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Blooming Plants
  Blooming Plant of the Month
            Cymbidium orchid

Botanical name
Cymbidium spp. (sim-BID-ee-um)
Cymbidium orchids are among the few terrestrial (grown in the ground) orchids. They are extremely desirable, and there are approximately 70 species of tropical and subtropical Cymbidiums and several thousand man-made hybrids.
Decorative light
Cymbidium orchid plants generally will bloom four to six weeks or more.

Cymbidiums bloom in cool seasons and are available from January to March and September to December from Holland sources; from January to June and October to December from domestic markets; and from May to October from New Zealand and Australia.

Bright, diffused light is best for indoors. Full shade or filtered sunlight is best if the plants are placed outdoors.
Check plants daily, and keep soil evenly moist. Severe drying will cause the leaves to yellow. Drying also will delay flower development. Do not allow pots to stand in water.
Store the plants at 55 F when they are not on display. Do not refrigerate them.
Use an orchid bloom fertilizer, following the directions on the package label, until the blossoms are developed and opened.
An orchid bark potting mix should be used when potting Cymbidium orchids. Do not disturb plants too often because most Cymbidiums bloom best when root-bound. Repot after blooming and only when pseudobulbs become crowded against the edges of the pot.

ethylene sensitivity
Cymbidiums may exhibit symptoms of ethylene sensitivity. Check with your suppliers to make sure their crops have been treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the farm or during transportation.
Common pests associated with Cymbidiums are aphids, scale and spider mites.
Cymbidiums need cool nights to initiate flowers.

Cymbidiums are classified in the Orchidaceae (orchid family) and are native to Asia and Malaysia. Their natural habitats are the cool, bright, high-altitude areas of China, Japan and Southeast Asia, and south of the equator in similar climate areas of Australia and New Zealand. Related species include Cattleya, Dendrobium, Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis.
Cymbidium is from the Greek “kymbe” for boat, referring to the hollow recess in the flower’s lip.
Orchids have long been highly sought after, probably for the unusual beauty of their design. Orchid hunters in the 19th century collected them by the ton and chopped down as many as 4,000 trees at one time for the orchids growing on them.

Some information provided by:
Repetto Nurseries, Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Chain of Life Network®,

You can reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at or by phone at (415) 239-3140.

Images courtesy of Gallup & Stribling Orchids

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