Cymbidium or Boat Orchid, is a genus in the orchid family Orchidaceae. The new Latin genus name is derived from the Latin Cymba meaning boat. Its first known use was in 1815. This genus is distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia. The larger flowered species from which the large flowered hybrids are derived grow at high altitudes. They are considered a delicacy in Bhutan where it is traditionally cooked in a spicy curry or stew and called “olatshe” or “olachoto”. We wouldn’t recommend cooking our commercial Cymbidium Orchids but they are a beautiful decor addition to any home!
Cymbidiums enjoy the morning and afternoon sun the most, yet should be protected from the hot mid-day sun. A light green leaf with just a hint of yellow indicates the maximum amount of sun the plant can take, and a dark green leaf indicates not enough sun.
Watering of Cymbidium is a delicate balancing act! They should not be allowed to go dry, yet they don’t care for a soggy environment either. Watering once every seven to ten days is about right. Keep humidity at 40 to 60 percent, especially if plants are in bud.
Cymbidium will tolerate considerable summer heat as long as they get cool, mild night temperatures between 10-18°C. Cold weather even down to 2°C for a few hours each night, will not damage an acclimatized plant, but once the plant spikes or flowers, it should be protected from temperatures below 5°C. Regardless, plants should always be kept free of frost!
High nitrogen fertilizers (25-9-9) should be used from February until July, while low nitrogen fertilizers (6-25-25) should be used from August until January. Feed one teaspoon to a gallon of water once a month.
We recommend using fir bark, perlite, peat moss, and other loose organic material in some combination. A commercial paphiopedilum orchid mix will usually serve these plants well. Re-pot every two to three years from February to June with a well-draining medium.