 15 cm (6 inches). For larger pots, use medium-grade pine bark. Water the orchid until you see water draining out of the bottom of the pot. This heavy watering will encourage the roots to spread in the new soil.

  5. Cut away any dead or diseased branches or leaves from the orchid, to promote new healthy growth and prevent disease from spreading throughout the plant.

  6. Prune orchids 2.5 cm (1 inch) from where the blossom stalk originates on the plant as soon as all of the flowers have died. The stalk will begin to turn yellow or brown, indicating that no new blossoms will form for this season. This close pruning will encourage new and healthy growth in the plant.

  7. Tip

    Find pine bark and orchid mix at garden centres or nurseries.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or secateurs
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rag
  • Soil

About the Author

Samantha Volz

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

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