A Time for Nobiles
By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
For everything, there is a season, and this is definitely the case with Dendrobium nobile, which signals the coming of spring. The Dendrobium orchids form the largest group in the Orchid family. Although Dendrobium nobile is a one of the most prolific bloomers, one problem has been that most nobile need colder weather than we can give them on Molokai to bloom fully. As a result, they only bloom reliably in Kalae.
If you do things right, the plants will reward you with massive blooms from the top to the bottom of the cane. If you don’t get too many flowers because you didn’t follow the recipe, there’s a consolation. You can cut the cane that didn’t bloom and lay it down, pressing it halfway into some potting mix. Keiki will form on the nodes which didn’t bloom. When the roots are strong, you can remove them from the cane and pot them, or you can attach it with staples onto a chunk of hapuu. I recently brought in about 100 of these warm bloomers from the Big Island and made them available through Kualapuu Market so the Hoolehua, Kualapuu, and Kalae hobbiest would have these plants to grow. They include Spring Dream ‘Apollon’ and ‘Kumiko’, Yellow Song ‘Canary’, Himezakura ‘Sanokku’, Sea Mary ‘Snow King’, Angel Smile ‘Kibi’, Fancy Angel ‘Lycee’ and Love Memory ‘Fizz’. Most are patented varieties and also have a light fragrance. With honohono orchids running late this year, the nobiles are an early treat telling us that hopefully, springtime has arrived.