Growing Cymbidium Orchids
Sydney, Australia has one of the best climates in the world for growing cymbidiums. All that is needed is a position sheltered from the South-Easterlies, preferably facing the east with plenty of light & air.
Summer: Very lightly shaded to give slightly broken sunlight, till at least 1:00pm but never full shade. Ideally a cover of 30% shadecloth overhead.
Winter: No shading necessary. Plants will flower better if leaves are a light green colour or even a little sunburnt.
Compost: Good drainage is essential. Buy a good Cymbidium compost from any local nursery for potting. Orchid Care Services makes an excellent one. Never use garden soil.
Potting: A 100mm (4") or 125mm (5") pot will generally suffice for backbulbs. A 3 to 4 bulb flowering plant would need an 200mm (8") pot or larger. As good drainage is essential, black plastic pots with large drainage holes are ideal. When repotting large plants, you may either pot into a larger pot by leaving the roots undisturbed and packing more compost around them in a new pot or divide the plant into two or more sections and pot each section individually.
If breaking up the plant, cut off any leafless bulbs, backbulbs. Remove all roots and dead leaves and put into a separate small pot. When dividing, always leave at least 2 or 3 bulbs together per piece and try not to break too many roots. Pot your plant, packing the pot fairly tightly with compost till the bottom 1/5 of the bulbs are covered. Plants need repotting approximately every two years, with the backbulbs to the side of the pot to allow new growths to progress across the pot. Never over-pot ie: use too big a pot for the size of the plant.
Watering: The water should almost immediately flow from the drain holes in the pot when water is applied. Plants should be watered heavily three or four times a week in summer and once or twice a week in winter, if the plant needs water. In the summer try to water in the evening. This will cool the plant and the water will last longer. Never let your pots dry out completely.
Fertilizing: Fertilize with a recognized fertilizer, such as Peters Hi-Nitro, Peters Orchid Special, Peters Blossom Booster, Garden Party, Aquasol, Maxicrop, Campbells, etc. applied as directed after normal watering. Apply at least twice a month. High Nitrogen through the growing period August to December, low Nightrogen fertilizer January to July.
Pests & Diseases: Like many other garden plants, orchids can be susceptible to such things as red spider scale and chewing & sucking insects. Garden Doctor, Carbaryl, Daconil, and Mancozeb sprayed as directed will solve most of these problems, but do not spray when buds are out of the flower sheath. Should you encounter any bulb rot, a fungicide such as Fongarid will check this.
Flowering: Flower spikes begin to show between the first leaves of the newer bulbs, between February and April and flowers are out anytime between May and October; mainly August/September.
Pastel greens and whites will have truer colours if placed in the shade when buds break out of the sheath. When in flower plants may be brought inside the house, preferably in a bright room where flowers should last up to six weeks, however do not keep them in an enclosed area in excess of 5 days , take them outside for a couple of days, soak thoroughly then return plant inside and repeat as required.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
* Light shading only.
* Regular watering and fertilizing.
* Orchids grow in well-drained compost - not garden soil.
* Repot, when flowers have finished, or when necessary.
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