Cymbidiums are the most popular orchids grown in Australian gardens. Most are grown in containers, but these exotic and glamorous plants can also be grown in garden beds in warm, frost-free climates.
These orchids form clumps of light green strappy leaves. In winter and early spring, they produce robust stems of flowers with many flowers on a single stem. These orchids are ideal for beginner orchid growers. Their flowers are large with colours that include green, pink, magenta, yellow, cream, white and brown tones. Often blooms have distinctively marked patterns on the labellum (lip).
Aspect Cymbidiums need a lightly shaded position out of direct sunlight, which may scald foliage and flowers. Avoid full shade as, although the plants will grow, they will not flower. Ideal positions include a fernery, balcony, or dappled light under a tree. They are not suited to indoors unless in a conservatory but can be brought indoors for up to six weeks while in flower.
Soil Cymbidiums don’t grow in soil. In their natural habitats they grow in leaf litter so select a coarse growing media made up of un-composted bark such as a purpose-made orchid potting mix, which provide excellent drainage. Select pots with lots of drainage holes and elevate pots slightly to aid drainage. As these orchids have large, white fleshy roots they can rot quickly if the plants are allowed to sit in water or very wet potting mix.
Climate Cymbidiums come from the tropics, subtropics and some warm temperate zones including parts of Australia, often from high altitudes. They do well outdoors in warm temperate to tropical conditions but need protection from cold and frost in cold zones.