Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cymbidium! Cymbidia?

For the first time EVER, all four of my Cymbidium orchids are blooming!

Back when I wrote my first orchid book (2002) I warned readers that Cymbidium could be tricky to bloom indoors because of the temperature drop required to set bud. You know how I like a challenge. I've never actually bought a Cymbidium for myself, but when they finish blooming for clients, I bring them home and experiment.

I think I've got it down.

The Cymbidium go outside in May and spend 4-5 months in the shade of a blue spruce. They're the last house plants to come indoors in October, staying out till nighttime temps get into the upper forties. I move them to a north facing window in the guestroom, and set the thermostat to fifty.

I usually see several bloom spikes start in February; last year I spoke harshly to one recalcitrant orchid, explaining that non-productive plants might find themselves on the compost pile. Would I really have done it? We may never know.

Perhaps this is Mother Nature's way of rewarding me for all the hard work I've been doing, writing this new orchid book. The first third of the text is due on Tuesday and I've been busting my ass to meet the deadline. (75 pages in 18 days? That's tight!)

Thanks Mother Nature, I'd say we're even.

P.S. Clivia says hello, too. She sits on the cold windowsill, next to the Cymbidium Sisters.


At February 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM , Blogger Marie said...

I hear that beating them helps, too. Produces lots of salicylic acdi. At least in shrubs and trees...

Well done!

And the clivia, gosh. If you do ever make it to SA in springtime, you will enjoy their balls of flowers in my mom's shady areas...

At February 27, 2011 at 11:55 AM , Blogger Marie said...

Acid. Erk.

At February 27, 2011 at 7:13 PM , Anonymous Zoe said...

What a stunning bunch they are... And how kind of them to bring spring inside, and extra early. I didn't know they could be kept without a greenhouse, but I will certainly give it a go now!

At February 27, 2011 at 11:38 PM , Blogger meemsnyc said...

Oh wow, those are gorgeous! Love cymbididums!

At February 28, 2011 at 12:55 PM , Blogger Mum said...

Hi Ellen: The photos of the orchids are glorious. I loved seeing them. Imagine having the patience to keep old orchids with just the right nurturing...and several years late have such remarkable results. Love, Mum

At February 28, 2011 at 3:43 PM , Anonymous Mark said...

Stunning success, Vixen! Nothing blooms in my house right now. My clivia holds out for summer. Your blooms must help you through the ragged end of winter. That's a great bonus for your patience in keeping them around, espcially, the cymbids.

At February 28, 2011 at 6:38 PM , Blogger Sara said...

I always pish-tosh the flowers, but WOW! I think those recalcitrant bloomers must be especially thrilling. Lovely...

At February 28, 2011 at 9:36 PM , Blogger flwrjane said...

Never ever have I gotten an orchid to rebloom.

I bow to you.

They're beauties each and every one.

Thank you for linking up. These are treasures.


At March 2, 2011 at 5:56 AM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

Congrats on the new book, and on the prolific simultaneous blooms!

At June 23, 2011 at 2:09 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Marie,
Thanks for this info. I've had a cymbidium for about 3 - 4 years now, bought it as a bargain, with no flowers and it hasn't obliged yet! So will try your tip of outside and temperatures !
Thanks a million UK Jenny


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