Apartment plants



Genus of forty species of epiphytic and terrestrial orchids, originating in central and southern Asia and Australia, there are numerous Cymbidium hybrids on the market, with brightly colored flowers. They produce numerous flattened pseudobulbs, bound together by short fleshy rhizomes; each year the plants produce new pseudobulbs, each of which bears a dozen long stiff, ribbon-shaped leaves, slightly arched, of a bright green color, which can reach 90-100 cm in length. In spring at the base of the pseudobulbs develops a long erect, fleshy stem, which brings up to 15-20 large fleshy flowers, white, yellow or pink. Numerous hybrids exist on the market, even with small or very large flowers. The flower is generally light in color, pastel, and has a conspicuously mottled lip; they remain in bloom for weeks, which is why they are among the most widespread orchids as cut flowers.

Cymbidium exposure

The most common Cymbidiums on the market are of Asian origin, and come from the mountainous areas of central Asia; therefore they love not too hot places, with summer temperatures below 30 ° C, and cool winters; they do not fear short frosts, although in general they are grown in the apartment or in a cold greenhouse during the winter. To encourage flowering it is advisable to cultivate the plants outdoors in a cool place until the first winter cold arrives, then bring the plant indoors or place it in a place sheltered from frost. Remember to cultivate in a location that is not too sunny, but well bright and ventilated.
Cymbidiums particularly like sunny exposures, which favor abundant blooms. Temperatures that are too high can however, especially in summer, cause discoloration of the leaves and sometimes burns. Full sun is therefore recommended in the middle seasons and sun only in the morning from June to September.

Cymbidium medium

They are grown in a light, neutral or alkaline compost, formed by 1 part of garden soil, 2 parts of osmunda and 1 part of Sphagnum, with the addition of bark, polystyrene or other loose material.
They are very adaptable: they grow discreetly in all substrates at least slightly acid and guarantee a good water drainage. However, both in pots and in the ground, the ideal is to insert them in a mixture of coarse pine bark and other inert material (polystyrene, expanded clay or possibly perlite). It is useful to add some charcoal to disinfect. It's ok to add a little peat in the ground.

Family, genus, species Orchidaceae, gen Cymbidium, about 50 species and countless hybrids
Origin Southeast Asia, North Oceania
Foliage persistent
Use From flower, from apartment or garden
Height at maturity 1 meter
Growth rate average
Maintenance Low and easy
Water needs High, especially in summer
Minimum temperature -2 ° C
Ideal temperature in the vegetative period Up to 25 ° C
Ideal temperature in the vegetative rest 10-13 ° C

Sun-half-shade (half shade in summer)
Ground Aggregates (bark, expanded clay, polystyrene) and peat
Fertilizer Liquid or slow release, high potassium intake in spring and autumn
soil pH acid
Soil moisture fresh
Environmental humidity Medium-high
Propagation division


In the summer period it is watered frequently, avoiding that the surface of the substratum dries up between one watering and another. In winter the watering must be less frequent. During the summer, or even in winter, in the case of house-grown specimens, we frequently vaporize the foliage, to cool it and to provide an abundant environmental humidity.
It wants frequent irrigations during the vegetative period, especially during the summer: from spring to autumn the roots must always be fresh. Instead, we simulate a small dry season during the winter, which will stimulate the production of stems.
A good way to spray the cymbidum is to dip the jar in a bain-marie for a few hours so that the plant absorbs the water properly and then drain the plant well.


After flowering it is possible to divide the tufts of pseudobulbs, repoting them individually; we remember that the Cymbidium seem to bloom more easily if cultivated in small containers.

repotting Always, except in bloom
Flowering February to May; September December
Vegetative rest Lightweight: November-February
Division Always, except in bloom

Parasites and Diseases

The leaves and stems can be infested with scale insects, which make the plants sticky and sooty, slowing down their growth. If subjected to sudden changes in temperature, humidity or lighting, they can easily lose the buds and flowers.

Cymbidium climate

They are among the orchids that are best suited to the climate of our country. They tolerate temperatures well up to -2 ° C, especially if they are well exposed during daylight hours; they can therefore be grown in the open ground or in pots perpetually outside along the coasts and in the Center-South. In the other regions they should instead be withdrawn in a cold greenhouse at least in the months from November to February. A little more attention requires smaller hybrids which, given their ancestors, are more sensitive to cold: they start to suffer damage already at 5 ° C and should therefore be considered houseplants or warm greenhouses.

Repotting cymbidium

It is done every 2-3 years, when the roots are seen to come out of the drain holes. We can simply insert the plant in a larger container (at least 4-5 cm in diameter) or divide into sections (with a saw, because the roots will be inextricable), leaving 3 backpipes in each. Before reassembling we disinfect with sulfur. We then keep in the shade and avoid watering for about a month.

Cymbidium fertilization

It needs abundant fertilizing: at the end of winter, to support flowering, it is good to distribute liquid products with a high potassium content. Once wilted we will instead stimulate vegetative growth by increasing the nitrogen content and then decreasing it again in favor of potassium and phosphorus with the arrival of autumn.

Variety of Cymbidium

The cymbidium orchids they are terricolous plants coming from South-East Asia and from the North of Oceania. More than 50 species have been classified in nature but, thanks to its success as an ornamental plant, countless horticultural hybrids have been created since the beginning of the 20th century with flowers of various colors and different sizes and portions.
Among the botanical cymbidiums we report
- Cymbidium aloifolium from all over Southeast Asia, it produces stems bearing up to 45 small dark orange flowers. It is an epiphytic plant and likes temperate climates.
- Cymbidium atropurpureum originally from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. It is an epiphytic plant that prefers warm climates. It produces very rich floral stems falling into the dark red with white dotted labellum. It blooms from August to October.
- Cymbidium devonianum from the North of China, very adaptable since it is among the most rustic. To flourish it requires a prolonged summer rest and winter dormancy. It wants well-ventilated and slightly humid environments. It produces decombent stems with at least 20 very fragrant green flowers.
- Cymbidium goeringii From all over Southeast Asia; terrestrial plant suitable for a cool-temperate climate. The stems are short with few flowers, from green to orange, very fragrant.
- Cymbidium lowianum From India and Burma. Epiphytic plant from temperate-cold climate. Very generous stems with acid yellow flowers that last a long time, produced around February.
- Cymbidium sanderae from Burma; it has upright flowering stems bearing up to 15 fragrant white flowers, produced around February-March. It is an epiphytic plant that likes a temperate environment.
- Cymbidium tigrinum also from Burma, small in size, it is suitable for cultivation in an apartment or in a warm greenhouse. The stems are up to 25 cm long, the olive-green flowers, produced at the beginning of the summer.
- Cymbidium tracyanum widespread species in cultivation, from which innumerable hybrids derive. Originally from Burma, it is grown in a cold greenhouse or directly outside (in pots or even in the open ground) where the temperatures never drop below -2 ° C. The stems, produced at the end of winter, are up to 60 cm long and can carry up to 15 flowers each. In this species they are yellow-green with red spots, but they are available in a very wide range of colors thanks to various crosses.
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