Dendrobium nobile

Dendrobium nobile is one of our favourite species. Its large and striking flowers are as arresting in the greenhouse as they are in the forests of Sikkim (see wild plants below) where it is the state flower.

In the nursery we have several clones including the creamy white var. virginalis. Plants develop groups of flowers produced all along the pseudobulbs that grew during the summer of 2022. The 2023 bulbs are the ones with fresh green leaves and these will flower next spring. If you look closely at the wild plants on their tree in Sikkim the newest bulbs (non-flowering) grow vertically, the previous year's growths are the ones with the flowers on and are roughly horizontal while older non-flowering bulbs become pendulous. This interesting growth habit is a reason why we don't steak our plants alowing them to adopt their natural habit.

The wild plants in Sikkim also show a wide range of colour forms and this one tree demonstrates the variability of the species with dark forms, light forms, rounded flowers and more pointed flowers. (see below) The tree also shows the habitat clearly with plants growing in dappled shade from tall trees and a little moss on the trunk showing that the dry season is far from bone dry here. In fact we found that it rains every few days in the dry season at this altitude 1200m. 

In cultivation we grow the species in both our Himalayan greenhouse (minimum 7C) and in the roof of our cloud forest greenhouse (min 12C) and plants are happy in each providing we keep the plants wet in summer and damp in winter, never allowing bulbs to shrivel.

Do visit Sikkim if you get the chance, and find this lovely species in flower on trees along the roadside in April and May.