Beautiful, wonderful Cymbidium Orchids! I live in Santa Barbara, CA which has the greatest concentration of orchid growers in our country. The cymbidium season here is October through May so I always have a vase full of beautiful blooms in my house during these months. They last for weeks. Both the cut flowers and plants are even sold at our farmers’ market.

These easy-care orchids thrive outdoors in our coastal climate with warm days and cool nights. I grow a few of my own and they repeat bloom every year. I’m going to share with you what they like, how I take care of mine and some tidbits I’ve learned from the growers.

Light

Cymbidium orchids like bright light but not hot, burning sun. Be sure to protect them from the midday sun if that’s an issue where you live. In the winter, however, they can take more sun.

Temperature

As I said above, warm in the day and cool at night is best. This is why they aren’t the ideal houseplant orchid-like the popular Phalaenopsis. They don’t like the low light of interiors nor the dry heat of our homes.

If the evenings are too warm, you won’t get a good bloom set. They need those cooler temps to bring on those flower spikes. The lowest they can go is around 30 degrees but not for a prolonged period. Consistent temps below freezing will hinder the bloom too.

Watering

They don’t like to completely dry out. Watering once a week is a good general rule but that will vary depending on what’s going on climate-wise. These orchids do appreciate a little more water during their growing season. Be sure to use room temperature water. Of course, rainwater is what they love. If you’re seeing brown tips on your orchid leaves it could be because there’s too much salt in your water. You should use distilled water instead of from the tap.

Humidity

Outdoor humidity is fine except for hot, dry climates. They love the Central/Southern California coastal climates.

Fertilizer

The growers use a high nitrogen fertilizer at one time of year and a low nitrogen flower booster one at another time of year. I was talking to one of the growers about this and she said the timing must be spot on. She recommends a to use a balanced fertilizer, like 20-20-20 at reduced strength, year-round at monthly intervals. Once a month is fine – no more.

Repotting

The best time to do this is right after your Cymbidium Orchid has bloomed. As a rule, you don’t need to do it more than every 2-3 years and they bloom best when tight in their pots. They like a slightly acidic mix so it’s best to use a good one that is specially formulated for cymbidiums. This is one orchid that grows on trees or in the ground so the mix will differ from other orchids.

Good to Things to Know About Cymbidium Orchids:

Cymbidiums bloom best when pot-bound so don’t rush to repot them unless they really need it. Only go up 1 pot size and be sure that pot is clean as these orchids are susceptible to bacterial infection. Be sure not to bury the bulbs (they’re actually pseudobulbs) and don’t cut off any of the roots which are sticking out of the top.

Make sure the pot has at least 1 drain hole as they hate to sit in water. Spread and loosen the roots a bit before repotting. Water well and make sure it thoroughly drains out.

Remember, Cymbidium Orchids like bright light and cool evening temps to bloom. After yours has flowered, cut those stems all the way down to the base of the plant to get it to bloom again next year.

They’re available in such a wide array of colors and patterns now that I want them all. I use restraint and visit the orchid greenhouses during the season to get my cymbidium fix. Orchid mania on the Central Coast of California!

Cymbidium Orchid Care

Cymbidium Orchid Care: The Basics

Cymbidium (sym-BID-ee-um) orchids are often used in cut flower displays as well as in corsages. Cymbidium orchids are often called “boat orchids” and the flowers are usually large in size and display a patterned lip. The flowers can last anywhere from 8-10 weeks and they come in almost all colors except blue.

Cymbidium spikes bloom only one time, so once the blooms have dropped you will not be able to encourage a rebloom from the spike as you can with other types of orchids. They typically bloom in the early spring although sometimes you can see flowers beginning to bloom in October or bloom all the way until June. Cymbidium orchids are popular due to their ability to thrive in cooler, drier conditions. If you live in an area with mild temperatures and no frost, you may be able to successfully grow Cymbidium orchids outside.

Water Requirements

A Cymbidium orchid should be watered in the morning using tepid water. This will give the orchid adequate time to dry before the lower night temperature sets in. While the orchid is in active growth, it is recommended that you keep the orchid in slightly damp conditions but never let the medium become soggy.

