Cymbidium orchids are slightly larger than other orchid species and have long, spreading green leaves, making them very decorative even outside of the flowering period. However, they only look really splendid with their flowers, which are reminiscent of a bowl or a boat. This is why this orchid variety bears the name Cymbidium, which is derived from the Greek word kymbe, which means bowl, boat and boat. Cymbidium orchids can grow up to a meter tall.

Origin and location

The plants, which are often kept in winter gardens, come from the alpine regions of Asia and Northern Australia, where they are found in wooded areas. Because of their height, Cymbidium orchids could not establish themselves as indoor crops for a long time. That is why they were crossed with smaller orchid species. Since then, smaller cymbidium orchids have also been available which, just like their larger relatives, can impress every year with their extraordinarily elegant flowers, provided they are well cared for.

In general, a Cymbidium orchid is very easy to care for. But it takes some botanical knowledge and horticultural skills to make this exotic plant bloom. There are large temperature fluctuations in the regions of origin of the Cymbidium orchids. It gets relatively cool there at night and very warm during the day. The temperature difference between day and night is much greater in the Asian and Pacific mountain forests than in other regions. That is why it is not always easy to create the conditions for Cymbidium orchids in our latitudes under which they can optimally grow and develop flowers.

Cymbidium orchids do best in bright spots. Since they usually grow in forests in their natural habitat and are protected by the canopy of tall trees, they are not exposed to direct midday sunlight. The cooler morning sun, the evening sun or the winter sun of our latitudes can be tolerated by the plants. But they should be protected from the blazing sun. This prevents the leaves of the Cymbidium orchids from being burned. In the summer months you should bring the Cymbidium orchids outside in the plant pot. There it is best for the plant to stand in a bright but protected location that not only protects it from the glaring midday sun, but also from strong winds and drafts. Cymbidium orchids with smaller leaves can handle a little more heat than the larger varieties.

The ideal daytime temperature at the location of a Cymbidium orchid is around 20 degrees Celsius. In summer it can be a little more. The night temperature can be between 10 to 15 degrees. After the first buds have appeared, the temperature difference between day and night no longer has to be so great and the plant should no longer be so warm, otherwise the flowers may fall off. In general, the cymbidium orchid needs a lot of fresh air. The humidity at the location of the exotic plant should ideally be between 60 and 80 percent. Alternatively, the Cymbidium orchid can be sprayed with water every morning.

Plant a cymbidium orchid

The Cymbidium orchid is a bulbous plant with egg-shaped, ellipsoidal or spindle-shaped bulbs. The tubers should be planted in an orchid substrate; normal, unmixed potting soil is not suitable. In order to protect the tubers from waterlogging and to prevent the bulbs from rotting, a permeable substrate is required that guarantees the drainage of irrigation water. The orchid soil consists of peat and bark mulch. Sometimes it is also enriched with styrofoam beads for ventilation. It is also possible to use bark mulch, peat, sand and earth to make a suitable potting soil yourself. Another possible substrate mixture consists of sphagnum, compost and Osmunda fibers. In addition, you can lay out the bottom of larger planters with pebbles or small pottery shards,


In contrast to other orchids, the Cymbidium orchid needs a rather large pot. Since the Cymbidium orchid is a fast-growing plant, it has to be repotted every now and then. New shoots are constantly emerging from the short rhizomes. In general, Cymbidium orchids love tight pots, so repotting can take a while. But at the latest when the tubers grow beyond the edge of the pot or the pot even bursts, you should exchange it for a larger one. This can be the case every two years due to the rapid growth of the plant. The best time to repot is right after flowering. When repotting, it is sufficient to remove a little of the old substrate, place the plant in a larger pot and fill it up with new substrate.


The propagation of the Cymbidium orchid can take place directly when repotting. The plant can be divided. If it is already very large and strong, you may have to saw it up. In addition, superfluous pseudobulbs on which no leaves are growing can be removed from the tuber. Such bulbs can then be used to propagate the plant by placing them individually in new pots. Shrinking the parent bulb can also get rid of putrid and mushy parts. To propagate, you have to get the Cymbidium orchid out of the old planter and rinse the soil from the tubers. About two pseudobulbs can remain on the mother tuber so that the original plant is not weakened too much. The new orchids from the separated pseudobulbs, should be rinsed in with water once a day. After about five weeks, the young plants can be cared for like fully developed Cymbidium orchids.

