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Cymbidiums in Sunny South Florida part 1

This is a discussion on Cymbidiums in Sunny South Florida part 1 within the Orchids of Other Genera IN BLOOM forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; Hello group,! I have been growing the usual cattleya, vanda, dendrobium, phalaenopsis and other heat ...

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  1. #1
    glenyorl1 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Cymbidiums in Sunny South Florida part 1

    Hello group,! I have been growing the usual cattleya, vanda, dendrobium, phalaenopsis and other heat lovers for a while. I have been struggling with cymbidiums for a long time because most are not suited to my climate. I have purchased several HTC and WTC from growers in Hawaii to experiment in the heat and humidity of South Florida. At present we have unusually low temperatures in the high 60's. We have had a mild winter but the temperature fluctuations are very erratic

    This is what is currently blooming in my garden. I consider any cymbidium a success if it does not blast. First pic is cym Summer Love, huge standard looking blooms with Golden Elf in its ancestry bud blast 2 buds. Second pic is Enzan Forest "Majolica" 4 spikes lost 2. Third pic is Sunshine Falls "Butterball", it has madidum in its background and is a cupped flower. I did not like it so I reflexed the petals. Fourth is Rosey Cloud, very easy to grow but not very floriferous and low bloom count. However, it is a reliable bloomer

    Hope this encourages growers in warm "non cymbidium" climates
    Attached Images Attached Images     

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    catttan is offline Senior Member
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    Those are gorgeous WTC with form and colour approaching those of the standard cyms. I'm just starting to grow cyms but it is very difficult to get the HTC types. Our day temps are in the mid-high 30 C (90-98 F) and nights are 25-32 C (75 - 85 F). So far Golden Elf does well here. I have recently acquired the HTC Chen's Ruby and Golden Vanguard in bloom and expecting a few more when our vendors get them from Bangkok. Thanks for posting.

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    King Kjeldz is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by catttan View Post
    Those are gorgeous WTC with form and colour approaching those of the standard cyms. I'm just starting to grow cyms but it is very difficult to get the HTC types. Our day temps are in the mid-high 30 C (90-98 F) and nights are 25-32 C (75 - 85 F). So far Golden Elf does well here. I have recently acquired the HTC Chen's Ruby and Golden Vanguard in bloom and expecting a few more when our vendors get them from Bangkok. Thanks for posting.
    just divided a huge11 golden elf into like 20 plants...they do great here...i NEED Vanguard!!! its so beautiful and hot growing as well....i will have to Check Chen's Ruby my temps are like urs daytime 32C and night time 28C..in the greenhouse the mountains drop the nighttime temps to 17C occasionally!!

  4. #4
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    BEAUTIFUL!!! I love that you're growing these successfully in what you consider "non-cymbidium country!" I like a good challenge (hence why I'm growing vandaceous orchids in vases in the middle of winter in Pennsylvania!)

    Anyway, because I live in Pennsylvania, apparently I'm in ideal cymbidium country...although I've just purchased my first few and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with them yet. But I spoke with an orchid expert at a conservatory yesterday, and he said that the cool-growing ones actually can tolerate quite a bit of heat...the cool is only necessary for spike initiation, and that once the spike is about 4-6 inches tall, the plant can be moved into warmer territory for display purposes, and the spike and buds should not abort (although unfortunately this doesn't seem to be your experience, based on your bud and/or spike blast).

    Anyway, this expert said that during the summer at the conservatory here in PA, they put their standard, cool-growing cymbidiums in a slate house outside. The slate house offers 50% shade, but it is not air-conditioned and does indeed get very, very hot in the summertime. The temps regularly soar into the 90's here in summer, and according to this expert, the cymbidiums tolerate the heat just fine as long as they don't have the sunlight directly blasting on them. And in the Orchid House where I was talking to this guy, there were Cymbidiums blooming all over the place...right next to Vandas and Catts and Oncidiums, etc...and it was REALLY hot in that orchid room. He said that the cymbids won't abandon their spikes due to the heat as long as the spikes are about 4-6" tall already when you put them back in the warm spot...hence why they were happily blooming in a room that was extremely hot....but apparently they need it to stay cool while they grow the first few inches of their spikes to really get them well-established.

    So basically, I'm wondering if you folks who live in warmer climates could give your cymbids an "artificial winter" by bringing them inside into your air-conditioning in October or so. I believe you'd want to stop fertilizing then, too. Perhaps you can put them in the coolest room you have that still gives them enough light to grow by. The lack of fertilizer and the cooler temps might just be enough to signal your plants to spike. Then you just wait and enjoy the show indoors when the flowers come.

    Speaking of which, I'm curious if there's a reason you are growing them outside in the heat vs. inside in the air conditioning (except for the obvious 'lack of space' issue that comes with having lots of cymbids)? Can you find a sunny indoor spot that will let them grow their spikes and form their buds in the relative comfort of the air-conditioning? You might be able to completely solve your bud/spike blast issue by just giving them some A/C...

    Anyway, according to this guy I spoke to, once the blooms drop off, you slowly transition the cymbids back outside into the heat for the summer, and then resume your normal fertilization schedule to get next year's growth underway.

