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How to care for cymbidium orchids 101

Cymbidium orchid plant is a genus of evergreen flowering plants in the orchid family Orchidaceae, commonly known as boat orchids. Cymbidium orchids are epiphytic which means that they grow high up on tree canopies with unique aerial roots. 

Some important points:

  1. Flowering time between mid-autumn to mid-spring
  2. Planting or re-potting time after flowering in spring
  3. Aspect bright light, shade from direct sunshine in summer
  4. Hardiness: minimum 4-10°C (46-50°F)

We are going to share with you how we take care of our cymbidium orchids and some tidbits we’ve been using for many years.

Cymbidium Orchid Care


Cymbidiums do best in higher grade materials that retain water as well as provide aeration to the roots. Some good examples are coco chip and wood chip.  A good potting mixture can consist of 3 parts of coco chip, 1 part coconut peat, 1 part perlite with a pinch of bone meal. 


Cymbidium orchids do best in daytime average temperatures of 22 degree Celsius and evening average temperatures of 12 degree Celsius. At temperatures above 30 degree Celsius  the plants will have to be misted regularly and shaded from the direct sunlight. At temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius it is advisable to grow the plant indoors or in a green house. 

Typically Cymbidiums are temperate plants but there have been instances where it has been grown successfully in sub-tropical climates such as Kolkata or even Bangalore. The main reason people refrain from growing in sub-tropical climates is that there is a misconception that Cymbidiums require winter temperatures of 0-8 degree Celsius in the evening to flower.

However the main issue is the maximum temperatures. In the heat of the summer the plants must be shaded from the direct sunlight and regular misting and airflow is required to bring down the temperature. In Kolkata where the temperature reaches an average minimum of 13 degree Celsius in winter, the Cymbidium orchid will flower. Thus the main issue is the heat of the summer when the plants get stressed and without care, it will not be able to grow, let alone flower in the winter.

We need an environment with adequate ventilation as it reduces temperature as well as prevents disease and pests from infesting the plants.



Cymbidium orchid suitable growing conditions has bright light but not full sun exposure. Make sure to protect them from the midday sun if that’s a concern you’re living in such as sub-tropical climates. But they can get more sun in the winter. If growing indoors it can be placed on a window sill that receives ample sunlight through out the day.

For Cymbidium orchid cultivation outdoors, a sheltered spot is needed outside, where they will receive morning sun while avoiding the harsh afternoon sunlight. If temperatures are favorable they can be kept under roof overhangs such that it is only exposed to morning and afternoon sunlight. 

To achieve this in a green house a 30-50% shade net is available for sale in local gardening stores. Similarly if growing in a terrace or backyard, the same is required. 



In the summer when the temperatures are higher, a slightly higher humidity of 60% is required. In the winter when the temperatures are lower, lower humidity of 50% can be maintained. To achieve this indoors, the pot of Cymbidiums can be placed on a humidity tray. In a greenhouse the ground below the pots can be drenched with water.



They don’t like to dry out fully, at the same time over watering will lead to root rot.  Make sure the Cymbidium orchid plant only gets water if the potting mixture is almost dry. If using a moisture meter, water once moisture in the pot reaches 10%. Most plants die needlessly from being over-watered. Watering once a week is a good general rule, but it will vary depending on the climate.

Make sure you have water at room temperature. Rainwater, of course, is what they want. If you see brown tips on the leaves of your orchid, this generally points to issue with the roots. It may be because your water contains too much salt, or the roots are rotting. Rather than using tap water, you should use distilled water.


The best time to repot is right after your Cymbidium orchid plant has bloomed. As a rule, you don’t have to do more than every two or three years, and they bloom best when they’re tight in their pots. We like a slightly acidic mixture, so it is better to use a good mixture that is specially formulated for cymbidiums. This is an orchid that grows on trees or on the ground so that the mixture differs from the other orchids.



Growers use a high nitrogen fertilizer at one time of year and a low nitrogen crop booster at another time of year. The timing must be spot on. The uses of natural fertilizers such as 20-20-20 at half intensity, throughout the year at monthly intervals. It’s all right once a month–no more.


Unlike other orchids, Cymbidium orchid plant is densely packed with dark colours and thick flower petals, with their long flower stems. Plants produce flowers that have been embellishing your home for months without much care.
Cymbidium orchid plant is found in the wild throughout the Himalayas, China, Japan and Australia. The plants we see on sale today, however, are the result of decades of diligent breeding throughout the world by breeders. Evidence suggests that in the time of Confucius, it was one of the first orchids to be grown in China 2500 years ago. Since then it has held its status of luxury and elegance across the world until today.

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Ramen Acharys - मार्च 17, 2021

I am in Kolkata. Can I plants Cymbidium orchid.
Please help me regarding cymbidium.

Jaya - फ़रवरी 1, 2021

Nice information

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