Cymbidium Orchids – Species and Hybrids
Cymbidium Orchid Care
Cymbidium orchids (also known as Boat Orchids) are known
for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, and are a popular cut flower
for tropical flower arrangements, wedding flowers, and corsages.
are two main types of cymbidiums - standards and miniatures.
cymbidium orchids are more cold-tolerant that other common orchid
species. Miniatures are more heat tolerant and flower
nicely in warm weather climates.
season is during the winter, the best time for displaying plant
indoors. Flowers grow in beautiful sprays. Spikes
shoot up from pseudobulbs every season.
orchids thrive in semi-shade (50%) during the growing season. If they
are moved outdoors during the summer (after the threat of frost), avoid
direct sunlight – minimal sunlight in the morning, and shade in the
Apple green (golden green) leaves are a signal that your cymbidium
orchid plant is receiving the correct amount of light.
They are more cold-tolerant than other popular orchids. Mature
cymbidiums need a long period of cold temperature bloom. Miniatures can
withstand warmer temperatures and still produce blooms.
temperature during the summer should be 75° to 85 F° (or more). During
late summer to autumn, night temperatures must be 50° to 60° F to
initiate flower spikes.
During winter, temperatures should be
45° to 55° F at night and 65° to 75° F during the day. When orchids are
in bloom, temperatures should be constant - between 55° and 75 F°.
Bring cymbidiums indoors to a bright, cool location when temperatures
dip below 40° F.
Miniature cymbidium orchids can stand temperatures five to ten degrees
higher than standard species and still flower.
During the growing season (usually spring through late summer), use a
high nitrogen fertilizer (30-10-10).
late summer, switch to a high-phosphorus, fertilizer (10- 30-20), to
encourage bloom spikes. During this time fertilize at full strength
every week to two weeks.
During the winter months, fertilize once a month.
the growth season, keep soil evenly moist – water thoroughly to reduce
salt build-up. Reduce the amount of watering when pseudobulbs
reach full growth (usually late summer).
Reduce watering during
the winter – although do not allow the soil to completely
Soil should be slightly damp to the touch.
most climates, outdoor humidity during the summer is sufficient. If you
live in dry climate, you may need to grow your orchids in a greenhouse.
During the winter, 40% to 50% humidity is ideal - especially if plants
are in bud.
nature, cymbidium orchids grow thin roots in loamy humus. At home, a
loose organic potting mixture or a commercial paphiopedilum mix can be
used. Many orchid growers recommend using fir bark, perlite, peat moss,
and other loose organic material in some combination.
best time to propagate is when your cymbidium orchid stops flowering
(typically late spring). Cymbidiums require potting every two years (or
when potting medium decomposes).
- Find the oblong growths at the base of the orchid. The
growths (pseudobulbs) can be propagated for new plants.
a flat work space with butcher paper or newspaper. Tilt the orchid pot
sideways and gently remove the plant from the pot. Remove as much of
the potting mix from the root ball as possible.
a section of the orchid roots that have at least three pseudobulbs.
Gently pull it away from the main plant. Separate by working your
fingers through the root ball. If necessary, use a sharp knife to cut
through the smaller roots of the orchid (avoid cutting major roots).
Note: Each division
should have at least three pseudobulb growths.
ideal pot is 6 inches in diameter and has a drainage hole in the
bottom. To ensure proper drainage, place 1 in/2.5 cm of pebbles, broken
pottery pieces, or other drainage material in the bottom of the orchid
pot. Fill the pot 1/2 full of orchid compost - usually consists of a
mixture of peat moss, bark, sand and other matter.
the pseudobulbs on top of the soil (growths should be pointed towards
the middle of the pot). If you are planting several pseudobulbs per
pot, space them two inches apart from each other. Fill in potting
mixture around the bulbs, 2/3 of the bulbs should be visible above the
- Water the soil until it is completely
moist. Place newly planted orchid bulbs in a shady location. Expect
roots to develop in approximately 2 1/2 months.
Cymbidium orchids can last many years when propagated by division.
and spring are the best times to purchase cymbidiums since that is when
their flowers bloom. Choose plants with golden green leaves, which are
free of pests (aphids, scales, and spider mites).
in a window that receives bright light. A cool section of the home is
ideal. For humidity, add a humidifier to the room or place pot on a
tray of gravel filled with a small amount of water.
Other Types of Orhcids