Most of the ancestors of today’s cymbidiums originated from the forests of the Himalayas at a height of between 1,200 and 2,800 metres (3,900 and 9,000 feet). From the mountains of India the Asiatic cymbidium belt extends to China, Korea and Japan and right down into the warmer south. There are 44 botanical species.
Cymbidiums grow both in the soil and on trees. Important hybrids were produced in European chateau gardens and were a hobby of the upper classes who liked to have something unusual in their conservatory. A lot of hybrids were later also produced in California, Australia and the Netherlands.
A varied production of pot cymbidiums has been taking place mainly in the Netherlands since 1985.
The pot cymbidium is available from the better florists and garden centres between August and March. With Cymbidiums a distinction is made between minis, large-flowered and cascade varieties.
Pot cymbidiums have long, narrow leaves. The long branches carry six or more flowers. The plant has at least one branch, but often more. Cymbidium’s colour spectrum ranges through white, yellow, green, pink and red to brown. The older a plant is, the more branches it can produce.
Place the plant in a light spot but avoid the full heat of the sun. Ensure fresh air, but avoid draughts or cold. No extreme temperatures. Ideally the plants should be a bit cooler at night. The plant flowers for four to six weeks.
After buying the plant, immerse it immediately. Water regularly. Preferably immerse the plant for ten minutes once a week. Allow the plant to drain fully, avoid excessive water in the pot. There is no need to feed the plant after purchase.
Cut the exhausted branch off completely after flowering. The plant will develop a number of new pseudobulbs, which can produce one or more branches again in the following year. The plant flowers once a year. The natural flowering period is between September and April. After flowering it is hard to get the plant to flower again.
The plant should not be place in too hot a spot during the day. The plant can be placed outside in a shady spot after flowering if necessary. The temperature may not drop below six degrees at night. Continue to water the plant well and add food once every other watering. The plant should be placed in a cool spot indoors at the start of September.
Preferably repot the plant in the spring when it starts to grow. Remove the pot whilst trying to avoid damaging the roots as much as possible. Rinse the roots thoroughly. Place the plant in a pot and preferably fill it with light orchid soil. Ensure that the soil is nice and damp and feed straightaway. Do not water for a number of days after repotting, so that the plant can recover.