Most people are introduced to orchids via Cymbidiums. Ideally these orchids flower year after year with relative neglect. We don’t live in an ideal world and more often than not our cymbidiums fail to flower, have disease, are attacked by insects and die. Below is some basic information to help with these problems.
Protect from frost and direct sunlight. Leaves need to be slightly towards yellow, if they are deep green they are not getting enough light to flower. They can be grown outside under trees, in verandas, under shade cloth or in orchid houses.
No orchid likes to live in a muddy mix, an open bark mix is preferable. This can be purchased from some commercial suppliers or through the orchid society.
Re-potting and Dividing
October is ideal, when new white shoots are developing. Don’t bury the crown of the plant in the mix as it will rot. Choose a pot one or two sizes up but don’t use a larger pot as it will hold too much water in winter. If dividing, check that there are new growths and at least two old,bare bulbs. Protect newly potted plants from extreme heat or cold for a few weeks.
Water regularly during summer but in winter, only water when the plant has slightly dried out. It is important to get watering right as the roots will rot in winter or become too dry in summer when the plant is growing.
Mature plants are best fed with a commercial product which is developed for flowering. Young plants can be fed with products aimed at growth. If in doubt use ½ the suggested strength.
Slugs, snails, aphids, scale etc are a problem. Use a commercial insecticide according to instructions.
Check your plant regularly
When purchasing plants check for yellow markings on new leaves or other suspicious marks.
Cymbidiums are very susceptible to virus which spreads to other orchids and is untreatable.