Ask a Question forum: Cymbidium orchids

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Name: Lisa Olson
Washington DC (Zone 7a)
May 30, 2016 12:06 PM CST
Neighbor gave me a huge cymbidium. I have had success with Phalaenopsis but have no clue how to care for this type of orchid. Suggestions?
Thumb of 2016-05-30/5601Lisa/f04e41

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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May 30, 2016 1:27 PM CST
Wow, it's a beauty, Lisa. Needs a new pot, though. Cyms are terrestrial orchids so you can pot it in regular potting soil with some extra perlite mixed in. A couple of mine were potted in chunks of coco fiber, which also seems to work well if you can get some. I'd still mix it with some potting soil.

Water generously and fertilize like you would any other container plant. It would probably do well with some morning sun, afternoon shade, or if you have a spot under a tree with dappled shade that would go well, too.

They like some chill in winter but can't take freezing weather, so you can leave it out in fall until the nights fall below about 40deg. then bring it in to somewhere cool, but not too cold. It will keep its leaves all winter, so somewhere with a window or at least some natural light indoors is good.

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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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May 30, 2016 1:40 PM CST
Cymbidiums are easy. They are terrestrials that need shade outside and do best outside until it gets too cold. They are pretty frost hardy (down to 35 or so) - I lived in zone 8 in California and left them outside until bloom spikes started to develop (usually late fall or winter for spring bloom). Then I put them in an unheated greenhouse - The spikes will wither if the temps are high so find a cool place to winter over.

They do best when rootbound but each bulb blooms once, grows two new bulbs and then its done. If you have a lot of those (dormant backbulbs) with no leaves, they are just using space so need to be removed. I don't see any in yours - it looks good. But if there is no room for new bulbs to form, Cym's will, literally, break the pot. Move it to a larger pot or divide it into two or more plants. Pot in a 50:50 mix of regular potting soil and orchid bark.

Water (damp but not soggy) and fertilize with 1/2 strength fertilizer in the summer months.

That's about it.


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