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New Cymbidium Owner - Gift

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by gtraver, May 23, 2021.

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  1. gtraver

    gtraver New Member

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    Hello! I’ve recently been gifted
    Cymbidium orchids from my late grandfather-in-law from his stock of orchids that he’s been propagating for 20 years here in Sacramento, CA. Any advice would be great as I’m unsure of the state of them and what I should be looking for or working on to keep/get them healthy.
     

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  2. Roberta

    Roberta Active Member

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    Wonderful for you to carry on your grandfather's legacy!

    Have you repotted them? Cyms usually need repotting about every 3 years or so even if they haven't outgrown the pot - the bark breaks down, and while they like being on the moist side, they do resent growing in mud. Other than that, they need to be well drained but don't need much TLC. Generally I'd grow them outside (some shading from noon day sun but very bright) With a bit of shade, they'll put up with your triple-digit (F) summers. They can tolerate down to frost in winter, if you get colder you may want to protect them.
     
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  3. gtraver

    gtraver New Member

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    Thanks super helpful! Is there a fertilizer that works better than others? So many different ones on the market!
    And I assume 2x a month during the spring/summer and 1x during the fall/winter?
     
  4. Roberta

    Roberta Active Member

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    Cyms are heavy feeders, especially when they are growing rapidly. I put some time-release fertilizer (like Osmocote, Nutricote, Dynamite, etc) in the pots as a top-dressing (teaspoon or so for small pots, tablespoon or more for big ones... not particularly critical) Then when I fertilize the rest of my collection (weekly weakly, or less) I squirt some on the Cyms too. But the time-release stuff ensures that they're getting fed whether I get around to it or not. Either balanced formula (all numbers the same) or one that has more nitrogen (first number) If you use a 6-month formulation (or 9-month if you apply it a bit earlier in the year) it will be pretty much spent by the time weather gets cool and growth slows down. (Rate of fertilizer release is governed by temperature not water, so they get more in warm weather which is perfect, they are growing more and can use it) Don't worry about which formulation (so-called "bloom" fertilizer is just low in nitrogen, much easier to simply not bother as often) Very high nitrogen may inhibit blooming, but fertilizing at a moderate level, have never noticed any effect one way or another. The important trigger for blooming is temperature range, not fertilizer - in the fall when nights are getting cool but days are bright and warm, they're getting exactly what they need to start their bloom spikes without having to do anything at all.
     
  5. gtraver

    gtraver New Member

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    Wonderful! Thank you! I’ll give one if these a try!
     
  6. gtraver

    gtraver New Member

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    okay got some good fertilizer as suggested and got new potting soil as I don’t believe the soil that was they were given in was appropriate for the plant. So I asked any my local nursery and replaced it. However I ran into a problem with one of the bulbs. It seems that maybe its a backbulb or a pseudo bulb (pardon my lack of proper nomenclature) either way it has visa or green under some brown skin-looking covering so it seems alive but when I got it carefully out of the original pot it had no roots. I’m unsure how to save it, would you suggest I just repot it, keep the bottom in water, or some other way to stimulate root growth?
     
  7. Roberta

    Roberta Active Member

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    First, you mention "soil". You should not use soil for your Cymbidium - use small bark. Orchids in general will die in soil - the roots need air, and to not be constantly wet (even a moisture-loving genus like Cymbidium)

    The term for the bulbous parts of the plant is "pseudobulb" - a "true bulb" lives underground, like a tulip. The oldest pseudobulbs ("back bulbs") of a Cymbidium will lose roots and eventually leaves - but if firm and green, still serve as a "reserve" supply of moisture, nutrients, and energy. If you have more than 3 newer pseudobulbs, it's OK to remove the oldest one. But your plants are pretty small...I would leave that rootless pseudobulb attached it if is firm, the plants can utilize the extra reserve energy. In time, it'll shrivel, that's the normal course of things. New growth will come from the newer growths of the plant.
     
  8. gtraver

    gtraver New Member

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    Oh okay! And yes in meant the orchid “soil” as in the bark! Sorry for the confusion.
    As for the bulb of discussion, when I gently removed the plant from its original soil the bulb was not attached to anything - stand alone - but was plump and green as previously described. Would you think it’s a waste to try and pot it too? I remember reading somewhere that there’s a way to make them grow?
     
  9. Roberta

    Roberta Active Member

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    If it was completely separate and rootless, you can try to get it to sprout a new growth. You can pot it up in a small pot with medium, no water, and put in a cool, dark place. Check on it in a few months - if you see a sprout, you can start watering it. (Write a note on your calendar to remind yourself to check it... I did this once, completely forgot about it, found it nearly a year later, it had started a sprout but by the time I found it, the whole thing had given up and died.)
     
  10. gtraver

    gtraver New Member

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    oh good! Okay I’ll certainly try that!