Dendrobium nobile

Source: MaX Fulcher

Dendrobium nobile

The genus Dendrobium is one of the most recognized and cultivated orchids.

The species which are commercially available, are hybrids of Dendrobium nobile and Dendrobium phalaenopsis.

It has great success as a house-plant because of the ease with which it can be kept beautiful and long blooming.

It belongs to the family Orchidaceae, sub-family Epidendroideae, tribe Dendrobieae, sub-tribe Dendrobiinae and contains more than 1,500 species.


Most species are epiphytic, sometimes lithofytic.

Dendrobium is a sympodial orchid with oblong or oval pseudo-bulbs, which can be 2 m long in some species.

The stem is grass or reed-like. The leaves are oval and usually scattered along the stem or clustered at the top of the stem.

All species produce flowers in a bunch at the top of a flower stem, with few to more than a hundred flowers.


Tropical Asia and Australasia with the highest density in Malaysia.


Dendrobium lives in widely varying habitats, from lowland tropical rain forest to the cool mountain forests of the Himalayas and even the Australian desert.


The name Dendrobium derives from the ancient Greek dendron (tree) and bios (life), which refers to the habitat of these plants.

Dendrobium phalaenopsis

Source: Own work

Dendrobium phalaenopsis



Dendrobium nobile hybrids: may spend the summer in the garden.
Dendrobium phalaenopsis hybrids: may be kept indoors year round with a minimum temperature of 16 °C.


Lots of light but no direct sunlight, e.g. a window facing east.


Prefers rainwater at room temperature: tap water contains too much calcium.

Do not pour water in the heart of the plant but only on the substrate and when the substrate is dry: over watering may cause rot.

Dendrobium nobile hybrids do not need to be watered in the winter. Start watering again when the flower buds are clearly visible.

Dendrobium phalaenopsis hybrids may be wet all year round.


Dendrobium will usually settle for the humidity as it occurs in a house or garden.


Most Dendrobium are epiphytic: that means that is does not grow in the ground but on trees and shrubs.

So you should not plant them in regular potting soil but in a special orchid substrate composed of bark, peat moss and perlite or pumice.

This specially adapted substrate provides the necessary support to the plant (so it will not fall over), provide a good aeration of the roots and retain water.


Use only special liquid orchid fertilizer with 20-20-20. Fertilize regularly during the growing season because the substrate contains very few nutrients. Reduce fertilization dramatically in winter.


When the substrate is digested, in principle every two years. Use small pots.


Dendrobium nobile hybrids bloom in winter, after spending some time in a cooler place.Dendrobium phalaenopsis hybrids bloom in summer.



The old stems can be cut into segments and placed on fresh and moist (not wet) orchid substrate. New plants will soon be formed.