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Cymbidiums galore! What now? HELP!

This is a discussion on Cymbidiums galore! What now? HELP! within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I am rereading this thread with an eye towards how to treat my cymbidium now ...

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  1. #21
    Carolla's Avatar
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    I am rereading this thread with an eye towards how to treat my cymbidium now that it's not freezing outside. One concern about starting to put it out is that it could freeze still in the next couple of weeks... well that and that it will get up to 100 or more during the days outside here in the summer. Will they handle summer heat? Also I think it's potted in too large a pot for the plant, but am not so confident about repotting - what medium do I use for it? I've had it a month or two, it hasn't grown, but it hasn't died off either. Should I keep it in the house? All I can offer a large orchid is a West window and I do have AC, we keep the house fairly cool, I don't do heat well myself. It would be easier to put it out and water it with the hose during the summer. Well, I got it cheap, it's my experiment!

  2. #22
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    sudden temperature fluctuations don't help much, especially down to freezing, here our outdoor weather gradually gets cold, and when i lived in the valley, we got overnight lows down to freezing and below, with no ill effects, but the sudden temperature drop from indoors to freezing might harm them. it will most likely cause them to stop growing and stunt the size of a new growth. cymbidiums are rather hardy though. here we get so much sun that they can sunburn, so can cactus for that matter, so i usually provide the brightest light possible just shy of full sun, at least after 11am. i've never had to bring them inside in 20+ years of living in southern california. they can take summer heat, and winter cold. they do need a drop in temp (and i suspect day length change as well) to initiate spikes, for standards (large) and minis that are not the 'warm growing' types, which are even smaller. they have done a lot of new things with them the last few years, using new species to produce new sizes and colors and shapes. as with any orchid, look to root size to determine size of bark mix used. most need the larger pieces of bark. typical 'large orchid bark mix' works fine. i was told years ago, they like deep pots, and never use a pot that is so big the rim is 3" away from the bulbs. that should give you 2 years of growth or more before having to repot. try to only repot after finished blooming (by then new growth should already be starting) but if the bark turns mushy and soggy, repot anyway, any time.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolla View Post
    I am rereading this thread with an eye towards how to treat my cymbidium now that it's not freezing outside. One concern about starting to put it out is that it could freeze still in the next couple of weeks... well that and that it will get up to 100 or more during the days outside here in the summer. Will they handle summer heat? Also I think it's potted in too large a pot for the plant, but am not so confident about repotting - what medium do I use for it? I've had it a month or two, it hasn't grown, but it hasn't died off either. Should I keep it in the house? All I can offer a large orchid is a West window and I do have AC, we keep the house fairly cool, I don't do heat well myself. It would be easier to put it out and water it with the hose during the summer. Well, I got it cheap, it's my experiment!
    I was concerned about that, too. I put mine out as soon as the danger of a hard frost had passed, and that seemed to do the trick. I also introduced them to the hot sun gradually... at first they only got morning sun, but then I was advised to put them in full sun when they showed no ill effects from morning sun.

    I am now giving mine full sun daily... the temps are only getting into the 80's here at the highest (and that's uncommon as of yet... it's typically still in the low to mid 70's on a sunny day), and some of them have started to burn, so I've moved the burning ones back to a "part sun" environment. I think it all depends on what particular hybrid you have and how tolerant it is to temperature and heat.

    I would avoid putting yours outside until the temps are more consistent and you won't dip down to freezing at night. With such a high daytime temp, you'll definitely need to watch the amount of sun yours get, too. Introduce them slowly to higher sun levels, and watch for signs of burning. I was told that yellow-green is the desired color for flowering... I have about 12 of them, and in full sun I have the full range of dark green to light green to fully yellow, to charred. So I think it depends a lot on the particular plant. All of mine are currently in the same exact conditions, but are reacting very differently to the light and heat. You'll want to make sure there's plenty of air movement around your plants to keep the sun from scorching the leaves.

    As for potting media, I have most of mine in very coarse bark, but I bought some in bloom that came in gallon buckets, and I repotted them as soon as they stopped blooming, and I was surprised to see that they were potted in a completely bark-less mixture. It was entirely peat mixed with coarse perlite, and the roots were in AMAZING condition. I was certain that after sitting in this bargain-shop for ages and being sold for $5, they'd be in terrible shape, but they have some of the best roots I've ever seen on store-bought orchids. From the surface it looked like they were in dirt, so I got them out of there asap, but once I got into the mix, the peat and perlite just fell freely from around the plump, happy roots. I now have them in a slightly less coarse bark mixture than my others, since they are coming from a "tighter" mix to begin with. All seem to be doing fine in their media, so these plants seem to be pretty tolerant, as long as the roots are allowed to dry out between waterings.

    I think you'll be fine if you introduce your plant to the higher temperatures and sunlight slowly. I've heard that some people in warmer climates put their cymbids under shady trees to keep the temps down and filter the sun a bit. Just experiment until your plant is growing happily, and make sure you go slowly... you don't want to take your indoor plant and set it out in the 100 degree heat in full sun for a full day right away... the plant will be quite shocked by that and it will likely take damage. But if you pay attention and go slowly, your plant should adapt, and it will tell you when it's getting the right light/heat combo by the color of the leaves.

    My Cymbids have taken off with new growth since being outside... I think yours will do the same. I'm told they like lots of water and fertilizer, so once yours adapts to the sun and heat, start regularly fertilizing and giving it lots of water, and you should see new growth fairly soon. I was told the best time to repot is directly after flowering, but if yours hasn't been doing much for the last couple of months, you could repot now and then put it out, or you could put it out until you see new growth beginning, then repot. I've heard for other orchids that it's best to repot during active growth periods, so if it were me, I'd leave it as-is for now, put it outside, then address the pot issue as soon as you've got some new growth coming in strong. (Of course, if you're worried your cymbid might be rotting, get it out of the pot it's in asap. But if it seems fine, but it's just not growing, you could wait, I think.)

