How to care for cymbidium orchids – watering, fertilizing, reblooming, recognize spikes

Hello, guys! Welcome back! Today’s video is about cymbidiums, and I
want to share with you my care tips for these showy orchids, that impress me even when they
are not in bloom. These orchids are prized for their long-lasting
sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages in the spring. There are two main types of cymbidiums – standards
and miniatures. Where summer nights are warm (above 70 F),
only miniatures can be recommended, because they are more tolerant to heat and able to
flower in warmer weather. Light is one of the most important factors
for growing cymbidiums. The maximum amount of light possible, short
of burning, should be given to the plants. I am keeping my cymbidium outdoors, from when
it finishes flowering in the spring, till late autumn, just before the frost comes. I keep it in a very bright location (about
3000-5000 foot candles), in my garden, next to my vanda orchids. This means only light shade during the middle
of the day, or about 20 percent shade, between 12 AM to 4 PM. Leaves should be a medium to light green in
color, not dark green. Temperatures are another critical factor in
flowering standard and miniature cymbidiums. During the summer, standard cymbidiums are
usually grown outside in semishade, where day temperatures should be 75 to 85 F (or
more), or 24-30 C, but night temperatures in the late summer to autumn (August to October)
must be 50 to 60 F (10-15C) to initiate flower spikes. Optimum temperatures in winter are 45 to 55
F (7-13) at night and 65 to 75 F (18-24C) during the day. When plants are in bud, temperatures must
be as constant as possible, between 55 and 75 F (13-24 C). Miniatures can stand temperatures five to
10 degrees higher than standards and still flower. Most cymbidiums can tolerate light frosts
and survive, but this is not recommended. Bring them inside when temperatures dip to
40 F. 5C .In mild climates, they can be grown outside year round. A bright and cool location inside is best
for winter months. Cymbidiums are semiterestrial orchids, meaning
they require a finer potting medium, and that they don’t breath trough their roots. Generally, cymbidium grow new pseudobulbs
during spring, summer and early autumn, meaning that in this period they require tremendous
amounts of water. So, in this period, my cymbidium stays constantly
moist. Water heavily during the growth season, keeping
the potting material evenly moist. You can reduce the water when the pseudobulbs
are fully mature. During the winter, you need to keep it barely
moist. Humidity is not a critical factor in growing
cymbidiums. They are not fussy, and they will grow very
well even with a humidity under 40%. But, you need to keep humidity at 40 to 60
percent during the winter, especially if plants are in bud. Keep the air moving to prevent fungus (Botrytis)
from spotting the flowers. Bud blast is a common issue with these orchids. The buds are very sensitive to temperature
variations. To prevent that, I recommend you keep your
cymbidium in the same place, from when the spikes starts to emerge, till the buds are
fully open. At this stage, you can move them to another
room for a better display, if you want to. But do not move cymbidiums in bud from one
room to another, as this can cause serious bud blast. Cymbidiums are heavy feaders. In the growing season, I fertilize mine every
other watering, with a diluted fertilized solution of 400-450 PPM. My fertilizer is a 14-8-10-2 NPKMg. In between fertilizings, I make sure to flush
the pots with rain water. In winter, fertilize once a month. A very common issue with cymbidiums is the
apeareance of black leaf tips. This is caused by the acumulation of too much
salts insite the pot, or by using a too strong fertilizer. I know cymbidiums are heavy feaders, but you
must flush the pots trougly between fertilizings with rain water. I also got some black leaf tips, but mines
are caused by too much heat, when the plant sit too close to my heater. I ocasionally get these in the sumer time
as well, when we have over 35 C. I like to trim off those black tips, and the best way
to do it is with a sterilized swizers, and I like to cut at an angle, in V form. This makes the cut look much more natural. You can sterilize the cut wound with cinnamon
if you like, but I usually don’t to this, as I have good air flow, and I never had an
leaf getting infected. But is is only availble for orchids that have
thin leaves. Potting is usually done in the spring after
flowering, usually every three years or when the potting medium decomposes. I like to repot mine in the garden and use
the garden hoze to help the medium get out from between the roots. Cymbidiums are semiterestrial orchids, that
produce huge amounts of roots, and like to be pot bound. Pick a water-retentive potting mix; I use
for mine a mixture of 40% peat mooss, 10% perlite 30% spagnamoss and 20% medium-grade
fir bark. Select a pot that will allow for at least
two to three years of pseudobulb growth before crowding the pot, while planning on placing
the active growing pseudobulb(s) of the division farthest from the side of the pot. Spread the roots over a cone of the mix in
the bottom of the pot and fill the container with medium, working it among the roots, very
gently. Cymbidiums can be divided very easly, and
there is no need for a specific number of pseudobulbs. Single backbulbs can sprout and grow very
well, and they don’t even need to be placed in mix until new growth and roots are noted. Keep shaded and warm until new growth sprouts,
and pot as above. In order to rebloom these orchids, you need
to provide a dropping temperature of at least 10 C, but you can go down to 5 C. They can
witstand even freezing temperatures for short periods of time. You need to provide these cooler temperatures
for at least 2 weeks, before you start to see signs of spikes. This can be very confusing for some of you,
as tiny spikes look just like new growths. A very good way to distinguesh them is by
gently pressing on the middle of the spike, when it is about 5 cm tall. Do it too soon, and it won’t have air inside. Do it when the spike is taller, and the spike
will already start to form inside those sheaths, and you might risk squeeze the buds. If it has air inside, means it’s a spike. But you need to do this very gentle, as you
may sqish tiny buds. A safer way to check it is by using a flash
light. Or, even better, wait for a few weeks and
you will see, wither the leaves staring to unfold, meaning it’s a growth, or buds staring
to poke up trough the sheaths. Ok, guys. I hope this care tutorial helped you better
understand these incredibly showy orchids and maybe you can decide now to give them
a go! Thank you for watching!

29 thoughts on “How to care for cymbidium orchids – watering, fertilizing, reblooming, recognize spikes

  1. Great video Ana Maria.I have one Cymbidium and she is very big girl and I would need to repot her in spring so you're video is great help.Thank you.Jelena.😊

  2. Hi Ana Maria, loved this video. You made an excellent description on growing and taking care of Cymbidiums. I recently bought one and am having a hard time adjusting it to my tropical climate. I will follow your steps and see if I can grow them. Thanks.

  3. Great video! I have a cymbidium I now own for three years, but I haven't got a spike ever since I bought it. Not even sure what the flowers looked like. This year I'll try to follow your advice and hope for a spike next winter 😉

  4. Thank you for your lovely video. You might find my natural palm-branch orchid planters interesting:

  5. Enjoyed your video, subscribing, so I can go through the other videos, I have a cymbidium and got 2 at a garage sale 2 years ago, so going to try to get blooms! Thanks again, coming back

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  7. I'd like to add some warm growing varieties into my collection, the cooler types just wither and roast and die here in Tampa. 😖☺

  8. Hi, Anna Maria! I loved your video! Very helpful. How do you water them? I tried to listen 3 times and still not sure how. Frequency I understood… Thank you again for your help!

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