Watering frequency – as covered in this article about watering orchids – can be determined by a few different things. You will want to water more frequently during the warmer months, at least once a week, and less frequently in the cooler months. Once the pseudobulbs have finished growing, in the late summer, you can reduce your watering schedule although it is important to not let the orchid dry out completely.

Light Requirements

As covered in this article about orchids care and light, Cymbidiums need medium to bright light intensity in order to thrive, and do best with as much light as possible. If your Cymbidium orchid is receiving the optimal amount of light the leaves will be a yellow-green color. Too much light will cause the leaves to become yellow, and too little light will cause the leaves to become a very dark green color.

The best place to grow your Cymbidium orchid indoors in on an east facing windowsill, although a shaded south facing window will also work. If you choose to grow your orchid outside it is important that you give your Cymbidium shelter from direct sun although not in a completely shaded area.

Temperature Requirements

As discussed in this orchid plant care article on temperature, during the summer and fall, day temperatures should be between 75°F to 85°F (23.9°C to 29.4°C), and night temperatures should be between 50°F to 60°F (10°C to 15.6°C). In order to initiate the growth of flower spikes it is necessary to have a nighttime temperature difference of about 20 degrees in the fall. Cooler night temperatures are also needed while the plant is in bud. During the winter, day temperatures should be between 65°F to 75°F (18.3°C to 23.9°) and night temperatures should be between 45°F to 55°F (7.2°C to 12.8°C).

Humidity Requirements

As covered in this “humidity” article on how to care for orchids, Cymbidium orchids require humidity levels of 40-60 percent in the winter when the orchid may be in bud. If you need to increase the humidity level in your orchids growing environment you can do so by using a specially made humidity tray or simply placing a humidifier close by the orchid. Remember, if you have high humidity levels it is equally important to maintain proper air movement to prevent orchid disease.

Fertilizer Requirements

When the Cymbidium is in active growth, you will want to fertilize regularly. An orchid fertilizer solution of (20-20-20) is recommended. During the winter months, applying fertilizer once a month is sufficient. It is important to remember to never add fertilizer to an orchid that is dry because you can cause severe damage to the roots and leaves.

Potting Requirements

Cymbidium orchids should be repotted in a course mix every two years or once the potting medium remains soggy and no longer drains properly. You will want to repot during the spring after the orchids flowers have bloomed. Before repotting, you should trim away the damaged roots with a sterile cutting tool.

The best type of pot to use for a Cymbidium orchid is a clay pot. This is because water evaporates from clay pots faster and this is better for the dryer conditions that Cymbidiums require. Cymbidiums can be divided once the orchid has bloomed and new growth is starting to show. Each division needs at least three to five pseudobulbs.

Another way to propagate a Cymbidium is to use the backbulbs which are the older pseudobulbs that have little to no leaves. Simply remove these with a sterile cutting tool and strip off any leaves that may still be on the backbulb and pot in a small container. You will need to keep the backbulbs moist and place in an area that is fairly shady. You should begin to see new growth and roots appear in only a few short months, and in as little as two to three years, a backbulb can grow into a full sized plant.

And that just about covers the basics! 🙂

Next Steps: Where do you go from here?

A couple options:

#1 – More Free Cymbidium Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your Cymbidiums right away…

#2 – Get Access to ALL My Articles on Cymbidiums…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about Cymbidium orchid care (and caring for ALL types of orchids) we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.

The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.

The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.

Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!

(By the way, this here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))

All my best,

Ryan “The Orchid Guy” 🙂

IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.

It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! 🙂

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For the person who wants the best results use any of the following liquid fertilisers following strength. Aquasol, Johnson’s, Thrive, Campbell’s or Peter’s at grams per litre (1 teaspoon in 5 litres). This is applied with a watering can weekly during the warmer growing season from September to May.

Special Tips

We recommend the use of dolomite lime to prevent the pH of your potting mix getting to low. Low pH may damage the roots, sour the mix and also reduce fertilizers available to your plant. It also supplies the orchid with calcium, chemical needed by cymbidiums but lacking in all fertilisers available. Use rate as for Osmocote but apply it 6 months after potting and then yearly.

