Cultural Notes – Dendrobium – Nobile Type

Softcane, or Nobile type Dendrobiums grow naturally in Northern India & Thailand at elevations up to 1500 metres in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.

Temperature These species and their hybrids are hardy plants that will tolerate temperatures from 3° celcius to temperatures in the high thirties. They are easy plants to grow providing some basic rules are followed.

Watering & Fertilising. To grow Softcane Dendrobiums well, different seasonal treatment is required. After flowering in October increase watering & gradually increase fertiliser. Soluable ‘flower-booster’ fertiliser at recommended strength is preferred. By November when growths are 100mm or more high, water plants every second day and include fertiliser at least once per week. Maintain this treatment until new growths are nearly mature, say February or March. Reduce water & fertiliser so that by April, plants are receiving no nitrogen fertiliser at all. Water sparingly, just enough to prevent bulbs from shrivelling, until plants flower in Spring.

Light. Cover the plants with 30-50% shade in Summer to prevent burn to new growths, however, these plants love lots of Winter light, even full sun during the Winter months is beneficial to flowering. This may involve removing shadecloth in Winter or moving the plants out into the sun at that time. Some growers even hang them on the clothes line. As the heat of the sun increases, usually about flowering time, replace the shadecloth or move the plants back under cover.

Compost. Plants should be grown in a well drained medium such as bark chips, washed coconut husk chips, perlite, charcoal or a mix of all four. Even some added styrene, gravel or charcoal will make a good free draining medium. Pots should be as small as possible and avoid over potting. Repot soon after flowering and before new growth starts to develop roots. These orchids will grow onto trees in the gardens. Callistemon, Frangipani, Jacaranda or similar are suitable.

Softcane Dendrobiums are easy orchids to grow provided they are given plenty of water & fertiliser in Summer, with no nitrogen fertiliser, little water & plenty of light during Winter.

Tinonee Orchid Nursery