    It might be reassuring to hear that I have over 200 orchids, I've repotted ALL of them, and not a single one has died from repotting. And I certainly wasn't a master repotter in the beginning! I had my share of damaged roots and clumsy propping, plants falling out of their pots and things tipping over. It took me a while to get the hang of it. But no matter what mistake I made, none of the plants DIED after being repotted. So don't worry. Your plant will let you know if it's in trouble, and you'll have time to fix it if you pot it in conditions it's not quite crazy about. You're not going to kill it from repotting it clumsily, and there's room for error in potting. The worst that would happen is that you'd pot it in something WAAAAAY too big for it and that it would sit in wet bark and the roots would rot. But it sounds like you're already keeping an eye on the size of the pot.

    One thing to note... you may find that while the pot looks large from the outside, when you get the plant out of it, it may have so many roots squished together in that pot that you find the pot size is just fine. I actually had bought some really pretty cymbid pots that I thought would be too large for certain cymbids... but then when I got them out of the mix, the roots spread out so much I could barely fit them into the new pots at all!

    The basic rule with all orchids is that you want the contents of the pot to be mostly roots, with the media there to stabilize them and prevent the roots from drying out right away. If you've got a lot of space around your roots when you pot, the pot is too big. The roots should nearly fill the pot, without you having to "squish" them in. Then just sprinkle the bark around the roots and tuck it in here and there to stabilize everything.

    Good luck... sorry about he ridiculously long comment... LOL... I think I nearly wrote a novel here... Hope it was helpful!

  4. #24
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    Yes, it's helpful! Thanks for taking the time.

    I haven't had a lot of orchids, but I've had a couple of Phals for a long time and have some experience repotting. I did lose two plants this year after repotting. I don't think I've had that happen before either. I got some new "coarse" orchid bark (brand I am not familar with) that seems to be much less coarse. One of my Phals and my Vanda hybrid both just died after repotting into this medium. The Vanda is not necessarily the medium - I repotted it (it was in wonderful shape, the roots were crazy good) and went to visit friends for a couple of weeks. It didn't get watered, so I am not sure why it died, but it just started losing leaves until they were all gone. My oldest Phal wasn't growing well, didn't bloom this year, and hadn't been repotted for 2 - 3 years. I repotted it and I am pretty sure it just rotted and lost all its leaves and roots (which were also good roots!). I have a couple other Phals in this mix which are doing ok, but I am really careful not to overwater them. I don't think I'll use that particular medium or brand again and see if I can figure out what I used to use and get back to it! It was a blow to lose that particular Phal, I used flowers off of it for my wedding, 37 years ago! It's the one I use for my icon and I doubt I could find one similar to it, it's not a popular shape today.

    I am headed out of town for 12 days in a week, I think all repotting will wait until I get back, though I have an odontoglossum hybrid that was recently given to me in flower that is done blooming. I really think it needs repotting! I'll just have to call my husband a couple of times and ask him to water some of the orchids - I have a cute little Masdevalia that needs a lot of watering, a tiny Cattleya that I'm rehabbing that's doing great, an itty bitty miniature African Violet that is putting out buds and several Odontoglossum types that need more water than I'm used to as well.

  5. #25
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    Oh, so sorry to hear about your wedding phal! It looks to be a type of amabilis or aphrodite hybrid... do a Google search for Phalaenopsis aphrodite and Phalaenopsis amabilis and I think you'll be able to find some flowers that look similar to yours. Both of these species have been hybridized a lot over the years to achieve a more "desirable" shape, but there are still some people selling the ones that look like wild-collected ones, which yours resembles.

    Since this is getting off the topic of Cymbidiums, I'll pm you about the Vanda situation and the "coarse bark" dilemma. I can tell you why your Vanda died and how you can successfully grow them, and I've got some recommendations as to brands of bark to use. But I don't want to totally derail the Cymbidium thread, so I'll pm you with the info. I'm quite busy at the moment, but I can hopefully get a message to you by tomorrow or so.

  6. #26
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    An update on my cymbidium - I put it out a week or so ago, trimmed off any damaged foliage and put it in the shade for now. It hasn't gotten hot yet, but will move it into more sun soon. It looks very happy and is growing a couple of new growths. Seems it it potted in large bark mainly, I won't change that as long as it is happy. I also hit it up with an insecticidal soap before I put it out. It'll get watered with the rain (rarely) and the sprinkler (regularly) and I'll have to remember to go out and feed it too. I'm having too much orchid fun this spring!

  7. #27
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    I would avoid putting yours outside until the temps are more consistent and you won't dip down to freezing at night. With such a high daytime temp, you'll definitely need to watch the amount of sun yours get, too. Introduce them slowly to higher sun levels, and watch for signs of burning. I was told that yellow-green is the desired color for flowering... I have about 12 of them, and in full sun I have the full range of dark green to light green to fully yellow, to charred. So I think it depends a lot on the particular plant. All of mine are currently in the same exact conditions, but are reacting very differently to the light and heat. You'll want to make sure there's plenty of air movement around your plants to keep the sun from scorching the leaves.

    Wow. You went from four of them to twelve of them in three months. Definitely an "orchid addict". LOL

  8. #28
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    This is incredibly helpful! I just got a little CYM myself, so this is exactly what I needed to read!
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