Pests and Diseases

Like most cultivated plants, various pests attack orchids and diseases briefly try to cover these.
Snail baits easily control slugs and snails. Use them regularly and after rain and also when the flower spikes are first protruding out of their papery sheaths.
Spider mites Your plant if affected will lose vigour and slowly become limp and lifeless. These tiny and quite microscopic 8-legged sap-sucking creatures flourish in the warmer and dryer orchid houses. Mavrik will keep them under control.
Scale Another pest that sucks the sap of your orchid. These tiny tick like insects under protective scallop like shells. Once established they can be very difficult to kill. Even when dead, the shell remains and it can be difficult to tell if the control has worked. We recommend Antiscale or any of the scale oils. It must be both upper and lower surfaces of the leaves.

Rots and fungal diseases.

Cymbidiums rarely suffer from disease. The only problem home garden problems associated with plants kept in cold, dark or excessively wet spots. Good health or in mixes where the root system is damaged by excess water this occurs the best treatment is to dry the plant out or divide up the plant the rotten parts, cut areas can be treated with sulphur or a similar powder and repotted. Watering should be kept to a minimum for a few weeks and the plant put in an airy position. Plants most susceptible to rotting are neglected plants in or plants kept under very dark positions in the winter months. If this is a problem relocate these plants to a much sunnier position and if possible in an area that is sheltered from the worst winter rains.

Repotting

Cymbidiums do not grow in soils in nature but as epiphytes with their roots exposed or in decaying timber and leaf litter. The roots require regular watering but need to breathe between watering and so require a good open media that allows both water and air to enter freely.

A number of preparations are available. We recommend for Melbourne conditions a coarse composted (not aged) bark, as our winters are very wet and cold. Bark allows better drainage and air movement than some of the mixes that may suit Adelaide or Sydney better.
Our brand of choice is Debco. It is important though; that a grade suited to the size of the orchid is used.

The following is a rough guide.
Small seedlings up to a 15cm pot: Debco 5-10mm. grade
Large seedlings up to flowering size: Debco 8-28mm grade

These medias will last for up to 3 years and supply plenty of air space for the roots.

Repotting is done every 2 to 4 years and is best indicated by the plant bulbs filling the pot or the plant not growing well over the past year. A healthy plant should grow 1 to 2 new bulbs each year from each bulb that grew the previous year. When repotting, the roots should be teased apart to remove old potting mix and then dead roots are to be removed. If required a plant may then be divided into two or more plants by twisting and tearing the bulbs apart. For best results keep each plant as large as possible otherwise the flowering will be retarded for 1 to 2 years.

A plant has three types of bulbs:

  1. Old back bulbs without leaves. These bulbs are not important to the plant and act as a reserve food supply for

    emergencies. It is advisable to leave one of these on each divided plant. Back bulbs can make new plants but

    they may take years to flower.

  2. Old bulbs with leaves. These bulbs support the new growth and may produce flowers for a number of years

    depending on the variety. When dividing, the plant must retain at least two old bulbs or have one back bulb attached to be able to re flower next year.

New leads or bulbs. These are the youngest bulbs on the plant and it is from these that the flowers and most new growth comes. When dividing, at least 1 old bulb and one back bulb must be retained with this bulb to ensure that the plant may flower the following year.

Special tips

Keep your orchids off the ground. This keeps worms, slaters, slugs and snails out of the potting mix. These creatures break down the mix and cause it to become soggy.

The key to growing Orchids as houseplants is to check them at least once a week to make sure that you are meeting their requirements for light, water, humidity, and room temperature. Please read the specific information about the Orchid you have received, as well as the general information on Orchid culture found below. If you have a question that this page does not answer, please call our Garden Advisors at 1(800) 411-6159 from 9 to 5:00 EST, Monday through Friday, or visit the American Orchid Society at www.aos.org.

Beallara — Beallaras prefer intermediate growing conditions (70-85°F during the day; 55-60°F at night). Provide bright light but no direct sun. An east window is ideal, but they also thrive in south- or west-facing windows that are shaded with sheer curtains or blinds. During the growing season (spring, summer, and fall), water freely when the potting medium feels dry 1″ below the surface. In winter, your plant should be kept drier.

