Often used to garnish corsages, many people love the cymbidium orchid’s large spray of flowers. Once the flowers bloom, they can last up to three months. It is also a popular patio and home plant. While the cymbidium orchid requires specific growing requirements in order to bloom, many people find it an easy orchid to care for.
High light and cool temperatures form the top two factors in properly caring for a cymbidium orchid. Unfortunately, high light often comes hand in hand with hot temperatures, which inhibits these orchids from blooming. To remedy the high heat problem, according to the Garden Centers of Colorado organization, you can mist your orchid during hot afternoons, put in deeper shade (usually no more than 20 percent) or increase the air circulation. Check the color of leaves for light exposure; they should look medium to golden green, not dark, which indicates insufficient light.
When growing a cymbidium orchid, maintaining the proper temperature will determine your success at getting these orchids to produce their beautiful flowers. During their growth period in the summer, a cymbidium orchid needs temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in order for buds to form, evening temperatures in August through September should fall to about 50 to 60 degrees. If put outside for the summer, bring in your cymbidium orchid when the temperature drops to about 40 degrees.
Cymbidium orchids are considered semi-terrestrial plants, which means that though they survive in dirt, you should keep the soil damp at all times. For spring and summer, this becomes especially important as they grow the most during that time frame. Water every four to five days at this time. As summer winds down, decrease water amount. For winter, you need to keep the soil only a little moist. While cymbidiums do like moisture, make certain you don’t leave your orchid standing in water as that promotes fungal and bacterial diseases.
Although summer often goes hand in hand with humidity, in dry climates you need to add humidity to your orchid. You can do this best by misting your plant or putting it in a greenhouse that has evaporated cooling. During winter, humidity should stay between 40 and 60 percent, particularly if the cymbidium has already budded.
To properly care for your cymbidium orchid, you should repot it every two years, preferably after flowering. Potting mix with perlite or peat moss and fir bark hold moisture very well and make a suitable potting mix. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer, such as 30-10-10, for the growing season and a high phosphorus fertilizer (10-30-20) in late summer to encourage buds to form. Fertilize every two weeks except in winter when you should fertilize once a month.