    Does that sound like it would make sense? I know you probably don't keep your houses at 40 degrees F and below, like the nights get around here in November, but perhaps it would still be a significant enough temperature drop to signal the plant that it's winter...and therefore time to spike! I've also heard that misting the cymbidum foliage cools the plant through evaporative cooling, so if you have the plant near an air-conditioning vent and you mist it a couple of times a day, it might help with the temperature drops even further.

    Anyway, make sure you update us on your gorgeous cymbidiums! I only have 2 in bloom at the moment, but I've TOTALLY fallen in love with cymbids!!

    Not sure if this long rambling message was any help, but I love your beautiful blooms, and I wish you TONS more success!! Where there's a will, there's a way! Thanks for sharing all the lovely pics, too!!


  5. #5
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    Thanks Jenn for your suggestions but our conditioned rooms are set at around 23 - 25 C - still not cool enough for the standard cyms. But I;m still able to enjoy the sight of the cooler cyms when I visit our highlands where they have the standard cyms in abundance as they grow them for the cut flower trade.

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    Hi Jenn thank you so much for your very insightful observations. I guess what I wanted to show here is the fact that cymbidiums can grow in South Florida. Standard cymbidiums in general require a 20 degree night and day differential to initiate spike and bloom. Any night temperature above 60degrees F will cause bud blast. Hence, the Heat Tolerant Cymbidiums and Warmth Tolerant Cymbidiums. These are bred from the heat tolerant species, usually these originate from the lowlands of Asia. The blooms and plants are normally very small and starry in shape. Hybridizers have been trying to create the form and colors of the standards by breeding them with the smaller species

    Through hybridization, quality, form and hopefully heat tolerance is transferred. All the cymbidiums I grow have heat tolerant species in their bloodline such as ensifolium, dayanmum, parishii, madidium. Whenever I investigate a hybrid I look at its ancestry some of the key indicators are Golden Elf, King Arthur, Kusuda Shining, Peter Pan. However, some do blast or lose their spikes. I consider these warmth tolerant because they do not like the heat but will spike regardless. It is frustrating because I had one with six spikes and only 2 made it to maturity. Even if the buds develop I expect to lose 2 (normally the top 2) I do not mind because I find them very rewarding and showy

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    I know there is a recently published book, written in Thai and English, entitled Heat Tolerant Cymbidiums. There has been some recent breeding in Heat Tolerant Cyms. I have seen some beautiful ones, listed at heat tolerant, being sold by a California orchid vendor.

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    glenyorl1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Kjeldz View Post
    just divided a huge11 golden elf into like 20 plants...they do great here...i NEED Vanguard!!! its so beautiful and hot growing as well....i will have to Check Chen's Ruby my temps are like urs daytime 32C and night time 28C..in the greenhouse the mountains drop the nighttime temps to 17C occasionally!!
    Golden Elf is great it grows super fast. Even when I lived in Trinidad no one had any cymbidiums or orchids for sale. A guy did stop me in the street and offered me oncidiuns for $2 US. Recently Manhins has been selling phals and oncidiums. WITCO had some gorgeous dendrobiums but they are long gone. Maybe you can start your own breeding program?
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenyorl1 View Post
    Hi Jenn thank you so much for your very insightful observations. I guess what I wanted to show here is the fact that cymbidiums can grow in South Florida. Standard cymbidiums in general require a 20 degree night and day differential to initiate spike and bloom. Any night temperature above 60degrees F will cause bud blast.
    Oh, wow...I didn't realize it had to stay THAT cool. Okay, well, that explains why the standard cool-growing ones don't like Florida! I am just learning about the cymbidium family. After I bought my first two in bloom, I sort of went nuts and bought a whole bunch of them online from someone who was selling bare-root bulbs for $.99. I have no idea if the ones I bought are heat-tolerant or not. Do the heat-tolerant ones also tolerate the cold?

    I guess now I'm worried that if I keep my cymbidiums all together outside for the chilly fall nights, the heat-tolerant ones won't like the chill as much and may get damaged...and since I have no idea which ones might be heat-tolerant... oh gosh, now I've gotten myself into a pickle...


    Anyway, sorry for my long, rambly message earlier...I'm a total beginner with cymbidiums but was quite excited after learning so much from the orchid expert at the show I went to...so I perhaps went on a babbling spree... hehee... whoops. And you all were even nice enough to thank me for my "insightful observations" when I was completely off my nut....

    This is why I love you all....

    So you really don't want to try turning your air-conditioning down to 45 degrees and just wearing a whole bunch of coats indoors for several months? It might be worth it...

    Or you could just buy an ice chest and stick the uncooperative cymbidiums in there for a while...that'll teach 'em to drop their spikes!!

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    Good growing, Glenn!

    I just bought my first cyms at a show last weekend. I got one standard and one WT. The seller was basically advising us that the standard cyms should be considered throw away plants in our region, because we can't give them a long enough cold period before it turns absolutely freezing. But, I do intend to give the standard one as much cold as I can manage. It will summer/fall outdoors and even possibly spend some time in the insulated, but not heated, garage with a south window. My friend who keeps his greenhouse furnace set at 55F finds it impossible to rebloom them. And yet, I met a woman who kept her cym indoors and had no idea it had unique needs and it had three 4-foot tall spikes. go figure?

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