Cattleya — These Orchids prefer intermediate growing conditions (70-80°F during the day; 60-65°F at night). Place your plant where it will receive very bright, indirect light. A spot near a south-facing window that is shaded with sheer curtains or blinds is ideal. The resting period (when no new leaves, roots, or shoots appear) is from fall through mid-spring, although this is the time when flowering occurs. In summer, fertilize as recommended below.

Colmanara — Easy to grow as houseplants, Colmanaras thrive in intermediate to warm growing conditions (65-85°F during the day; 55-68°F at night). They grow well in bright but indirect light. During the growing season (spring, summer, fall), water when potting medium feels dry 1″ below the surface. Provide good air circulation.

Cymbidium — Known as the “King of Orchids,” Cymbidiums have long, leathery leaves and large flowers. These Orchids prefer cool to intermediate growing conditions (65-80°F during the day; 45-55°F at night). Provide bright indirect light. A spot near a south-facing window is ideal. In late fall and winter, when the plants are resting (but do produce their blooms), water sparingly. Provide good air circulation around your plant as well.

Dendrobium — These Orchids prefer intermediate to warm growing conditions (75-85°F during the day; 55-65°F at night). Provide very bright light but no direct sun. An east window is ideal, but they also thrive in south- or west-facing windows that are shaded with sheer curtains or blinds. The growing season is from spring to summer; plants rest in winter. These Orchids flower best when grown in small containers; they prefer to be crowded.

Laeliocattleya — These Orchids prefer intermediate growing conditions (70-80°F during the day; 60-65°F at night). Place them where they will receive very bright, indirect light. A spot near a south-facing window that is shaded with sheer curtains or blinds is ideal. Their resting period (when no new leaves, roots, or shoots appear) is from fall through mid-spring, although this is the time that flowering occurs.

Miltoniopsis (Pansy Orchids) — Pansy Orchids prefer cool to intermediate temperatures (70-80°F during the day; 50-60°F at night). Provide bright light but no direct sun, which can burn the leaves. If the leaves’ color begins to change from a vibrant spring green to a pale green, your plant may be receiving too much light. If the leaves turn yellow, the plants are receiving too much water (which may cause rot and death). Take care to keep your plant evenly watered as the leaves will begin to fold or “accordion” if the supply of moisture is not consistent. Once the leaves change shape, they will not flatten out again. In hot areas of the country, it will help to mist your plant in the morning on the days you do not water it. Plants flower in the spring with occasional rebloom in the fall.

Oncidium — Oncidiums prefer cool to intermediate growing conditions (65-80°F during the day; 45-55°F at night). Provide very bright, indirect light. A spot near a south-facing window is ideal. During the growing season (spring, summer, and fall), water freely. In winter, your plant should be kept drier, but not so dry that the pseudobulbs (upright, thickened stems that store water and food) begin to wither. If the pseudobulbs begin to shrink, this means that they are losing water and you have kept your plant too dry.

Paphiopedilum (Tropical Lady’s Slipper Orchids) — These Orchids thrive in bright but indirect light. An east-facing window is ideal, but plants can also grow well in a south- or west-facing window if shaded somewhat by neighboring plants or a sheer curtain. If the leaves begin to bleach to a pale green or yellow green color, then your plant is receiving too much light. The Paphiopedilums we offer need warm temperatures (75-85°F or more) during the day and cool temperatures (60-65°F) at night to set their flower buds. They also prefer a moderate relative humidity — between 40-50%. Do not mist Lady’s Slipper Orchids because misting may cause the growing point, where new leaves are produced, to rot. For optimum growth and flowering, fertilize with a high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer (30-10-10) mixed at 1/4-strength once a month in fall and winter, and at 1/2-strength every 2-3 weeks in spring and summer. Flush with clear water monthly to leach excess fertilizer from the growing medium. Blooms generally appear in late winter. Remove spent flower stems just above the foliage and cut off old, brown leaves.

Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchids) — These are excellent houseplants, producing spikes of spectacular blooms in winter or spring that last for months. Phalaenopsis prefer intermediate to warm growing conditions (70-80°F during the day; 60-65°F at night). Provide bright light but no direct sun. An east window is ideal, but they also thrive in south- or west-facing windows that are shaded with sheer curtains or blinds. The growing season extends from April to October. Please note the special repotting for this type of Orchid listed below. Do not mist a Moth Orchid because misting may cause the growing point, where new leaves are produced, to rot.

