All you need to know about Cymbidium orchids

Besides their flowers, their appeal also lies in how exceptionally easy they are to keep. One could almost say that they “thrive on neglect”, with even the most uncared for plant still having the chance to astound with its blooms.  With that in mind, providing your Cymbidium with its preferred growing conditions can only result in a riot of colour.  Continue reading for a few Cymbidium basics and then a guide of how to care for your Cymbidium through the year.

Cymbidium

The Colour combinations are endless

Cymbidium basics

  • Cymbidiums prefer a sheltered spot outside where they will receive at least a bit of morning sun whilst avoiding the harsh afternoon sunlight.
  • Space in the pot for new growth and the correct potting mix is essential.  Have a look at our re-potting article for a step-by-step guide on how to divide your Orchid.
  • Ensure that your Cymbidiums only gets water as soon the potting mix dries out.  Many plants die unnecessarily from being over watered.  The ideal potting mix usually consists of 3 parts bark nuggets and one part potting soil or coco peat with a handful of bone meal.
  • They require an area with adequate ventilation and filtered sunlight or morning sunlight.
Cymbidium

Upright growing varieties should be staked securely

Winter

  • Winter is the time of the year where all the love and care we have given our Cymbidiums come to fruition: flowering time!
  • Cymbidium orchids are able to take the cold, but their flowers can be damaged by severe weather. For this reason, I recommend moving them to a sheltered area as soon the flower spikes emerge.
  • It is also very important to know what flower habit your Cymbidium has. Pendulous flowering types should not be staked to allow their stems to cascade, making them perfect for hanging baskets. Upright flowering types should be staked as soon their flowers appear.
  • I prefer to use small strips of old stockings to stake the flower stems. Nylon stretches as the stem thickens. Anything from coated wire to hair clips can be used, just remember to adjust it as the stem gets bigger.
  • Water your Cymbidium once a week and always test the substrate to feel if it is still moist before watering. If it is still moist, shelve watering until the mix has dried out.
  • Feed fortnightly with a flowering orchid fertiliser.

 

Cymbidium roots

Spring will provide you with plenty of healthy new roots

Spring

  • Some Cymbidium varieties are late bloomers and can even start flowering as late as August. Thus, keep them in a cooler area to prolong the lifetime of the flowers. Time of flowering can also be affected by the weather. A late cold in winter will result in later flowering with certain varieties.
  • Spring would be the time to re-pot, depending on the space remaining in the pot for future growth. If I lost you a bit be there, be sure to have a look at our post on re-potting Cymbidiums.  Never re-pot your Cymbidiums if they are still in bloom.
  • Feed your Cymbidium fortnightly with a growing orchid fertiliser.
Cymbidium

Pendulous flowering Cymbidiums should be allowed to let their flowers cascade

Summer

  • Water more frequently as the heat increases. This will ensure better flowering during winter.
  • As the temperature rises the moisture in the air dries up quicker lowering the humidity level in the air. Cymbidiums and most of your orchids require a higher humidity than our common garden plants.
  • The humidity can be raised by mist spraying or by using the “tray method”. Place your plants on top of drip trays filled with gravel and water.  Ensure that the water level is not touching the bottom of the pot.  As it gets hotter, the water evaporates, increasing the humidity in the surrounding area.  This creates the ideal micro-climate around your orchid.

Autumn

  • Start feeding with an orchid fertiliser for flowering plants to guarantee an explosion of colour in winter. Adjust watering, proportionate to the weather.
  • Cymbidiums prefer an area with good air circulation whilst still being protected from harsh weather. Bear in mind that Cymbidiums won’t flower if kept indoors permanently, the cooler weather and day length shortening, facilitate flowering.
Cymbidium

The mass of blooms that Cymbidium produce never cease to amaze

This year we are in for a treat with Heckers hosting its first ever Cymbidium weekend.  Be sure to pop in and delight in the display of Cymbidium orchids that will grace our floor this coming event.  Bring colour into your living area with stunning Cymbidiums this winter!

(Thanks to Orchidology for permission to use their amazing photographs!)