Cymbidiums in bloom

Green cymbidiums
Cymbidium, Orchid
I picked my first cymbidiums this week. I used to think these plants old-fashioned but nowadays there are some gorgeous hybrids to choose from.

Cymbidium orchids are the beginner gardener’s best friend. They are one of the easiest orchids to grow. They need little care – just a repot once every three or four years when they’re climbing out their pots (do it in spring once new growth has begun and the flower stems have been removed) and protection from slugs and snails. These slithery critters love to munch on the fresh buds and blooms.

Your potted plants should also be brought under cover when in flower, as heavy rain and hail will pockmark the blooms.

I feed mine occasionally with an orchid fertiliser, then in midsummer give them an application of Epsom salts, a teaspoon per 5 litres of water, to facilitate spike initiation for the following season. That’s really all the attention my cymbidiums get. And look what they give me in return!

Caring for cymbidiums

Cymbidiums and dendrobiums
Orchids have something of a reputation for being delicate and difficult to grow, but with a few simple measures, cymbidiums will last a lifetime. They like night-time temperatures of between 10 and 15°C, although they tolerate temps down to 5°C, or slightly lower. Mine live outdoors year-round, but if the temperatures in your area are cooler, grow them in a greenhouse or bring them under cover of a porch or sunroom in early winter. Mine also reside in pots. That’s so they can be moved to a spot with overhead protection when in flower, as rain and hail have more than once damaged the flowers. Slugs and snails also like to munch on the flowers, leaving them with pock-marked petals, so put out bait if you want to keep these slippery critters away. [Read more…]

Summer flower combos

Evergreen magnolia, cattleya and gardenia bouquet
Mermaid roses and yellow zinniasBouquet of roses and peaches
I was talking about evergreen magnolias last week, then came across this lovely bouquet (top photo) that uses the leaves as a backdrop to white blooms. The glossy green of the leaves really makes the white flowers pop, I think, with their bronze undersides showing too. The white flowers are made up of cattleya orchids and gardenias, and the fern is the umbrella fern.

The next image features the large-flowered climbing rose ‘Mermaid’ and bright yellow zinnias, [Read more…]