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In the Magazine

Cymbidium Orchids

In the Garden > Flowering Plants & Shrubs

Cymbidium orchids are grown for their spectacular and colourful flowers. Due to the success of modern breeding programs they now come in a fantastic range of colours, from white and pink through to oranges, apricots, browns, reds, burgundy, yellows, creams and greens. Don visited a specialist cymbidium nursery to see the orchids at their peak flowering time.

Pioneer Nurseries Orchid Farm in Victoria specialises in large display cymbidiums, which are around 12-15 years old with 8-15 spikes per plant. They also grow miniatures, including a much sought after white weeping variety.

Best climate: Cymbidiums can be grown in all areas of Australia, but in cold areas such as Hobart and the Mountains they need protection in a warm greenhouse.

Uses:

Many people like to bring the pots of flowering orchids inside the house. The pots can be put into wooden planter boxes, or into ceramic or concrete pots. In an unheated room the flowers will last up to three months. In heated areas the flowers don't last as long, but it will help if you at least put the plants outside at night.
If you prefer you can leave your cymbidiums in the garden, in a shadehouse, on a patio or perhaps under a pergola.
Cymbidiums are also used as cut flowers, and in corsages.

Good points:

Stunning, long lasting flowers
Available in a wide range of flower colours, as well as cascading and miniature varieties
Once in flower cymbidiums can be brought indoors and the flower display can be enjoyed for many weeks.

Downside:

Snails love to eat the flowers. They hide under the rim of the pots and come out at night. Use snail bait or check plants and pots thoroughly for snails.
Viruses such as mosaic and ring spot will show up as black or brown spots or streaks on the leaves. If you suspect a virus, destroy or isolate the plant.

To grow and flower well, cymbidiums require:

Light: if the leaves on your orchids are lush and green it means that they are not growing in enough light, and they probably won't flower. They like plenty of light, but need protection from the hot sun, which burns their leaves. A position in filtered light under deciduous trees is ideal.

Orchid mix: cymbidium orchids will not grow in the ground in ordinary garden soil. They should be potted up using cymbidium compost.

Fertiliser: buy special orchid fertiliser and follow the directions on the container for recommended rates of application. Different formulations are available to encourage flowering and growth.

Water: cymbidiums need regular watering during the growing season. In summer, water about every second day, and every day in very hot weather (over 30C).

Potting on: when your orchids outgrow their pots, don't divide them up. Instead, knock the pot off, shake well to remove any old potting mix, then pot into a slightly larger pot using fresh orchid compost.

Further information

Cymbidium orchids are sold in flower at most nurseries, chain-stores
and orchid shows from around $25.
Our segment was filmed at:

Pioneer Nurseries Orchid Farm
735 Portarlington Road
Leopold, Vic
Phone: (03) 5250 2058
The nursery is open 7 days a week from July until about the end of November.

Prices for the orchids depend on the number of flower spikes, starting from
$21 up to $250 for a 300mm tub with 13 spikes.
The orchids shown in glazed blue pots in our segment came from:

Michele Shennen's Willoughby Garden Centre
132 Penshurst St
Willoughby, NSW, 2068
Phone (02) 9958 6631
The blue pots cost from $35, and the orchids from $69.95.

Copyright CTC Productions 2000

Disclaimer:  Burke's Backyard and Backyard Blitz do not accept payment to promote products. All recommendations are genuine. Details on the fact sheets are accurate at the time of publishing, however prices and contact information are not updated and may change.

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