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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens


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CYMBIDIUM Orchid

On the West Coast of the U.S. and in other cool-summer areas with no severe frost, Cymbidiums are among the most popular of spring flowering Orchids. There, they are often grown as garden plants and usually bloom in late winter or early spring. They produce striking sprays of long-lasting blooms which can be used as cut flowers. Cymbidiums are terrestrial orchids and require a moisture-retentive, well-draining mix such as fir bark. If given the cooler temperatures they require to flourish and bloom, these plants can be grown successfully as houseplants.

LIGHT: Very bright light is important for healthy, blooming plants. This means partial to full sun in in cooler climates and partial shade in warmer climates. In full-sun environments, be sure to provide for plenty of air movement to cool sun-lit leaves.

TEMPERATURE: Mature plants need cool night temperatures in late summer to bloom. Provide night temperatures of 50° to 60° and day temperatures of 70° to 85°. Cymbidiums can tolerate extreme temperatures from the high 30's, to the high 90's if shading, humidity and air circulation are increased. Some have tried putting a vew ice cubes in the pot to aid in keeping roots cool and damp.

WATER & HUMIDITY: Mature plants must not be allowed to dry out. Water often enough to keep the potting medium moist at all times. Provide for 50-60% humidity. Place plants on trays of pebbles partially filled with water, being careful not to let the pot sit in water. The use of a humidifier may also help. Feed with a balanced orchid fertilizer mixed at 1/2 the recommended rate at every watering. Feed less in the winter months.

Repot every 2 years in the spring after flowering. Use a well draining orchid bark mix and make sure to tamp it in firmly between the roots. The plant needs to be secure and stable in the pot. Cymbidiums do not mind being a bit rootbound.

These plants are sometimes available in late winter. When they are, they are usually grown in 5" or 6" pots.