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How to Bloom Cymbidium Orchids


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Cymbidium orchids are spectacular bloomers–at least they are when you buy them. Too often orchid lovers are needlessly disappointed after that first blooming season when their plants don’t give a repeat performance. It is not difficult to get cymbidiums to bloom; it just takes a specific kind of care. Providing a few simple requirements will give you with the dramatic floral spray that made you fall in love with the orchids in the first place.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Cymbidium orchid plant(s)
  • Potting medium
  • Pot (that has excellent drainage)
  • Orchid food
  • Evaporation tray
  • Spray bottle or pressurized sprayer
  • Room humidifier (optional)
    1. Plant the cymbidiums in a potting medium of a medium-grade fir bark, peat moss and perlite. The pot should be large enough to avoid crowding. Position the active growing bulbs furthest from the sides of the pot. Hold the plant in the pot as you add the potting medium, working the medium around the roots carefully.
    2. Place cymbidium orchids near a bright (but not hot) window. Northern exposure probably won’t supply sufficient light, so choose the brightest of eastern, western and southern exposure.
    3. Keep the plants away from heating vents. While cymbidiums require a lot of light, they also need cool temperatures.
    4. Place the pot on an evaporation tray and keep water in it at all times. Humidity should be between 40 to 60 percent.
    5. Mist the plant a little each day with a spray bottle (preferably filled with filtered water). Cymbidiums require constant moisture.
    6. Feed the orchids every time you water them. Feed them with a water soluble 20-14-13 orchid food for three consecutive feedings then feed with a water soluble 11-35-15 every fourth feeding. During the spring and summer, water heavily, keeping the potting medium continually damp; during fall and winter, keep potting medium barely moist.
    7. Repot the plants every two years because the potting medium decomposes over time. Repot in the spring after the plant’s blooming period has ended. You can divide the root bulbs into separate plants, if desired, but divisions must have at least three bulbs to produce blooms.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have more than one plant, consider getting a pressurized sprayer. It will make misting a great deal easier (which means you might do it more often).

  • If you have your cymbidiums in a sun room or conservatory and live in a dry climate, consider getting a room humidifier. Although evaporation trays work well, you can’t allow them to dry out, so you have to keep your eye on them.

  • The orchid foods described above are sold together and the instructions on the label provide a dilution suitable for feeding with every watering. However, if you get orchid food that gives instructions for only monthly feeding, cut the dilution rate in half and feed with every watering.

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