Vanda — Vandas produce colorful dappled blossoms. They prefer intermediate to warm growing conditions (63-80°F). Provide bright light but no direct sun. A spot in an east-facing window is ideal, but they also thrive in south- or west-facing windows that are shaded with sheer curtains. To water, fill the container halfway with room temperature water. Wait about 30 minutes and empty the water from the container. Water twice a week or up to 3 times if grown in dryer conditions.

Zygopetalum — These Orchids grow best in daytime temperatures of 70–80°F, with a drop to 55–60°F at night. Provide plenty of bright light but no direct sun, and keep the potting medium slightly moist but not wet.

GENERAL ORCHID CULTURE

WATER: Watering houseplants is always a balance between too much water (which causes rot and eventually kills) and not enough water (which causes leaves, stems, and roots to dry up and eventually kills). Water your Orchid thoroughly with tepid water when the potting medium feels dry 1 inch below the surface, usually about once a week. Lift the nursery pot from its basket or cachepot and carry it to the sink. Water until the excess runs out of the bottom of the pot. Allow the pot to drain, then return it to the container. Do not allow water to pool in the bottom of the container. If the nursery pot sits in water, the plant’s roots will eventually rot. Keep in mind that your Orchid’s need for water will vary throughout the year depending on its surroundings. The need for water increases when the plant is exposed to brighter light, higher room temperatures, or lower humidity, or when it is producing new shoots, leaves, and roots (but not when it is blooming). Some Orchids have pseudobulbs (upright, thickened stems that store water and food). If the pseudobulbs begin to shrink, this means that they are losing water and you have kept your plant too dry.

HUMIDITY: Most Orchids are native to tropical or subtropical regions of the world, where relative humidity is typically very high. They suffer indoors in the dry air produced by furnaces and woodstoves. A relative humidity of 70% is best for most Orchids (provide a relative humidity of 40-50% for Paphiopedilums). You may increase the humidity around plants by running a humidifier nearby. You can also set plants in trays filled with pebbles or gravel. Add water to a level just below the tops of the pebbles (if the potting medium in the pots comes in contact with the water, it will draw water into the pot, which will cause the medium to become saturated, eventually leading to rot). Refill trays frequently to replace water lost through evaporation. Our Humiditrays perform the same function without the need for pebbles. Please note: Although high humidity is important for Orchids, good air circulation around your plant is also essential to prevent disease.

FERTILIZER: During the resting period (when no leaves, roots, or shoots appear, but your Orchid is blooming), fertilize monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer (analysis 20-20-20 or 30-10-10). During the growing season, fertilize more frequently — every 2-3 weeks.

FLOWERING: The Orchids we ship have buds fully visible and will generally bloom within weeks of arrival. Do not remove the flower shoot until it is completely desiccated and lifeless; flower stems that appear to have finished producing blooms may send out more flowering shoots months or even years later. An adequate amount of light (but never direct sunlight) is important for Orchids to grow and produce flowers. A change in temperature between day and night is also necessary for flowering — usually a difference of 10-20°F.

GROOMING: After bloom, remove spent flowers with a pair of scissors, cutting the flowers off where they attach to the flower stem.

REPOTTING: Repot your Orchid every other year or so. After it blooms, remove the plant from the pot and gently shake the old bark from the roots. If you find dead roots (brown or dried out), either pinch them off with your fingers or cut them off with a sharp knife. Repot in a container no more than 1 inch larger than the previous one, using a medium bark designed especially for Orchids. Hold the stem in the center of the pot and fill the pot with premoistened bark, pressing it firmly around the roots with your fingers. The crown of the plant – the point where the stems meet the roots – should be level with or just below the surface of the bark. For Moth Orchids, the lowest leaf should just touch the surface of the bark. Water thoroughly after potting to settle the bark around the roots. If the plant is unable to hold itself upright, support with a bamboo stake and plant clip or twist tie. Please note: Many Orchids produce fleshy, wormlike roots that have a tendency to push their way up through the surface of the bark. This is perfectly normal. There is no need to cover these roots with bark.

