Cymbidiums - Temperature Tolerant

While most ‘standard’ cymbidiums will grow well in the temperatures founds in central and south Florida, many of them will not bloom in these temperatures. They require cooler night temperatures in order to initiate blooming spikes. Many of the cymbidiums described here are hybridized by Milton O. Carpenter (some of his directions are included below), and these plants will tolerate temperatures of 45° F to 95° F and generally without the wide temperature variation between day and night needed by other cymbidiums.

Each grower, of course, must adjust for his own conditions in order to obtain the best results.

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Give the plants as much light as possible, short of injuring the leaves. A grassy yellow-green leaf color indicates good light conditions. Too much shade inhibits blooming. 4,000 to 6,000 foot candles are indicated during the growing season. When the bloom spikes begin to form (Fall) –leave the plant in bright light, but when the buds emerge from their sheaths, move the plant to shady conditions. This results in clearer colors and longer lasting blooms. When blooming is finished, return plants to high light intensity.

HEAT: Temperatures in the high 80’s and even mid 90’s are tolerated during the day. The plants enjoy cool temperatures at night, and will stand temperatures down to near freezing; however, flower spikes will be injured by these low temperatures. Good air movement is required at all times.

WATER: During active growth, from March through September, the medium should be kept decidedly moist, provided that excellent drainage is maintained. During the winter months, cymbidiums should be thoroughly drenched and allowed to become almost dry before watering again. Never allow them to become bone dry. During the summer months, misting the leaves will cool the plants.

FOOD: During the growing season, a high nitrogen food is indicated. Use at the rate of 1 teaspoon to a gallon of water every 2 weeks. Additional food, such as Osmocote or other slow release fertilizers, is helpful. This is sprinkled evenly over the surface of the potting medium.

From August through December, use 10-30-20 (or 20-20-20) instead of high nitrogen food. Always feed on bright sunny days. Plants cannot use food during cold overcast conditions.

Plastics pots are often found to be best. Any medium which has perfect drainage will produce good results.