Information on Cymbidiums

Cymbidiums (sim-bid-ee-um) are native to India, Nepal, Burma, China, and Japan and through Malaysia to Australia usually growing at high altitudes.  They are the most widely grown orchids in the southern states of Australia.  The modern Cymbidium hybrid is classified as standard, intermediate and miniature.  Standards, with the largest flowers are hard to flower in tropical and sub-tropical areas.  Most early spikes damp off during hot humid weather unless plants are protected.  Plants flowering from mid-winter to early spring are more reliable.  The flowers will last for several weeks.  New growth starts to develop while the plants are still flowering.  Cymbidiums require plenty of air movement and light especially during the hot summer months.

Temperature: Cymbidiums are cool growing orchids but intermediate and miniature types adapt to our warmer climate with limited flowering success.

Light: They can tolerate the morning sun and require filtered light for best results.  Under trees where foliage is not too dense is ideal but watch the leaves for burning. Insufficient light is a major cause of non-flowering.  A shade cloth of (50%) is suitable.

Watering: They should be kept moist but not wet, as this will cause the roots to rot.  Watering is required more frequently in spring and summer and once a week during the cooler months.  Misting during warmer periods can be helpful.

Fertilizing: Cymbidiums are gross feeders.  A slow release fertilizer applied during early spring and early summer and a weekly application of a liquid fertilizer to supplement the slow release fertilizer is recommended.

Repotting: This is best done after flowering when the plant has reached the outside of the pot or the mix has broken down.  In any case it should be done every 2 – 3 years. Divisions should have a minimum of 3 bulbs.  Back bulbs will usually put up a new growth even though they look quite dry and past their best.  Select a pot that will allow a two-year growth but do not over pot.  Cymbidium mix is available commercially.

Pests: Snails, grasshoppers and red spider mite are some of the most prevalent pests.

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