My Orchid is Not Blooming

Information on how temperature, light and fertilizer impact an orchid’s ability to flower

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Photo by: Susanne Nilsson.

Question:Not one of my orchids has rebloomed in over a year. I buy them in flower and they look beautiful for weeks, then they never bloom again. I water once every week to 10 days and fertilize monthly, but they don’t look like they’re even thinking about flowering.
— Sue Stewart, Raleigh, N.C.

Temperature Orchids need cooler nights to bloom, try turning the thermostat down by 10 degrees when you go to bed
Light Try placing your orchid in a brighter spot, but if in a south-facing window, filter the light with a shade or curtain
Fertilizer For better flowers, fertilize during the active growing season with a soluble houseplant fertilizer.
Repotting Remove the old potting mix, trim away the oldest roots and sections of the orchid that have lost their leaves or are in decline, and repot with fresh, bark-based potting mix

Answer:PROVIDE A NIGHTTIME TEMPERATURE DROP
Many orchids flower only once a year, but you are definitely overdue for some payback. When they’re happy, your orchids should rebloom about the same month they flowered when you bought them. Don’t worry, your plants are still alive and growing fine, so you seem to be doing almost everything right. A few minor adjustments should bring them back into flower. Orchids that don’t get cooler nights often refuse to make flower buds. If yours are near a window, they’re probably getting at least a partial temperature drop at night, but that may not be enough. Try turning the thermostat down by at least 10 degrees when you go to bed. Many of your other houseplants will thank you for this as well. Cymbidiums, which need serious cold (35°F to 50°F) at night to set flower buds, are the exception to this rule. Put the little dears outside in late summer to early fall for about six weeks, and they’ll develop buds.

Video: Get Orchids to Re-bloom

Courtesy of GrowingWisdom.com.

GET THE LIGHT RIGHT
Another important factor in forming flower buds is exposure to light. All the popular orchids – those you find at florist shops and orchid shows – will grow quite happily on most windowsills. A few, notably the lady’s-slippers (paphiopedilums, or “paphs”), will do well with no direct light, in a north window, for instance. Others, such as the cattleyas, need lots of light and a south window. In fact, many cattleyas and cymbidiums are at their best when their leaves are a little on the yellow side; dark green leaves mean they need more sun. Of course, those that need intermediate light are the easiest to please, and that’s one reason for the popularity of moth orchids (phalaenopsis). When everything is to their liking, many phalaenopsis will bloom twice a year.

If you suspect that light is the problem, first try placing your plant in a brighter spot. If a south window is too intense for your particular orchid, soften the light with a curtain or light-filtering shade. If you’ve got a sun lover but no sunny southern exposure, you’ll need artificial light: Hang fluorescent tubes very close to the foliage, or use powerful halide plant lights, that can be placed farther away. If you can move your plants outdoors in the summer, most of them will appreciate the light and fresh air (they’re also much easier to water and fertilize). Just don’t overdo the sunshine. Outdoors, even sun lovers will need some protection. Bright, dappled shade is best, so don’t move them until the trees have fully leafed out and all threat of frost is gone. Shade-loving orchids should be kept in deep shade, and sun lovers will thrive in a spot that gets direct sun either early or late.

FERTILIZE & REPOT
Fertilizer is probably not your problem. Even without any, plants that are well-watered, get plenty of light, and have a day-night temperature difference will flower. But that said, they will flower better if you fertilize them properly. Any soluble houseplant fertilizer like Peters or Miracle-Gro will serve well. Fertilize only during the active growing season, when the sun is strong and the days are long. From mid-December until mid-February, hold off on fertilizing. Repotting your orchids this spring may also improve their chances of flowering. Phalaenopsis, which grow more rapidly than other orchids, should certainly be repotted once a year, at the beginning of their active growth period, when you see fresh new roots or a shoot; some people repot them every time they finish flowering. Orchids with a growing point that creeps along the surface in one direction (cattleyas, oncidiums, and cymbidiums, for example) should be repotted when that tip reaches the edge of the pot. With repotting, bigger isn’t necessarily better. You can put your orchid in the same-size pot or even take it down a size. Just remove the old potting mix, trim away the oldest roots and sections of the plant that have lost their leaves or are in decline, and repot it with new bark-based potting mix. After repotting, resume your watering routine, and as soon as you see new growth, start fertilizing. Your plants will quickly show signs of rejuvenation, and after a few months you should begin to see fresh new flower spikes.

