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So, an attack of orchid lust hit me walking through the produce section at Publix this afternoon. They have two or three absolutely gorgeous Cymbidiums in full bloom. A couple still had some buds yet to open - a luscious soft reddish mahogany color with exquisite markings on the lips. Didn't have my phone with me or I'd have taken pictures. They were not cheap, so I restrained myself and came home to read up, and check with my favorite DG experts.
I seem to recall Jim mentioned a while back - was it the Cyms that might be something he will have to keep indoors in the a/c in summer? I looked them up in my "Orchids to Know and Grow" book and sure enough, they do like it on the cool side. Can I grow these outside?
I do have a spot against a patio door that stays on the cool side through summer weather because of the cooling effect of the glass door. I have successfully kept a few cool-weather lovers like a couple of hydrangeas and a variegated English ivy going in this micro-climate. Is it worth a $30 risk??
Jim has several Cymbidiums that he leaves out year around including one I gave him. They can take temperatures almost down to freezing and need a cold period to bloom. They need a cool spot in the summer but also need bright light. A S.E. direction is good. They like lots of fertilizer. The ones with the leaves that are several feet long, seem like such a bargain and are sold in grocery stores are more difficult to re-bloom than those sold by growers. That's because they are very floriforous florist plants intended to be disposable.
http://sborchid.com/ lists the Cyms that are heat tolerant, and I think there are a few others that do. Mine are doing well, so far, this year due to a cooler than normal summer (only 1 day of triple digits). The heat won't kill them, but many won't bloom. I understand that in Hawaii they cart them up the mountain at night to get the cooling effect in the fall. It does seem that the large flower types are more finicky than the smaller ones that are comming from China these days.
Yes, the bulk of the florist Cyms are hybridized from high altitude Asian cultivars. Elaine, if you like it and the price is right give it a try. I have one of the really long leaved ones that a neighbor gave me because it had not bloomed since she bought it and she was killing it. I got it healthy and it spiked last year and then I came downstairs and found the entire spike on the floor one morning. I slug had sawn right through the spike. My Cyms are fine this winter but, as Carol mentioned, are refusing to bloom. It was ridiculously hot this past summer. Even a long, cool fall seems not to have encouraged them to bloom. This is a first for me.
Hm, it sure would be presumptuous of me to think I could get one to bloom if you can't, Laurel. What a sad story about the slug decapitating your flower spike!
It's sounding like an interesting challenge - mostly to keep it cool enough through the summer heat, right? We do have that east facing patio door that leads right out into the garden from our bedroom. I have a window box that sits literally inches from the glass. I'd likely try sinking the orchid pot into the window box. I know it stays cooler than the rest of the garden because the lovely variegated ivy has done fine in there, while it died in the flower bed 10ft. away. (I know, I know English Ivy has no business in a Florida garden. It was in a flower basket I got as a gift - got to try growing any darn orphan plant, right?)
If I did get it to bloom I'd see the flowers from my bed in the morning!
Laurel is correct on all counts. I have maybe 8 Cyms that stay outside near a big oak tree all year. They are in big pots that are too heavy to move easily. I there is a freeze coming, I toss a blanket over them and they do fine. In the winter, I slide them out to the tree drip line so they can enjoy the sun. In the summer, I pull them back into more shade. I have two or three that I bought at Publix after the blooms had faded and they had put them on sale to get rid of them. I have been unable to rebloom them but the foliage looks nice. The best bloomer is the one Laurel gave me but those that I bought from growers at plant shows bloom for me also. I feed them Osmocote and water them with the hose along with the rest of the garden.
Thanks, all! I am resigned to waiting until I can do a tour of the Sarasota Orchid Society show this weekend. Not that I'm expecting any bargains there, of course, but at least to see what the local growers have available. I do like to 'buy local' when I can.
I have a list, to hopefully keep my orchid lust under control, and have added Cymbidiums to it, since they are potentially something that will do ok in the landscape for me.
I too usually have no trouble blooming my Cyms. The exception is a few of the more finicky species ones. It was an extraordinarily hot summer this year and I had the plants on the south side deck instead of on the N.E. where they normally summer.
My DH has a business trip to Europe on the slate for this month "some time". If he flies out of Tampa on a morning flight, that might be a good day for me to make an excursion to Apopka after driving him to TPA. He's waiting to hear from his client on dates for that trip, so as soon as we know, I'll let you know.
I'm off to our Epiphany service where they will dress me in a bathrobe and a crown and make me walk around singing "We Three Kings". At least there will be two other guys sharing my fate. Wish me luck.
Dale, thanks so much for the link. They sure are breeding some wonderful, heat-tolerant Cyms. I've sent Everglades Orchids an e-mail asking for names of retailers - hopefully in Florida - where I can buy them since they no longer sell directly.
I live in Toronto Canada and I leave my Cymbidiums on the front steps all summer. I am usually out of the country so they rely on rain for irrigation. Toronto is as hot as hell in the summer. The plants are shaded by a large cherry tree. I leave them out until well into November and after all of the tender annuals have been killed by frost. The flower stalks are usually well advanced. Unfortunately they then go into the basement under lights... too many plants.
Wow, Robb they are gorgeous! Sounds like you've got a good formula going for them. I am a transplanted Canadian from Vancouver, which it turns out is nearly the perfect climate for Cyms.
I'm still feeling my way with the Cyms here. We've had no cold weather yet this winter, maybe 3 nights that got down below 50, so my three Cyms that I got last spring have no flower spikes at all. Doesn't help that they also contracted a bad case of scale insects in the fall. If this winter continues to be so mild (I'm not complaining!!) I think there will be a "note to self" to bring the Cyms inside into the a/c starting in October or so, so that they will get cooler sooner, and maybe set some flower spikes that way.
Meantime, the Sarasota Orchid Society's show was last weekend, and I bought myself a new one, supposedly more heat tolerant and the grower says it may even bloom twice a year for me. We shall see! Here's Cym Silco Yellow
I have two cymbidiums. One from Laurel and one that I bought at Publix for my grandma on her 94th birthday. The one from Laurel is a reliable bloomer. It blooms every year in January. The one from publix, I rescued from my mother "The orchid killer"
She loved the one I got for my grandma. So, she went out and bought another. After successfully killing the one she bought for herself, she surrendered the other to me. I drilled holes in the bottom of the pot and stuck it under a tree with the cym from Laurel. It took about a year to recover from near suffocation. It got two big spikes. I broke the top part of one spike off while tinkering with xmas lights. The flowers on the large one are pretty spent by now. However, the flowers on Laurel's are hanging in there. I pretty much do as Jim does with his...under a tree all year with a bit of osmocote and hose water.
I say...go for it! They require very little care. And, who knows? You may be rewarded with gorgous flowers for the new year.
Ho, believe me, I went for it. Costco had Cyms for $22 each with huge spikes - two of them just jumped right into my shopping cart . . . Laurel assures me they probably will never bloom again but just this years' blossoms are worth it.
I will surely do what Jim does and park them out under my oak trees, eventually. But right now they're in the pool cage where I can appreciate them every time I pass.