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Cymbidium for Beginners

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Cymbidiums are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers. There are two main types of cymbidiums - standards and miniatures. Where summer nights are warm (above 70º F), miniatures are recommended because many are more tolerant of heat and able to flower in warmer weather.


Water
Provide a constant supply of moisture to cymbidiums. They need the most water during the spring and summer keeping the potting material evenly moist. Reduce water in late summer. Keep barely moist during the winter.

When watering, let the water run through for a minute or longer to thoroughly wet the potting mix. Do not use salt-softened or distilled water. Be sure to let the plant drain completely.


This is a good time to look closely at your plant for any sign of insects or disease.

Light
From spring to autumn cymbidiums should be grown in the maximum amount of light (but not full sun). Feel the foliage to be sure that it is not warm since the leaves can sunburn. Leaves should be a medium to golden green in color, not dark green.

Temperature
If practical, bring in the cymbidiums in when frost is likely and then put them back out as it warms up. In the spring, move the cymbidiums out of doors as soon as the night temperature is going to stay in the mid 40’s or above and bring them back indoors in the fall when a light frost is predicted. It is very important for initiation of spikes to have a difference in temperatures between night and day. This can be achieved in the summer by sprinkling the leaves in the late afternoon or early evening for evaporative cooling.

Fertilizer
Any balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20, etc.) can be used to fertilize your orchid. Feed cymbidiums every two weeks from March until September to help establish good growth and a good number of spikes in the fall. In late winter and the fall, feed once every three weeks and once a month in the mid winter.

Tips
Potting is usually done in the spring after flowering, usually every two years or when the potting medium decomposes.

Give your plants room for air to circulate around them. Crowding of plants can lead to problems with insect infestations and fungus. A small fan will help provide good air circulation around your plants when inside.

When the blooms are finished, remove the spikes at the base of the plant.