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Cymbidium - temp fluctuation

This is a discussion on Cymbidium - temp fluctuation within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have had a cymbidium for several years now and would really like to bloom ...

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  1. #1
    hcubed's Avatar
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    Default Cymbidium - temp fluctuation

    I have had a cymbidium for several years now and would really like to bloom it one of these days.

    Granted it was my first orchid, so I have been regrowing the roots but I think it is much stronger this year, so I have been experimenting with temp lately.

    At the moment I put it in the kitchen with the window open and door closes for nights - the thermometer just on the other side of the open window read 9.2C for a low last night (that's 48.65F). I would assume it to be a little warmer inside the room, but not too much.

    And during the day I am putting it in a south window with bright fall light where the thermometer (right next to the plant) is around 25C (77F) or higher if in the full sun (though I rarely let the plant itself bake as much in the sun as the thermometer).

    I am planning to let it get a couple degrees colder at nights but from what I have read, that seems like a good temp fluctuation.

    For any of you successful bloomers out there - what do you think? I am doing it right?? Should I assume that the temp requirements are about right and that if it doesn't bloom this time round the plant still isn't strong enough. Or is there some other factor I should improve??

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    wetfeet101b's Avatar
    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    Most cymbidiums can tolerate temperatures as low as 30F. So it might be better if you left the plant outdoors the entire time when the nights are cool, and give it some protection from the sun during the day.

    The flower bud cells initiate when the plant is exposed to several weeks of cools nights (40F-55F) and warmer days. They say the key is to have at least a 15F degree difference between the day and night temperatures. A greater difference in temperatures seem to produce better results.

    Once the spike does emerge, then it will need to be protected from cold temperatures.
    The plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 30F without damage to the leaves. However, the flower buds can be damaged by 35F.

    I would not expose my plants to that much cold though, my personal preference would be to keep them above 40F. That is enough to trigger a flowering response, without risking frost damage.

    I hope this helps

    ~John

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    Unfortunately I don't have any option to keep the plant outside (city living, no balcony) - I would if I could!

    I THINK I am on the right track though - if I keep the cold exposure nights up longer and wait for it to drop a few more degrees, that ought to be about right.

    Though I think I am already over a 15F degree drop if I am going from 48 to 75F. It actually wouldn't be quite as warm outside during the day, since my south window gets nice and warm in the fall light. Outside it is only in the 60s.

    Thanks for the input!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    Most cymbidiums can tolerate temperatures as low as 30F. So it might be better if you left the plant outdoors the entire time when the nights are cool, and give it some protection from the sun during the day.

    The flower bud cells initiate when the plant is exposed to several weeks of cools nights (40F-55F) and warmer days. They say the key is to have at least a 15F degree difference between the day and night temperatures. A greater difference in temperatures seem to produce better results.

    Once the spike does emerge, then it will need to be protected from cold temperatures.
    The plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 30F without damage to the leaves. However, the flower buds can be damaged by 35F.

    I would not expose my plants to that much cold though, my personal preference would be to keep them above 40F. That is enough to trigger a flowering response, without risking frost damage.

    I hope this helps

    ~John
    This is very helpful Wetfoot John! I bloomed a couple of mine by mistake last year; this season I will be more purposeful. (And they probably won't bloom at all! LOL)

  5. #5
    wetfeet101b's Avatar
    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hcubed View Post
    Though I think I am already over a 15F degree drop if I am going from 48 to 75F.
    That should be within the ideal temperature swing to trigger flowers.

    The one thing that I have not been able to confirm with cymbidiums is whether the fully grown, unbloomed pseudobulbs can still produce flowers if exposed to the proper temperatures later on, or if they can only produce flower cells when exposed to the proper temperatures while still very young.
    I have seen fully grown pseudobulbs produce spikes on some of my plants. But some growers believe that those pseudobulbs probably already created an inflorescence "nub" while the pseudobulb was still young and only decided to sprout the spikes later.

    With the myriad of modern hybrids nowadays, it will be hard to pinpoint the exact behavior of our orchids. The only way to increase our chances of blooming them is to expose them to the required temperature swings as often and as long as possible.
    Its like a shotgun approach - sooner or later we gotta hit something.

    ~John

  6. #6
    hcubed's Avatar
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    Oh, so I need to have a semi immature bulb to get a bloom?

    That sounds complicated...

    Mine has 2 brown leafless bulbs, 2 older bulbs which lost some leaves, 1 bulb that is relatively new but probably mature now and a new growth on the way. But I don't think the new growth will be complete for some months yet.

    Is there anyway to know if either of the newest two bulbs are in the right stage for this?? What stage is important for the exposure - I think I am too late on one bulb and too early on the other...

  7. #7
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    Is it safe to give them that nice 25F temp swing for 6 months or more out of the year? If so, I'd just go that route. That way you get the "bloom swing" exposure on the young growth and the older.

    Like John said: shotgun approach.

  8. #8
    hcubed's Avatar
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    Well, it's not THAT cold in the summer here! Or did you mean all winter long? I guess I will just keep plugging away at it for a while longer...

  9. #9
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    I just wanted to mention one thing, if you get buds try too keep the plant away from dry heat and on the cool side . I found out the hard way with my first Cymbid . Had it outside got 3 spikes with buds , brought it in the house kept it too warm and dry they blasted ,all of them After the green house went up I put them in a cooler corner of it and all was fine . Gin

  10. #10
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    Yes, I meant all fall/winter/spring... basically, the seasons where you're more likely to see the 25F + temp differences... or, at least can force them by opening windows a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubed View Post
    Well, it's not THAT cold in the summer here! Or did you mean all winter long? I guess I will just keep plugging away at it for a while longer...

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