A pink-flowered orchid cultivated as a houseplant.
Common name : Noble Dendrobium
Scientific name : Dendrobium nobile
Family : Orchidaceae
Category : Indoor
Type of plant : Perennial
Dendrobium nobile is an epiphytic or lithophytic plant native to southern Asia, occuring in lowland and mountain forests, often on mossy limestone rocks, and one of the most widespread ornamental members of the orchid family. Its blooms are variegated in colour from white through pink and purple.
It has strap-shaped, persistent leaves, and blooms mostly in winter and spring, producing short, 2 to 4 flowered racemes, fragrant, waxy, arising from the upper nodes of leafed and leafless canes.
30 - 100
6 - 7
Identify my noble dendrobium
Dendrobium nobile is distinguished from other orchids by its thick stems, that bear leaves along each node. They form in the spring "keikis", which are young seedlings growing on the upper nodes. The flowers are 3-6 cm long, and are pale pink, darker at the edges. Of course there are cultivars of different colors.
Plant my noble dendrobium
Plant your orchid in a medium prepared for moth orchids : 5 parts fresh fir bark, 1 part horticultural charcoal and 1 part sponge rock such as perlite. Avoid using garden mulch in lieu of fir bark, or charcoal for barbecue instead of horticultural charcoal. Orchids are more likely to flower well if kept moderately pot-bound : choose a container which will just accommodate the root system, with sufficient drainage holes. To finish off, water your orchid thoroughly, by simply soaking the plant in a bucket of tepid water for an hour or so, then allow it to drain completely.
Water my noble dendrobium
Moth orchids dislike overwatering, and they loathe hard water even more. if your tap water is hard and you can't use rain water you can always rely on distilled water, but keep in mind that distilled water - and to a lesser extent rain water - lack some of the minerals that orchids need, so you might need to supplement with fertilizers a little more often. Use room temperature water, in the mornings, to allow the pot to dry all day. Always let the water drain through, because the roots of your orchid won’t like to sit in water. Remember they are epiphytes and as such they grow on other plants, not in soil, so most of their water needs are actually fulfilled by the humidity in the tropical air.
How much should you water? Don’t splash in a bit of water every other day – on the contrary, water your Phalaenopsis thoroughly when you do. If your orchid has gone bone dry, you can even soak it for 10 minutes.
How often? Every week or so from spring to autumn. In the winter the routine should drop to watering every 15 days. Of course, the humidity in your home makes a difference, and whether your beloved orchid is in bark or moss too. You might need to water more often in bark than in moss - as moss holds moisture and bark doesn't.
Put outside my noble dendrobium
In September-October, take out a few months your bamboo orchid, so that it feels a few cool nights. Place it in semi shade and sheltered from the rain.
Shelter my noble dendrobium
Bring your bamboo orchid inside during the month of October.
Fertilize my noble dendrobium
From March to October, add special liquid orchid fertilizer twice a month.
Repot my noble dendrobium
When should you repot your moth orchid? Easy : either when the lower leaves die and the stem goes weak, or when the chunks of bark in the potting mix have decomposed, becoming too fine and soil-like. A good rule of thumb is to repot plants every two years after flowering when new growth appears, spring through fall. In any case, never repot orchids that are in bloom or they will lose their flowers.
What medium should you use? The perfect mix is 5 parts fresh fir bark, medium grade, from ¼ to ½ inch chunks - and not garden mulch! - 1 part horticultural charcoal (and not BBQ charcoal) and 1 part sponge rock such as perlite. Remember, better done than perfect : if you can’t make it perfect just do your best. Quick note : the charcoal is quite important, especially if you use fertilizer as it will neutralize fertilizer salts.
What pot? Most orchids are more likely to flower well if kept moderately pot-bound. Choose a container which will just accommodate the root system, and if the pot is too large for the plant, the roots might rot because the excess medium retains too much water for them. Oh, of course, choose a pot with sufficient drainage holes. Plastic or clay is up to you - but we prefer clay because your orchid might need the weight of clay to prevent toppling and also because clay allows more air into the root area, preventing root rot.
Now, how? Just grasp the plant by the stem and gently work it out of the pot. Remove as much of the old potting medium as you can. Gently peel off dead or dying leaves, and any dead tissue on the stem left behind after you removed the leaves. Using a sharp and clean razor blade, cut off any dead tissue from the roots. If in doubt, gently squeeze the roots : dead tissue is hollow when squeezed or looks wiry, while live tissue is solid. When you’re happy with it, proceed with the repotting itself : gently place the roots in the pot and slide them down until the base of the bottom leaf is slightly above the rim of the pot. Push potting medium into the air spaces around the roots, making sure not to leave any air pockets, until the level of the potting medium is just below the base of the lower leaves, and press gently. Breathe, we’re almost there.
Wait, it’s not finished? Now you just need to water your orchid thoroughly. Simply soak the plant, pot and all, in a bucket of tepid water for an hour or so, then let it dry thoroughly, allowing it to drain completely. One last thing : discard any water left in the drip pan. You did a fantastic job.
Check on my noble dendrobium
Watch out for spider mites, aphids and scale insects!
First, those infamous spiders! They're actually not spiders, but a type of mite. They suck the sap, causing the leaves to turn a marbled yellow-white-silver, and the mites sometimes spin tiny webs. These mites mainly attack the back of the leaves : moisten a cotton pad and swab underneath the leaves — if you notice tiny little red marks, someone's home. To get rid of them, here's a simple trick: these spiders hate water! Spray a fine mist of water on your leaves to get rid of them. You can add dish soap, vegetable oil, o rubbing alcohol into the water for extra effect. If you have more than one plants, isolate any web-infested plant, as spider mites breed quickly from pot to pot.
For aphids and scale insects, it's a little easier as those are usually detectable with the naked eye. Should you spot an aphid - recognizable by its pear-shaped body - or scale insects, spraying the soap and water should take care of the problem if the infestation is relatively new. If the insects have established their headquarters on your beloved orchid, the next level of treatment is probably a chemical insecticide.
As a general rule, you should always check your orchid regularly for signs of infestation and remove potential problems as quickly as possible : the sooner the better. Also, most infestations spread from one plant to the other : always give extra attention when introducing a new plant in your collection. And the final word is : don't give up. If you are battling an infestation, repeat treatments every ten days or so : persistance is the key.
Propagate my noble dendrobium
Take the keikis that form on the upper nodes in the spring.
Easy to recognize, they form aerial roots and look like mini plants. Wait until their roots are about ten centimeters. Dip them in non-calcareous water, then repot them in a mixture of pine bark.