Make it bloom with proper care

Anyone who grows cymbidium orchids naturally also wants to see them bloom. A cymbidium orchid can bloom once a year. The flowering time of this plant begins in autumn. The long-lived attractive flowers of the Cymbidium orchid last until spring. In order for the orchid to bloom in winter, it must form flower bases in summer. It only does this if it is kept under conditions similar to those found in its natural habitat. The fluctuating day and night temperatures are important. To do this, it is most expedient to place the tropical plant in the garden, on the balcony or on the terrace in spring and summer, when the shoots have finished growing. The daytime temperatures for the Cymbidium orchid must not fall below 18 ° C during this time. At night, however, the temperatures can be around 10 ° C. In their natural habitat, Cymbidium orchids are exposed to temperature fluctuations of up to 23 ° C. This temperature change can hardly be achieved in the apartment.

Although the cymbidium orchid comes from the cooler, temperate mountain regions, it can withstand temperatures of over 30 ° C during the day. It is only important that the plant is cultivated in an alternating temperature and that there are noticeable temperature fluctuations between day and night. In order to promote the formation of buds, the Cymbidium orchid should not be watered or fertilized in the last weeks of July, because it forms the buds out of a terrible situation. This is why it usually cannot set flowers in the quiet apartment. If the conditions for bud formation are met, flower stalks appear at the base of the bulbs, sometimes also on the leaf axils.

As soon as the flower stems are there, the Cymbidium orchid likes more stable temperatures, which can then be between 15 and 18 ° C. This will prevent the buds from falling off. A support is also helpful. The plant can now be fertilized regularly because it is less sensitive to fertilizers than other orchids. The humidity should be reduced a little after the buds appear so that the buds do not rot. Each inflorescence produces multiple flowers that stay fresh for several months. Mostly they give off a light scent. When the flowers have faded, the stem can be cut off completely, because the stem that formed the stem will not flower next time. The cymbidium orchid develops new shoots for this.


Cymbidium orchids need a lot of water and do not have a noticeable resting phase. However, the substrate must not be wet all the time, otherwise the tubers will rot. In practice, this means that the Cymbidium orchid can be watered vigorously once a week until the soil no longer absorbs water. After that, however, the substrate has to dry out enough that the pot becomes significantly lighter. The soil should be well on but not dried out before new water is added. If there is too much water, the roots will rot. If too little is poured, they will shrivel up.

As an alternative to watering, the pot can also be taken out of the planter and placed in a water container until the earth is full of water. Then put the pot back and let the excess water run off. It must not remain in the saucer or in the planter. Lukewarm irrigation water is particularly beneficial for the plant. It prefers rainwater and water with little lime. In winter, the watering amount can be adjusted to the temperature. At a lower ambient temperature, the plant needs less water.


The Cymbidium orchid needs a little more fertilizer than other orchid species. Therefore, orchid fertilizer can be added to the water every second watering (every 14 days). An orchid fertilizer with a high nitrogen content is best. It is fertilized while the leaves of the Cymbidium orchid are growing and when the flowers can already be seen and are developing. The main growing season for the Cymbidium orchid is in spring and summer. Sometimes the plants grow a bit even during the winter. Then a little fertilizer can be given every four weeks during this time of year.


During the winter the flowers are already formed and the Cymbidium orchid is no longer in the main growing season. Therefore it can stand a little colder and no longer needs large temperature fluctuations. Temperatures of 15 to 20 ° C during the day are ideal and 10 to 15 ° C is sufficient at night. These conditions prevail in the house in winter, so the Cymbidium orchid should be brought in before the first frost at the latest. A bright location in the room is ideal. Direct exposure to the winter sun is welcome. The tuber of the plant must be kept moist even during winter, but this can be done with minimal watering because the plant no longer drinks as much during this time. That’s why you only need to give her watering sips by hand.

Diseases and pests

In a too dry environment with a humidity below 60 percent, the Cymbidium orchid can quickly be attacked by spider mites. In addition, scale insects often settle in the husks of the bulbs. Therefore, the tubers should be checked for pests when repotting. It usually helps to just shower them off.

The cymbidium orchid is recommended for passionate plant breeders who are ready to offer the plant an environment in every season of the year that is similar to that of its natural home in the mountains of Asia and the adjacent Pacific region. Anyone who gives the Cymbidium orchid a protected location with sufficient humidity and brightness and ensures that its cultivation is cold-blooded during the summer can look forward to attractive and long-lasting flowers that are second to none every year in winter.

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