Growing Cymbidium Orchids

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Growing Cymbidium Orchids

Cool growing orchids need a minimum of 7C - 10C (45 - 50F) during the winter and a maximum of 24C (75F) during the summer

Cymbidiums - mothers day orchids

This is one of the most often seen orchids and is found in bridal bouquets quite often as well as being given on mothers day, these are the ones you see in a little box containing a single bloom in a tiny jar filled with water. These orchids can be difficult to flower as they are often over cared for!. Cymbidiums require cool nights during the summer and a definite rise in temperature during the day of at least 5C (10F) if you want to see flowers rather than a plant pot of sword like leaves. They do not like draughts or extremes of temperature and are best kept out doors in a bright position but not in direct sun during the summer and early autumn - they must be kept frost free though otherwise they WILL die.

Stonehurst Miniature 'Delight ' AM/RHS photo by Clive Brooks

Stonehurst Miniature 'Delight ' AM/RHS photo by Clive Brooks

Light requirements

Cymbidiums like high levels of sunlight but not directly otherwise the leaves will scorch. Keep outdoors in summer and in a well lit position indoors during the winter, avoiding the direct rays of the sun.

Watering requirements

These plants have very thick roots which have a sponge like quality; useful during the summer months as a reservoir for the plant but not so useful during the winter when over watering can be disastrous if they are kept cold and wet. Water during the winter at 10 - 14 day intervals and water them by flushing the pot through with tepid water - not cold from outside or the tap as this will shock the roots. During the summer months they can be watered a couple of times a week in warm weather, less often if it's cooler. Don't be tempted to give a 'little drink' to your plant because it is damp and not quite dry as they don't like it - give it a couple more days and give them a good flush through. This also helps to flush out any unused plant food.

How to tell a Cymbidium flower spike from a growth  2001 Orchid-Guide.com
A new Cymbidium flowering spike A new bulb 'growth'

note the difference between this spear shaped spike growth and the new bulb growth shown above - the bulb growth clearly has leaves growing whereas this flower spike is smooth

 2001 Orchid-Guide.com Feeding requirements

During the winter months feed the plant no more than once a month otherwise the roots may be burns by unused plant food. From spring to mid summer feed them every 2nd or 3rd watering with a high nitrogen plant food which will encourage strong growth and big pseudo bulbs to develop, from mid summer through to the following spring use a high potash feed to harden the pseudo bulbs and encourage more blooms.- Dilute the plant food to half to a quarter the recommendation your pack suggests.

Left: A typical Cymbidium plant not in flower

Annan Cooksbridge  AM/RHS photo by Clive Brooks

Annan Cooksbridge  AM/RHS photo by Clive Brooks

Re-potting schedule

Repotting Cymbidiums should be done every second year and should be done in the spring as the new growth has started. This is also a good time to split large plants in to 2 or more divisions, after all they make excellent presents!. See division for instructions. Use a good open mix of bark compost which will allow swift drainage of the excess water.

Take a look at the Division page for information on repotting a bulb type orchid like Cymbidium, Odontoglossum etc.

Here's some useful equipment you may need with summer on the horizon
Thermometers | Thermostats | Humidity Gauges

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