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DENDROBIUM nobile

Image of Dendrobium nobile

James H. Schutte

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

DENDROBIUM nobile

Plant Common Name

Dendrobium, Noble Dendrobium, Sentinel Orchid

General Description

Perfect for cool greenhouses or minimally heated winter sunrooms, Dendrobium nobile and its many hybrids are grown for their winter to spring profusion of showy fragrant blooms. In the wild it grows on tree trunks and rocks in temperate, upland forests from the lower Himalayas to Vietnam.

This semi-evergreen perennial carries long lance-shaped leaves on slender, cane-like, 6- to 24-inch (15- to 60-cm) "pseudobulbs." In winter and spring, numerous small clusters of fragrant flowers are borne on branching stems that emerge from the leaf axils. The waxy, long-lasting flowers are white, pink, or purple with deeper-tinged margins. The lip has a maroon eye-blotch. Sometimes young plantlets, called keikis, form on mature cane-stalks.

This frost-intolerant orchid does best in bright partial shade, mild summers, and cool, dry winters. Plant it in a container in a coarse "orchid mix", or anchor it to a tree limb or rock crevice. Water freely in spring and summer, reducing and eventually withholding water when leaves yellow in fall. Resume watering when buds appear in winter. Use it as an accent in a small tree or as a specimen houseplant.

Numerous hybrids, or grexes, have been developed from this species, providing an amazing array of flower colors, and requiring similar growing conditions.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    24

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10"-25" / 25.4cm - 63.5cm

  • Width

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Winter, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, India, Nepal, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Purple, Pink, Burgundy, Dark Red, Ivory

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No