Cymbidium Culture

Cymbidiums are among the easiest of the orchids to grow outside here in San Diego County. They can be left out all year long with minimal protection during the coldest nights of the year. They will take cold down to 26 F. for an hour or two with minimal damage.

LIGHT: Insufficient light is the main cause for lack of flowering. Place plants near outer edge of a tree canopy to give direct morning and afternoon sun and mid-day shade during summer, or, place on east or west facing patio. Plants can take full winter sun all day. Plants do best in bright but cool locations. Light green leaves indicate plants are getting good light, dark green leaves says it's too shady, yellow leaves tell you it's too bright.

TEMPERATURE: Cymbidiums prefer cool temperature. Days of 80 F. (Maximum of 90F.), nights 55F. or lower (minimum of 32F.) are ideal. They need at least a 20 F. difference between summer and winter NIGHT temperatures in order to set buds. Plants enjoy cooling breezes at all times.

WATERING: Cymbidiums like to be MOIST, not wet. Water when the top 1/2" inch of the mix dries, usually once a week. Use about one gallon of water per pot each time you water or until water runs freely from the bottom of the pot. Do not let plants get completely dry. Warm or windy days dry the potting mix sooner than cool cloudy days so you must alter your watering schedule accordingly.

FERTILIZER: During periods of rapid growth (April thru August) feed at the rate recommended for ornamentals using a high nitrogen fertilizer like 30-10-10 at every 10 to 15 days. During the slow growth period (Sept. thru Jan.) use low nitrogen fertilizer like 5-10-10 once each month. Never fertilize a dry plant. If leaf tips turn black or brown flush pots with plain water several times in succession to leach out excessive salts.

REPOTTING: Plants need to be repotted once every two to four years depending on the mix you are using. Best time to repot is right after flowering. When numerous roots are seen at the surface of the mix and your finger does not easily penetrate into the root zone it is time to divide and repot. Knock the plant out if it's pot and gently separate the roots. Use your hands to separate the plant into 2 or 3 bulb divisions (complete with roots). using cymbidium potting mix found at many nurseries, place divisions into a clean pot large enough to allow for 3 years growth. DO NOT bury bases of bulbs more that 1/2 inch into the mix. Plant firmly using blunt stick to settle mix, plants must not be loose. Water thoroughly then only enough to keep the plant from drying out for the next 4 to 6 weeks.








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