The Cymbidium group is a subfamily of the Epidendrum, with over 45 species. This group is made up of two main types, standard size and miniatures. Their waxy flowers are long lasting and often used in corsages and cut flower arrangements.
How to keep your Cymbidium healthy!
The name “Cymbidium” comes from the latin word cymba, which means boat, referring to the shape of the lip. Like Cattleyas, they store water and nutrients in pseudobulbs. They bloom on the mature new growth of the plant. Most Cymbidiums bloom between December and April depending on the specific species or hybrid.
Light: Bright, indirect light. Ideally, as much light as possible, in areas such as sunrooms, or southern facing windowsills. When growing outside, they can tolerate cool morning sun until about 10 am and grow well under shade of large trees. The leaves should be medium green, leaves that are deep green are a result of too little light.
Temperature: The ideal temperature during the day is 65 to 85°F. Cymbidiums can grow outside in semi-shade areas in these temperatures, however the night temperatures should be between 50-60°F during the fall months, with winter night temperatures between 45-55°F. Bring the plants inside if colder than 35°F. These orchids can easily been grown outside in milder climates.
Watering: It is preferable to water in the morning hours. Cymbidiums should never be allow to dry out completely. These terrestrial orchids need to be watered 2 times per week in winter, and 2-3 times per week during the long days of summer. If the leaf tips begin to turn black or brown, this is a sign of water deficiency or water with a high salt level. Keeping your Cymbidium moist during the flowering period will significantly extend the flower life of the blooms.
Special note: Orchids in decorative containers should be watered once a week with 1/3 cup of water. Allow 1-5 minutes of soaking, then tilt container to drain excess.
Feeding: Cymbidiums are medium feeders and require fertilizing every third watering most of the year. Use Gubler’s Pro Blend Orchid Food 19-8-16. This formula is exactly what we use to grow our Cymbidiums. Stop feeding with high nitrogen foods in late August through October. (A fertilizer high in Phosphorus, such as a 10-20-10 food can be used, but is not necessary).
Repotting: Should be done once every 12 to 18 months. It is best to repot after the Cymbidium is done flowering. Plants that have overgrown their container should be potted into a suitable container the next size larger. You may choose any container, provided it has good bottom drainage. We do not recommend pots with slits on the side. Transplant using Gubler’s Orchid Grow Mix, Fine Grade.
Cymbidium orchids can also be planted directly into the ground in mild climates, under shade. Fill the hole with our Fine mix, then plant. This will help your orchid adjust as it begins to grow into the soil.
If you choose to divide your cymbidum, be sure that your division has at least 3-4 bulbs (with leaves). Please keep in mind that plants that are divided generally do not bloom on the next flowering cycle.
What to expect: Cymbidium flowers have been used in flower arrangements and corsages for decades. Flowers are medium sized with waxy pedals and are long lasting. Most Cymbidiums we hybridize bloom in the winter months, producing ten to sixteen flowers per stem. Flowers should last approximately four to six weeks, depending on your growing conditions. Cymbidiums are a good beginner orchid, and make a wonderful addition to any orchid collection.