The Plant: An extravagant, oriental orchid, cymbidiums produce long sprays of waxy flowers in a variety of colours, creamy white through to rich magenta, above tough strap-like grass-green leaves. It it native to many tropical areas in the world and can either be epiphytic or terrestrial.
They all have stunning flowers on either short or long arching racemes. A magnificent sight if you venture across a tree-growing epiphytic variety. When grown as houseplants, Cymbidium Orchids normally flower in the winter months – an added attraction.
This group of orchids can be a little untidy in that the houseplant types normally have long strap-like leaves. The flowers emerge from the base on long stems. Most can be grown either fully ot partially as epiphytes if wired to an old attractive tree trunk – or substantial moss pole which will also aid humidity.
Many varieties have bulbous swellings which are mistaken for bulbs.
The Cymbidium is classed as a cool area orchid, so does not require high, humid temperatures – especially in the winter. However, they are generally not hardy enough to withstand freezing or near frost temperatures.
Its needs: Bright light essential but avoid direct sun. Good ventilation required to keep Cymbidiums healthy, and in particular a generally cool environment. Cooler temperatures are particularly important at night for success with flowering and overall plant well being. A specialist orchid potting mix should be used which allows very good drainage.
General Care: Water freely throughout the summer growing season, and use a specialist orchid fertiliser once a month. Mist spray in hot weather. Re-pot only if plant has really outgrown its container. This should be done immediately after flowering but only if really necessary. It is far better to have this orchid pot bound.
Therein lies a small problem in that the plant can become top-heavy in a small restrictive pot. It can be kept tidy bu inserting a few light canes around the pot ot support the wayward foliage – bit do not tie the foliage I too tightly. It needs air circulation
Good for: Cymbidiums are excellent. Exotic, long-lasting, blooms make this an attractive gift.
For a few added plants, the main plant can be divided in early spring right after flowering. This works well with pot bound plants.
Otherwise pseudo bulbs can also be individually detached and re-potted – again after flowering.