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Pictures of Orchids from the NYBG
Houseplants

You got a moth orchid as a holiday gift. Or as a birthday present. Maybe it came from your grandmother, who also informed you that the plant’s horticultural name is Phalaenopsis and that there are dozens of species. But this is not what concerns you: the problem is the flowers have shriveled, leaving behind a bare spike and a couple of waxy green leaves in a pot. You wonder, “When my orchid bloom again?”

Mary Gerritsen understands your pain. Orchid whisperer Gerritsen coaxes hers to flower again every year—and shares her top plant care tips here.

The author of A Bay Area Guide to Orchids and their Culture has been growing orchids since the 1970s and says: “Most of the indoor orchids I have are ones someone got as gift and the flower fell off and so they said, ‘Here,” and gave it to me.”

Photography by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.

Above: “Most Phalaenopsis are shipped here from Taiwan, flattened in a container ship, smushed in Sphagnum moss,” says Gerritsen. “When they get here, to get them to bloom they are grown in special circumstances involving light and temperature.” Your job: replicate those circumstances at home.

What should I do when my orchid stops blooming?

The goal is to get your moth orchid to bloom at least once a year, for several months. (Some of Gerritsen’s will bloom for eight to ten months.)

First, cut off the old flower stalk at the base of the plant. Then put your moth orchid in a room in your house that simulates the conditions that will cause it to flower again. For starters, it will need a month’s worth of daily temperature drops of at least 10 degrees from day to night.

“In your house, you tend not to have big drops; the temperature tends to be set to a steady 68 degrees,” says Mary. So put your orchid in a room that gets a little cold by the window—and put your orchid in the window. When the sun goes down, the heat will drop and the cold will stimulate it to re-bloom.

Tip: “My room has a window that faces south, has no heat vent, and basically has glass on two sides and a skylight, so it gets a temperature spike during the day,” Gerritsen says.

Above: In the wild, many moth orchids thrive in humidity and moist climates, in filtered sunlight beneath a canopy of trees. Keep them out of harsh, direct sunlight.

When should I re-pot my orchid?

“Often the ones from the florist have damaged roots,” says Gerritsen. “Make sure it’s not done up as a throwaway, stuffed in a pot with a bunch of pebbles, reindeer moss, and no drainage.”

Tip: Re-pot, after an orchid stops blooming. Take it gently from its pot, shake off the old bark, and cut off any dead roots with a sterile razor blade or scissors. “Don’t make the mistake of putting into a bigger pot, because orchids don’t like that,” says Gerritsen. “They like to have their roots crowded in a small space.” So pot it into a same-size pot, holding its leaves so the roots dangle into the pot. Add bark and gently mix the pieces around its roots to hold them snugly.

Gerritsen recommends a potting medium of Douglas fir bark to aid drainage and air circulation. A 1-gallon bag of Douglas Fir Bark For Orchids is $17.99 from Amazon.

Above: Once established, a moth orchid will bloom year after year. “I have a friend in Washington, D.C. who I have been visiting for 25 years and she has had the same Phalaenopsis in her window all that time, and it blooms every year,” says Gerritsen.

How much sun does a moth orchid need?

Orchids like bright, indirect light. “Most important—no burning hot sun,” says Gerritsen. “Don’t put it in direct sun, which can cook it.”

Tip: North-facing windows tend not to get enough light to satisfy an orchid (“unless the building across the street is white or a shiny material and you get a lot of reflected light,” says Gerritsen).

Above: If you put a moth orchid in a west-facing window, the problem is it gets sun in the hot part of the day. “Move it farther back from the window or put a sheer curtain between the orchid and the window,” says Gerritsen.

