June might be a cold and gloomy time in South Africa but it’s the highlight of the year for Cymbidium orchid lovers!
Cymbidiums symbolise virtue and morality. In Asian cultures, it is considered an honour to give or receive a Cymbidium as a gift and they are considered a gift of respect and friendship.
Cymbidiums are amongst the most popular, desirable orchids in the world and June is their ‘show time’! The exquisite, incredibly detailed flower blooms need little introduction and are available in almost any colour imaginable.
Orchid blooms are carried in mass on long flower spikes or sprays, making them ideal and striking home/patio decorations. The length of flowering varies, but typically from the time the first flower bud opens, the sprays will remain in bloom for 4 – 6 weeks, often lasting months if the plant has several flower spikes.
Cymbidiums are most commonly grown in South Africa as potted plants with the flower spikes being incredibly sought-after for floral arrangements and floral corsages.
Cymbidiums orchids grow both in the soil and on trees. Historically select varieties were produced in European chateau gardens as a hobby of the upper classes; today cymbidium orchids are most commonly grown as pot varieties.
Pot cymbidiums have long, narrow leaves. Flower spikes are produced during the cooler months (June – Sept), typically carrying six or more flowers. The older the plant, the more flower spikes and hence, the more expensive. Cymbidiums’ colour spectrum ranges through white, yellow, green, pink and red to brown.
Caring for your Cymbidium
Place the plant in a high-light spot but avoid the full heat of the sun. Ensure fresh air, but avoid drafts or cold. No extreme temperatures. Ideally the plants should be cooler at night. The plant flowers for four to six weeks.
After buying the plant, immerse it immediately. Water regularly. Preferably immerse the plant for ten minutes once a week. Allow the plant to drain fully, avoid excessive water in the pot. Feed weekly when watering.
After flowering, cut the exhausted branch off completely. New pseudobulbs will develop, which can produce flower spikes in the following year. Cymbidiums flower once a year.
Keep orchids in a cool/shady spot after flowering if necessary. Orchids are cold tender and should not be exposed to temperatures below six degrees at night. Continue to water and feed monthly. Bring back indoors during May/June.
Cymbidiums should be repotted every few years as they will outgrow their pots. Preferably repot the plant in the spring when it starts to grow. Remove the pot whilst trying to avoid damaging the roots as much as possible. Rinse the roots thoroughly. Place the plant in a pot and preferably fill it with light orchid soil. Ensure that the soil is nice and damp and feed straight away. Do not water for a number of days after repotting, so that the plant can recover.