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Cymbidium Care Sheet


    Cymbidiums like moderate to bright light (2500 to 3500 foot-candles).  This may be in the form of good morning sun or bright, "dappled" afternoon shade.  During their growing season, these orchids prefer daytime temperatures of 65 to 82 degrees and nighttime temperatures of 50 to 65 degrees.  In our climate, many people choose to grow these plants outside.  During the spring and summer and in the fall until danger of frost, an ideal location would be just inside the "drip-line" of a good shade tree. 

            During their growing season, Cymbidiums should be kept evenly moist.  (Not soggy wet.)  If growing outdoors check often to make sure they do not stay dry for too long.  In colder weather, they should be allowed to get slightly dryer.  Never allow water to collect around the bulbs, and never allow the plants to stand in water.

            Cymbidiums should be fed just after every third watering.  (Remember, these orchids like to be watered often so this amounts to as often as every two weeks during the warmer months and as little as once a month during the winter.)  Use a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 30-10-10 from March until May, a balanced fertilizer such as 20-10-20 from June until September, and a blossom booster such as Dyna Grow Bloom 3-12-6 from October until February.  Heavy watering once every month is necessary to leach accumulated fertilizer salts from the potting medium.  (The best way to accomplish this is to water thoroughly on your normal watering day and then come back and water the plant again after an hour or so.  This will allow time for the salts to dissolve and wash away.)

            Cymbidiums should be repotted every 2 to 3 years in the spring when new growths are visible and at least 3-4 inches tall.  Flower spikes may have to be removed in order to repot before summer.  (The cut flowers may be enjoyed for weeks after their removal, if kept in water.)  Our cypress blend media is an excellent medium for most Cymbidiums.  However, on larger or specimen sized plants you may need to add drainage material at the bottom of the pot.  (Remember the larger the pot the more moisture is retained in the medium between watering) 

             If you are looking to divide your plant, divisions should have at least 3-4 mature pseudobulbs and at least one new growth. Do not divide your plants too often or your plant may not flower as well as you hope.

            Remove plant from the pot, cutting away the pot as needed.  Using your hands, start to loosen up the root ball with a back and forth motion and remove older potting media. Finger comb the roots so they straighten out. These are usually very root bound and it will take some doing.  You may have some roots break off or crack when doing this, so don’t be concerned.  However, unlike with epiphytes we do not trim the live roots.  After the old debris (such as dead bulbs) and dead roots are trimmed up, select a pot where the roots touch or almost touch the bottom of the pot. When you hold the plant in the center of the pot, there should be at least 2-3 inches between the bulbs and the edge. If yours is a large growing plant where the bulbs are fist sized a larger pot might be required.  Hold the bulbs level with the lip of the pot and start to add potting media gradually shaking the media to settle between the roots, using your fingers to settle it slightly. Do not pack. Continue to add mix until the bulbs rest just on top of the media, they should not be buried.  Use your thumbs to firm the top layer around the bulbs, so the plant won’t wobble.

            Water in the freshly repotted plant with a rooting hormone like Super Thrive or KLN.  Let the potting media dry out over the next couple days and give the roots a chance to heal.  If you start heavy watering immediately root rot might set in. After 2-3 days, you can return to a watering schedule where the plant is soaked thoroughly as soon as is dries out.