Tips For How To Make An Orchid Bloom

Once thought to be a finicky and tricky plant to grow at home, many people are discovering that some types of orchids are, in fact, very easy to grow and care for. While they are easy to grow and care for, many people still wonder how to make an orchid bloom. After all, if an orchid won’t flower, then it is missing the element that makes these plants so desirable. If you are wondering how to make my orchid bloom, keep reading for some tips.

Basic Orchid Care for How to Make an Orchid Bloom

Light for Getting Orchids to Bloom

For most houseplant orchids, the lack of light is the number one reason that the orchid won’t flower. Orchids are deceptive when it comes to light because the leaves of the plant can look healthy and green while, in fact, the orchid plant is getting too little light to truly thrive.

If you are trying to make an orchid rebloom, the first thing to try is moving the plant to a brighter location. The best place to put an orchid is in a south- or east-facing window. Also, make sure that the leaves are free of dust and dirt. Even a thin layer of dust can block the light. The same goes for the windows. Frequently clean the windows that provide light to your orchids.

When you move your orchid to brighter location, you may notice that the leaves become a lighter green. This is normal. Orchids that are getting enough light will have light or medium green leaves.

While all orchids need light, most cannot tolerate direct sunlight. Place them near windows so that they can get as much light as possible, but do not place them in the direct line of the sun rays.

Correct Temperature to Make an Orchid Rebloom

Different kinds of orchids have different temperature needs. In order for an orchid to rebloom, it must be in the correct temperature range for its variety. Most houseplant orchids are either Cattleya, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsi. Their temperature requirements are:

Paphiopedilum – In order to flower, paphiopedilum orchids typically need temperatures of 70-80 F. (21-27 C.) during the day and 50-60 F. (10-16 C.) at night. These kinds of orchids that have variegated leaves will prefer that these temperatures be about 5 degrees warmer.

Additional Tips for Getting an Orchid to Bloom

While light and temperature are crucial to making an orchid rebloom, also essential is making sure that your orchid gets the appropriate general care for its variety. Humidity, water and fertilizer are all important to general orchid care.

Cymbidium Orchid white,pink,green

1 Stem, FREE SHIPPING

In the comments section on the checkout page, please enter the date you would like to receive your flowers. This is so that we can ship them overnight the day before. Please be advised that flowers only ship Monday through Thursday.

Cymbidium Orchids are delicate tropical flowers that will bring light and beauty to any space. Each bloom opens gently with six petals and we sell them in white, pink and green. Cymbidiums also work wonderfully as an accent in a tropical centerpiece arrangement or bouquet! Cymbidium orchids are very similar to dendrobium orchids except they have much bigger flowers on them. Love, beauty, fertility and charm are just a few of the qualities Orchid flowers have been known to represent.

When to Place an order:

Orders can be placed up to 45 days in advance of your event. The delivery date should be at least two days before your event to ensure hydration and to allow flowers to bloom. Most flowers are shipped in bud form to avoid damage during transportation and to give maximum life to our clients. Please keep the following in mind: Lilies and some other flowers require 3-5 days’ additional time to bloom, depending on variety. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.

IMPORTANT: Please unpack your flowers immediately, cut the stems with a sharp instrument and place in clean tap water to hydrate.

Shipment and tracking:

Wholesale Flowers and Supplies ships all flowers via FedEx next day delivery. We do ship flowers from Monday to Thursday. That means if you type in your order delivery day for the 3rd of July, the flowers will ship on the 2nd of July. If you need your flowers for Monday, you should place your order not later than Thursday at 1 pm Pacific time of the previous week.

Wholesale Flowers and Supplies ships all supplies separate from fresh flowers, according to the service you choose.

Each shipment will generate a different tracking number, which you will receive in the e-mail you provide.

Order Change or Cancelation:

Order changes and cancelations can be made 2 days before your delivery date for orders under $1000, and 5 days before on orders over $1000. There are no additional charges for order changes.

Important:

By placing this order, I agree that:

– the fresh cut flowers I receive have been kept in boxes in a cooler during transportation and will not be ready to display right away.

– in order to have the flowers ready for arrangements, I must clean, trim and hydrate the flowers and greenery upon arrival.

– the flower colors could have slight difference from the photo colors due to the natural origin and different monitor display settings.

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