Orchids forum: Pseudobulbs (cymbidium)

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Blackpool ,Lancashire, united
Nadine1977
Aug 13, 2017 1:03 PM CST
Hi please help..I have these pseudobulbs..But are they dead? and how do .i get them to grow? really appreciate any help or advice ...My location is Blackpool,Lancashire UK..there are 3 in 3 individual pots ..again thanks for taking the time to help
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 13, 2017 2:55 PM CST
Hi Nadine, you can tell if your bulbs are viable by just squeezing the bottom area of the bulb. If it is firm and they have a little bit of weight to them, they're just waiting for some soil, water and sun. If they are light, and squash or crumble easily, they're dead.

They look to me as if they may have dried out too much. Mine keep growing all year round, putting on new leaves and new bulbs in the summer, and setting flower spikes in winter. In cooler places, they do lose leaves and go dormant in winter but they should be growing now.

If you find them alive, just plant them with the base of the bulb in the soil. Then water sparingly until you see growth. I'd be inclined to put all 3 of them into one pot. Cyms like to be sort of cozy to grow well.
Elaine

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Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
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Australis
Aug 14, 2017 7:32 AM CST

Plants Admin

They do appear to have dried out, but Elaine is correct - if they are firm, then they should still be viable. I would also suggest removing the dead leaf husks from the outside of the bulbs. Make sure that they are in a good orchid media (not true soil, as most Cymbidiums are epiphytes). It may take up to 6 months to see grow from a backbulb (which is what you have - a leafless Cymbidium pseudobulb by itself), although many will start to grow after 3 months.
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Blackpool ,Lancashire, united
Nadine1977
Aug 14, 2017 7:35 AM CST
Thank you, I have them in a orchid bark mix from the nursery , but they do seem to of dried out Sad
Name: Joshua
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Australis
Aug 14, 2017 7:39 AM CST

Plants Admin

For reference, here are some of my backbulbs just starting to send up new growths after about 3 months:
Thumb of 2017-08-14/Australis/fc49eb

One month's growth:
Thumb of 2017-08-14/Australis/a7cf6a

5 months' growth:
Thumb of 2017-08-14/Australis/33fa97
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Name: Joshua
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Australis
Aug 14, 2017 7:41 AM CST

Plants Admin

From my experience, the backbulbs won't change much now that they've dried out (i.e. they won't recover their normal, rounded shape). As long as they are still firm, you can still try to get them to grow. As Elaine said, water sparingly (but don't let the media really dry out) and give it time. Hopefully they will grow for you.
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[Last edited by Australis - Aug 14, 2017 7:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 14, 2017 10:09 PM CST
Australis said:They do appear to have dried out, but Elaine is correct - if they are firm, then they should still be viable. I would also suggest removing the dead leaf husks from the outside of the bulbs. Make sure that they are in a good orchid media (not true soil, as most Cymbidiums are epiphytes). It may take up to 6 months to see grow from a backbulb (which is what you have - a leafless Cymbidium pseudobulb by itself), although many will start to grow after 3 months.


Cymbidiums are terrestrials.

I've had some sprout within days and other take 5 years. As long as they don't rot, they may grow. I start them in bark but grow them in a mixture of soil, bark and perlite.

Photos tomorrow.
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Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
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Australis
Aug 15, 2017 1:21 AM CST

Plants Admin

DaisyI said:Cymbidiums are terrestrials.


I'm afraid I have to disagree with this, Daisy. Some species are certainly terrestrial (such as Cym. insigne), but many are epiphytic. For example, the three Australian species (Cym. canaliculatum, Cym. madidum and Cym. suave) are epiphytic, although I understand Cym. madidum can be ground-dwelling as well, given the right conditions. Other well-known species such as Cym. lowianum and Cym. tracyanum are also epiphytic. Perhaps the best description for the Cymbidium genus as a whole is semi-epiphytic, as even the terrestrial species require a well-draining mix.

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Aug 15, 2017 10:40 AM CST
Australis, I should know better than to question an expert. I do see that some are epiphytic and some are terrestrial and some can go either way. I have never heard of an epiphytic Cymbidium and from the description of the epi Cymbidiums, I don't think I have ever seen one either.

So what are we talking about? The terrestrials we are most familiar with? Cymbidiums in general? I assumed Nadine's was a terrestrial. Maybe I am wrong?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator
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Australis
Aug 15, 2017 5:31 PM CST

Plants Admin

Daisy, please feel free to keep questioning! I am by no means infallible and there will be both gaps and errors in my knowledge. So go ahead and question/challenge my comments where appropriate.

The vast majority of Cymbidiums available are hybrids of both epiphytic and terrestrial species (and hence are semi-epiphytic or semi-terrestrial). Many involve at least one or more of species that people are most familiar with, such as Splendid Cymbidium (Cymbidium insigne), Low's Cymbidium (Cymbidium lowianum) or Tracy's Cymbidium (Cymbidium tracyanum). Some species are a lot more fussy about their conditions, but the common ones (such as those three) are usually pretty forgiving/hardy. I grow both Cym. lowianum and Cym. insigne in the same media - a well-draining orchid mix which is supposed to be suitable for both terrestrials and epiphytes. This may yet change, as I have plans to experiment with other media in future.

Nadine's Cymbidium is very likely a hybrid of some kind. I'd treat it like any other Cymbidium hybrid; give it a good-quality, well-draining orchid mix and plenty of light (though not too much heat, as many Cymbidiums are cool-growing).
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