Weekend work: Time to tend to cymbidium orchids


Anna Pavord
Saturday 25 January 2014 01:00


My cymbidium orchids do not yet show any sign of coming into bloom. I bought them very cheaply some years ago in London's Columbia Road market where they'd been rammed into pots, the roots wrapped in rockwool.

Repotted in the loose, bark-based compost that orchids are supposed to like, they've had regular summer holidays in a sunny place outside between June and October.

Some growers think that it's this heat that initiates the first flower spikes. Others think that a chilling period after the summer is the vital catalyst. Once the flower spikes are visible in bud, you must keep the night temperature below 15C (59F) or the buds turn yellow and drop off.

Each flower spike on a cymbidium can last for two months, so it's worth getting its needs properly sorted out: lots to drink and a feed (half strength) three weeks out of four. I use Baby Bio.

I think the problem is that I've been peering at the cymbidiums too often. I need to put the pots somewhere less obvious. Then perhaps next month, they may surprise me.

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