How to Make Dendrobium Orchid Potting Medium Yourself

All indoor orchids are beautiful! But some growers prefer dendrobiums. They are loved not only for their exquisite decorativeness but also for the availability of cultivation. One of the important requirements for good growth and abundant flowering is the right dendrobium orchid potting medium. What it consists of, where to get it or how to make it yourself, we will tell you in our article.

Dendrobium Orchid Potting Medium

What is the best potting mix for dendrobium orchids?

Indoor species and varieties of dendrobium are typical epiphytes. That is why the growing medium is tree bark. The concept of “potting medium” for most of us is associated with soil, or as they say “earth”. The culture medium, traditional for most plants, is categorically unsuitable for orchids, and for dendrobium as well. Since it belongs to epiphytic plants.

In nature, epiphytes attach to other plants, mainly woody, using them as a support. At the same time, they do not damage trees, because they do not take nutrients from them. Epiphytes receive their food in gaseous form from the air. When grown at home, full-fledged trees are replaced by a substrate that is as close as possible to the natural environment.

Indoor species and varieties of dendrobium are typical epiphytes. That is why the growing medium is tree bark. In principle, any will do, but preferably pine. It is she who is considered the most successful support for the root system of the orchid of this botanical species. Except for the bark. sometimes a small amount of charcoal is added.

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Where to buy a dendrobium orchid potting medium?

Finding specially processed dendrobium bark is not difficult. Most often they are sold in the same specialty stores as orchids. Manufacturers produce substrates from high-quality raw materials, which have been carefully selected and disinfected. The following are very popular:

Best dendrobium orchid Potting MixCheck Price
1Better-Gro Dendrobium Orchid Potting Mix 8 Quarts Check Price at Amazon
2Orchid Nerd Multi-Purpose Orchid Potting Soil MixCheck Price at Amazon
3rePotme All Purpose Orchid Potting Mix Check Price at Amazon
4Better Gro 4-Quart Orchid Bark Check Price at Amazon

If there are no specialty shops with indoor plants nearby, you can go to garden centers that sell pine bark as a mulch.

It is crushed to different sizes:

  • 2-3 cm,
  • 4-5 cm,
  • More than five sentiments.

The material is prepackaged infractions.

Since the mulch is intended for gardening purposes, manufacturers pack it in bags of 10 l, 25 l, 50 l. Smaller quantities can also be found in large supermarkets.

The bark can be harvested for future use. Its storage period is not limited if the conditions of detention are observed. It is important to keep it in a dry, well-ventilated place until use. The bark is afraid of stagnant moisture, from which it begins to rot. But, absolutely normally tolerates frost or drought. Taking into account that dendrobiums need to be transplanted, on average, once every 2-3 years, then the bark bought in a garden store will last for many years to come.

But not all orchid lovers have the opportunity to purchase a ready-made substrate for dendrobium. No problem! You can cook it yourself, with your own hands. The main thing is to do everything right. Mistakes can lead to the death of the plant.

How To Make Dendrobium Orchid Potting Medium

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How to make dendrobium orchid potting medium Yourself

Here is the complete process if you want to make a dendrobium orchid potting medium yourself with a mix recipe from the bark.

Where to get the bark and how to properly prepare

Almost every locality has a forest or park with pine trees. There you can stock up on bark for dendrobium. This does not mean at all that you need to strip the nearest tree. The bark is not removed from live pines.

  • First, mechanical damage can lead to infection of the tree with diseases and pests.
  • Secondly, fresh bark contains a large amount of resinous substances that are categorically unsuitable for growing orchids.

Harvesting can only be done on dead or fallen trees, provided that they are not damaged by rot or pests.

The bark is removed with a sharp knife, separating large pieces from the trunk. If you come across the wood, it must be removed, it is not suitable for growing orchids.

Treatment against infection and pests

Bark brought from the natural environment almost always contains pathogens and pest larvae. Therefore, it is impossible to immediately plant dendrobium in it. It is imperative to disinfect the substrate. Heat treatment is most often carried out. You can use one of three methods:

ScaldingThe bark is placed in a large metal container, so that all the pieces are placed freely, without tamping.
Important! The dishes in which the raw materials are scalded cannot be further used for cooking. Pour boiling water over and allow to cool completely. Then, the water is drained and scalded again. In total, the procedure is repeated three times.
BoilingThe bark is laid out in enameled dishes, filled with cold water to the top. A smaller lid is placed on top so that light pieces do not float.
After boiling, small bark, 2-3 cm in size, boil for half an hour. Large pieces must be kept on fire for at least an hour.
When boiled, plant debris, coniferous resin, and pest larvae float to the surface. Also, pathogenic microorganisms that cause diseases are killed.
CalcinationCarried out in an oven at a temperature of +700. The bark is poured onto a baking sheet in one layer and kept in the oven for at least an hour. At the same time, it is important to ensure that the temperature does not rise, otherwise the crust may flare up and burn.

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Preparing the bark for planting dendrobium

When disinfection is complete, the bark can be used to plant (transplant) the orchid. The work is performed in the following order:

  • Choose a pot of a suitable size, with a lot of holes. In it, the root system of the plant should fit freely.
  • Several large pieces of charcoal or bark are placed at the bottom of the pot. They are needed to prevent water stagnation.
  • Pre-scalded or boiled bark is placed in a colander and excess water is allowed to drain.
  • The dendrobium is removed from the old pot and cleaned of the previous substrate. The remains of the stale bark are washed under running warm water.
  • For disinfection, the roots are soaked in a fungicide solution.
  • Then set in a new pot so that the base of the leaves is 1 – 1.5 cm below the top edge.
  • If wet bark was used for planting, then watering is not necessary. Irrigation will be needed after the substrate is completely dry.

If the bark is used for planting, which has been calcined in the oven, it must be soaked in advance. When dried, the edges become sharp and can injure the roots of the orchid. The damaged root system is weakened and takes longer to adapt to new conditions.

After the transplant, the dendrobium is quarantined. Despite all the precautions when preparing the substrate, the possibility of infection with diseases and pests from other plants is not excluded. Even if the bark in which the orchid is planted is sterile, the presence of an airborne infection cannot be ruled out.

On average, the transplant is carried out every two or three years. Replacement of the bark is necessary when the old substrate is overheated and compacted. This disrupts aeration, without which normal orchid growth is impossible.

I am an avid plant enthusiast and horticulture aficionado with a deep passion for houseplants. With years of nurturing green companions, my expertise in caring for indoor foliage is well-rooted. Through my journey, I've cultivated insights into optimal plant care, propagation techniques, and creating vibrant indoor ecosystems. Join me as we explore the verdant world of houseplants together. Let's turn your living space into a thriving oasis of botanical beauty. Connect with me on and Facebook and explore more at Houseplantspro. 🌿🪴

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