Dendrobium nobile care & info

If you’re looking for an orchid with beautiful flowers but don’t want to go for regular old Phalaenopsis, look no further. Dendrobium nobile is known for its abundant, colorful and long-lasting flowers that grow on cane-shaped stems. Not the easiest houseplant to grow but more than worth it once it shows its stunning blooms!

Keep reading for everything you need to know about Dendrobium nobile care and growing Dendrobium nobile in your own home.

Name(s) (common, scientific)Noble Dendrobium, Dendrobium nobile
Difficulty levelModerate
Recommended lightingBright
WaterWhen almost dry
Soil typeOrchid mix

Dendrobium nobile care

Dendrobium nobile is naturally found in the lower Himalayas. Here, it grows in forested areas as an epiphyte on rocks and trees. The circumstances in natural habitat have lead it to develop some very season-specific demands. Luckily, these are not impossible to imitate at home if you keep in mind what the seasons in these areas naturally look like.

Winters are dry and plenty of light reaches the orchids because taller trees lose their leaves. Summers, on the other hand, are rainy, warmer and a little more shaded.

Dendrobium orchid cane with white flowers on white background | Full Dendrobium care guide

Dendrobium nobile light, location & temperature

Light

Because Dendrobium nobile orchids naturally grow in deciduous forests, the amount of light they are used to receiving varies between the seasons. They love plenty of light but direct Summer sun a little too much to handle for them in most cases. Try shielding your Dendrobium nobile with a thin curtain during this period.

Winter sun is less harsh and the plant should be able to handle as much as you can give it.

Location

Because their requirements change with the seasons, these orchids don’t usually do well in the same spot all year.

Most orchid lovers move their Dendrobium nobiles outside for Summer and keep them indoors near the lightest possible window during Wintertime.

Temperature

Temperature is another important thing to consider. Room temperature works great for most of the year but a cooler period is needed during Fall and Winter to stimulate blooming.

As long as day- and  nighttime temperatures vary quite a bit and nighttime temps stay in the 50’s (10-15 °C) this orchid should produce lovely flowers.

Tip: Leaving your Dendrobium nobile outdoors for just a little longer than you would most plants can help, although it should always be taken indoors before the first frost. Some sources even recommend placing the plants in the refrigerator at night!

Dendrobium nobile soil and planting

Like many other orchids, Dendrobiums are epiphytes. This means they naturally grow on rocks and trees in a non-parasitic way. They won’t appreciate being planted in regular potting soil. Instead, go for a very light mixture that allows any excess water to quickly drain while still retaining some moisture. A regular high quality orchid mix should work just fine.

You can plant your Dendrobium nobile in a normal plastic orchid pot. The pot doesn’t have to be very large, which means repotting is only necessary when the plant is very root bound or if the growing medium is starting to break down. If either of these things is happening just go one pot size up or divide the plant.

When dividing, be sure to leave at least four canes (pseudobulbs) on each plant to prevent issues.

Pflanze-Dendrobium1-Asio
Photo by Asio otus [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Watering Dendrobium nobile

Like most aspects of Dendrobium nobile care your watering schedule should vary between the seasons. In this plant’s natural habitat Summers are wet and rainy while Winters are dry, which means normal watering year-round can result in rot!

Water as soon as the potting mix has gone dry during the warm months when your Dendrobium nobile is actively growing.

Once temperatures have dropped and the plant stops growing, reduce waterings to just once every few weeks to imitate the dry season. Keep this up until Spring rolls around and flowers start to form.

Dendrobium nobile fertilizer

The rules for feeding Dendrobium nobile are the usual: use an orchid fertilizer that encourages leaf growth once every few weeks depending on how fast the plant is growing. Stop fertilizing around Fall and don’t start again until the plant is (almost) done flowering and ready to start growing again.

Don’t forget to dilute your fertilizer to prevent root damage!

Buying Dendrobium nobile

Even though Dendrobium nobile is one of the most popular orchid houseplants, you might have a little trouble finding it. Many stores only carry Phalaenopsis, the highly popular moth orchid.

Try larger stores and garden centers or order online.

Is Dendrobium nobile toxic to cats and dogs?

Orchids from the Dendrobium genus are not known to be toxic to pets. Yay!


If you have any more questions about Dendrobium nobile care or want to share your own experiences with this beautiful orchid, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Cover photo: Dendrobium nobile by blackpictures


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