How to Rehydrate Dendrobium Orchids


Dendrobiums are in the epiphytic group of orchid plants that use their roots to draw moisture and nutrients from the ambient air. The water and nutrients are then stored for use in a pseudobulb that makes up the lower potion of the stem. Dendrobiums are grown in a very coarse and fast draining potting medium. High ambient humidity between 50 and 80 percent is needed to keep dendrobium orchids healthy. The coarse bark used can also become resistant to holding moisture as it ages and breaks down leading to drought conditions for the orchid. Rehydrating a dendrobium requires frequent deep watering and fresh potting medium to ensure the best chance of rejuvenation.

Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need
  • Water
  • Coarse orchid potting medium
  • Spray mist bottle
  • Pebbles and shallow tray or saucer
  • Humidifier
    1. Water your dehydrated dendrobium well when you notice it is overly dry. Hold the pot under a slow running stream of tepid, not cool, water from a faucet. Drench all of the medium and roots and allow the excess to drain away. Repeat this process the following day or two until you can get the orchid repotted into new medium.
    2. Choose an orchid medium designed for epiphytic orchids that is heavy in coarse bark chips and charcoal and contains no soil. Any finer a texture medium can suffocate the roots and hold too much moisture leading to rot.
    3. Slide the orchid of of the old pot when it is wet. Brush off all of the old medium stuck to and between the roots.
    4. Set the orchid into the old pot filled 1/4 full with new medium and fill in around the roots with more planting medium until the pot is full to the crown of the orchid.
    5. Water it deeply again under tepid running water until the new medium is drenched. Allow the excess water to drain away.
    6. Place the orchid back in a location with bright indirect light and high humidity from either daily misting, a humidifier or a tray of pebbles and water to rest the orchid pot atop.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refrain from fertilizing a dehydrated orchid for a few weeks to allow all of the plant’s energy to go towards building moisture stores. Resume regular monthly feeding after two weeks when the medium has been replaced and the pseudobulb has swollen a bit with moisture.

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