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Cymbidium Orchids

These orchids are renowned for their ease of care, hardiness, beauty and exotic mystique. The bulbs we are supplying will flower within 18-24 months & bulb size will vary greatly from variety to variety.

Basic care:
Cymbidium are quite simple to grow if you provide the following basics:

  • Start with a potting mix specifically designed for orchids & a 6"-7" pot
  • 1/2 to 1/3 bury the bulb
  • Place the pot under soft lighting
  • Keep the soil moist
  • Protect the flowering spikes from snails.
However, we've also provided quite a lot of detailed information below to satisfy the information needs of the keen Orchid growers.
Preferred location & lighting: In general, Cymbidiums like a spot with protection from hot sun, heavy winds & direct frosts where the atmosphere is bright & airy. A covered, north facing verandah or patio is ideal.
Orchids are also excellent under deciduous trees or lightly shaded trees. Positions open to the south west winds of Winter tend to be too cold whilst those with Northerly positions tend to get too hot and "sun burnt" in Summer.
Naturally, if you plant in pots, Orchids can easily be moved by the season!
Note: If your orchid is growing lush green leaves & few flowers, this is generally an indications that your orchids are too shaded.
Tip: Keeping your orchids off the ground will also enhance their< performance because it increases airflow through the pot & helps keep the slugs, snails & bugs out of the potting mix. Try placing a couple of bricks under either side of the pot to keep it off the ground.
Judging the ideal light level: It's easy to test for the ideal level of light by holding out your hand. If it casts a light shadow, then this is the ideal light level.
Potting your orchids: Orchids are best potted in a orchid potting mix because most soils can not offer sufficient drainage. The bulbs we supply can comfortably fit into a 6"-7" pot & be left there for about 3 years (or until the bulbs are crowded against the edges of the pot).
The bulbs should only be 1/3 - 1/2 buried which is deep enough to anchor the bulbs but not deep enough to induce rotting.
Suitable climates: Orchids can most easily be grown in the cooler climates of Australia but they do not flower in areas where Winter temperatures do not drop below 50C. Generally, the more mild the climate, the poorer the flowering.
Frost: Orchids will endure temperatures as low as -20C or -30C (280F). However, if a heavier frost threatens, it is best to protect the plant (eg: cover it or move the pot indoors overnight).
Watering: Cymbidiums require water all year round. Although these plants are quite drought proof, they will not flourish (or flower) if allowed to dry out for long periods. It is ideal to keep the soil slightly moist. In Summer this means you may have to water 2 - 3 times a week & in Winter maybe once a week if the plant is under cover.
Soil: Cymbidiums have thick roots which are designed to grow on trees & in leaf litter and hence require plenty of air around them. Because of this Cyms will not grow well in normal soils or potting mixes because they are generally too heavy. Therefore it is ideal to plant in a Orchid mix which is easily purchased from most nurseries & garden centres.
Fertilising: Feeding is critical to flowering because without sufficient food, the plant's bulbs will not grow large enough to flower in the following year. The easiest way to feed your Orchids is by applying a slow release fertilsier in Spring (eg: Osmocote 8-9 months at the recommended dosage).
For even better results, you can supplement a slow release fertiliser with liquid feeding during the warmer months (again, at the recommended dose).
Dividing your orchids: If in doubt, do not disturb the plants because most
cymbidiums bloom better when potbound. However, after a number of years (possibly
3 or 4), your orchids will have multiplied to the point where the outer bulbs
are pushing against the edges of the pot. At this point you can divide the plants
(This should be done after flowering).

To do so successfully, it is first necessary to understand that an Orchid plant consists of three types of bulbs:
  1. Old back bulbs without leaves. These hold an emergency reserve of food for the plant.
  2. Old bulbs with leaves. These bulbs support the growth & produce the flowers.
  3. New leads or bulbs which form most of the new growth & flowers which are yet to come.
When dividing your Orchids, leave at least one of the old back bulbs (type 1), two of the old bulbs (type 2) attached to the new bulb (type 3) in order for the plant to flower in the following year.
To divide the plant into two or more new plants, unpot the plant & tease apart the roots at the point between two clumps so that all the old mix has been removed. Then simply twist & tear the bulb apart. Cut off all dead roots before replanting.
Tip: Keep the new divisions as large as possible so you do not retard their flowering ability.
Pre-potting: When re-potting, tease open the old roots (even if they have to be cut to do so) and remove all the old dead roots that are often in the middle of the plant.
Plants are best re-potted every 2 - 4 years otherwise the number of flowers will decrease.
Pests & Problems: The flower spikes must be protected from snails. Don't forget that these big eaters can hid under the rim of your pots!
Cutting the flowers: Cut orchid flowers have incredibly long lives with each flower having the capacity to last 2 to 3 weeks once cut. If left on the plant, each flower will last an even more amazing 4 to 12 weeks.
Feeding: As with most plants, regular feeding of your orchids will give the best results.

This information has been collated with the help of Collector's Corner nursery.

Last Reviewed: 13/02/2004 11:30:33 AM
Keywords: Cymbidium Orchids, plant care, garden care, garden tip, plant guide, garden guide, perennial, flower bulb, spring bulb

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