It is always worth looking for new and interesting plants in unexpected places. Today and tomorrow I will post about two great houseplants that I bought when I least expected it. So I was buying bread and milk in Supavalu and I saw something on a Danish trolley by the tills and had to go and have a look. On the top shelf were dozens of white and white and purple Dendrobium nobile, an easy and lovely orchid. But half the shelf was packed with a yellow Dendrobium nobile. I have never seen such a think before. There are orange dendrobiums but I have never seen any thing like this colour in D. nobile. What was even better was that they were on sale at €3.99!
Of course they were not labelled. So I am just guessing at the grex and cultivar name but it seems likely – its not a guess so much as a google! If I am right then it is a hybrid produced by Yamamoto orchids in Hawaii. They have bred D. nobile hybrids not just for their looks but their tolerance of warmth, especially in winter. But this is just supposition.
Dendrobium nobile is a Chinese orchid that is naturalised in Hawaii, like so many other introduced species. The plant has biennial canes so they grow one year and bloom the following spring, rather like a shrubby euphorbia. Although it likes heat in summer it needs a cool, dry, dormant period in winter. The flowers are usually white and purple and mauve or pure white and they are lightly scented. The flowers last a month or so and then the plant can be rested for a few weeks but next year’s flowers depend on the growth they make this year so they need to be watered and fed all summer and into autumn so the new stems they produce are tall and strong to produce lots of flowers. Typically the stems drop some leaves at or by flowering time but some of the hybrids do not do this. But do not worry if the leaves on your flowering stems turn yellow and drop.
I have to say that the fragrance on this yellow one is very weak but that could be the plant or the environment since orchids often have a very elusive fragrance. It is a nice addition to the stock of easy orchids and a welcome new plant in my house.