How to Grow a Cymbidium Orchid

Hi Judy, My wife loves cymbidium orchids & I want to give her one for Mother’s Day. Truth is, I’ve given her some before & they always die. What are we doing wrong & could you give me some tips as to what to do right. Thanks in advance. Scottie

Hi Scottie,

Dark Pin Cymbidium Orchid Plant
Cymbidium Orchid Plant

I agree that an orchid is a wonderful gift for Mother’s Day. Cymbidium Orchid Plants, or Boat Orchids, are amongst the most attractive, popular, and long lasting Orchid houseplants available throughout the world. Here are some care tips you can print up on a pretty piece of stationary and include with your gift.

Cymbidium Orchids like as much bright indirect light as you can provide, but avoid placing them in the direct sun. Light green upright leaves indicate that your Orchid plant is getting the proper amount of light. Dark green leaves mean Cymbidium Orchids  needs more light. Yellow leaves are an indication that they are getting too much light.

The easiest way to kill  Cymbidium Orchid Plants is by over-watering. When watering, thoroughly drench the plant and then allow the excess water to quickly drain out the bottom. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before watering again. You can prevent over and under-watering Orchid Plants by checking that the roots remain whitish green and plump.  Follow these few watering tips to prevent watering problems.  Never allowt Orchid houseplants sit in water. Do not get water on the leaves or flowers of Orchid plants. Never use water that has passed through a softener. Soil type, temperature, time of year, humidity, and pot size all influence how much water Orchid Plants need. Orchid Plants dry out faster in winter because of the heat and low humidity in  homes and offices.

Never feed an Orchid plant while it’s in bloom. Feeding at that time discourages flower production and can distort the flowers. Fertilize Orchids  when the plant is actively producing new leaves. Use a well balanced plant food containing a 20-20-20 mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Temperature control is another important factor if you want indoor Cymbidium Orchids to bloom. Ideal temperatures for the blooms to set should be 65-70 degrees during the day and 10-15 degrees cooler at night. f Temperature is especially important during the fall when Orchard flowers are just starting to develop. Cymbidium Plants can handle temperatures as low as 45 degrees F (7 C)., but do not do well in temperatures above 80 degrees F. The higher the temperature the more important good air movement around the plant.

High humidity is a necessity.  If your home or office does not have at least 50% humidity, place your Orchid Plant on a wet pebble tray. Be sure it is sitting on the pebbles and never in the water. Do not mist an Orchid plant; it can cause fungal and bacterial plant diseases.

One of the nicest things about Cymbidium Orchids is that they bloom in the winter when other indoor plant do not. The flower spikes on Cymbidium Orchids set during the fall and winter as the temperature starts to reach 50 degrees at night. Once the flower spikes appear don’t move your Cymbidium Orchid or keep the room too warm until the buds open. The blooms of a Cymbidium Orchid last longer when temperatures stay between 60-70 degrees. Be sure to stake the flower spikes so the blooms are above the leaves of the plant. Do not fertilize  Orchid Plants while they are in bloom.

Cymbidium Orchid plants need a special orchid soil or potting medium. Never use regular houseplant soil. Proper Orchid medium contains peat moss, bark compost, and Osmunda fiber. Orchid Plant soil be found at any garden center.

Once the flowers of Cymbidium Orchid Plants die, find the nodes on the flower spike. Cut the spike off 1″ above the 3rd node from the bottom. Immediately remove dead or diseased parts on the plant or they will attract pests and diseases.

Cymbidium Orchid Plants need a resting period if you want them to flower. Once a year move your orchid to a cool dark area for a month. After  this rest period, return the orchid to its usual bright location.

Let me know how things work out.