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Dendrobium (Nobile and Ise) Care Sheet

 

           Dendrobium nobile hybrids are popular for their show of brightly colored flowers along the stems in late winter and early spring.  They are easy to grow, but they have a couple of unique cultural requirements.

            When the new growth begins in the spring, these Dendrobiums like to have an increase in water and fertilizer.  Culture during spring and summer should include bright filtered light, increased water, and fertilizer every two weeks (1 teaspoon per gallon of water soluble fertilizer).  In the fall, cultural needs change drastically.  Bright light and reduced fertilizer will help to initiate flower buds.  Water normally so that the bulbs do not shrivel.  Buds will appear when the night temperatures are cooler and the growths have fully matured. This is usually in mid-winter, with blooms opening in January and February.

            Our newer Nobile and Ise hybrids are warmth tolerant and do not require as much cooling to set flower buds.  They do like to be outside during the summer, so the temperatures will drop in the evening.  You can leave them out until fall, but bring inside before the first frost.  They bloom well under moderate temperatures.

            Do not over pot the plants.  They like to be root-bound and do well in relatively small pots.  They will grow well in plastic or clay pots.   We usually grow them in well draining cypress or bark based media.

            Keikis or offshoots may form on the stems, and these may be potted as new plants when they start to form roots.  If plants produce all keikis and no blooms, too much fertilizer and temperatures too warm at night are usually to blame.

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Many other types of Dendrobiums have similar care to the above, though not all will drop leaves before flowering.  Water and feed well during the warmer growing months. During the autumn when new growths are mature cut back to almost no fertilizer and restrict water during the cooler months. Most all types need very bright light year round in order to flower well.  Some species may have additional special requirements.