Discouraged...I think my Cymbidium is dying

oberciJune 5, 2012

This is my first orchid. I've been watering it only when the mix was dry and it was beautiful until the flowers fell off.

That's how I found this forum because I was trying to figure out what to do once the flowers fell.

While perusing through the forum I realized that the wrinkled base of my plant is probably a bad sign... And the leaves are also drying out at the ends.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't giving it enough sun as it was in a west facing window.

I moved it outside hoping it would recover but it seems to be getting worse. Yesterday I noticed small bugs crawling on the base as well.

Here are some photos. Please help me save this! Ignore that orange powder it's cinnamon.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

You need to find some complete Cymbidium notes that relate to the Zone 9 where you live in the USA.
But note that in Sydney, Australia, Latitude 34 South they are outside all year plants. They are more Terrestrial than some other orchids and therefore require a potting mix that retains a little more moisture than that used for say a Cattleya.
The Cymbidium "experts" let the mix dry to just moist and they water.
Your Cymbidium should have a new growth starting from the base of the largest and newest pseudobulb facing away from the camera on picture 1.
Remove that dead stuff from the oldest pseudobulb and increase watering a little bit. Get the plant up off the ground so that it gets a bit of air movement and find a place where it gets some morning sun.
They are temperature tolerant. Average temps Sydney, Australia
Winter 7 min 17max
Summer 17min 27max
Temps down to 2C in winter are not a worry.
Find those complete notes and good luck.
PS. I do not think it need repotting.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 6:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
richardol(Santa Royale CA)

Be patient. The growing season has just barely begun. In fact, where I live we are just now dividing ours.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am in Sacramento, Ca. I just moved the plant outside, so it does get air movement. It is off the ground and gets dappled afternoon sun. I don't have any place to put it where it will get morning sun unless I move it next to my front door :/ How much sun should it be getting total?

I am perfectly fine with being patient, but I want to make sure I'm giving it the proper care before it dies from some neglect on my part.

What would be considered "dead stuff" ? Should I for example, remove that leaf with a black base that is visible in picture 2?

Also, what is your opinion on the state of the roots peeking out (picture 3). I'm not sure if those are healthy or not...please let me know your thoughts.

I also forgot to mention that I've never added any kind of fertilizer along with my watering so maybe that is contributing to its appearance? I ordered some Dyna-gro Grow formula as I noticed quite a few members use it on their orchids. Any thoughts on what amount I should be adding? Would a weakly weekly regimen be a good idea?


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Doesn't look that bad. I had 3 of them for a number of years until they got so massive I gave them away, as I was kind of sick of hauling in and out for the seasons and my wintering space was limited. Probably just a combination of being kept a bit too dry and just general adaptation to the new environment which is obviously different from the commercial greenhouse where it was raised. Keeping it outside in filtered/dappled sun sounds about right, just make sure its initially shaded enough to not sunburn until its used to the site, then you can move into a bit more light as needed.

I'm hardly an expert, but I think they're pretty tough plants, and I bet it will perk right up outside and then probably put on a flush of nice new growth.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

There is an orchid society in Sydney where you will see nothing but Cymbidiums.
They are weeds! Clean up the leaves with a botanical oil or even milk. Maybe remove that leaf with the black spot.
Feed it in summer with miracle grow all purpose plant food and give it as much sunlight as you can without burning the leaves. The expert growers here have them in a spot where they get all day sunlight filtered by light shade-cloth to prevent burning on hot summer days.
Seek advice from the locals about whether you can it it through winter without doing the inside trick. I suspect you can but it depends on your micro-climate.
Some will say that you should repot it in new mix,but i hesitate to recommend that course of action to a new grower. Look for that new growth at the base of the plant.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your cymbidium was drying out, they should be kept slightly moist during the summer and kept outside in filtered sun until the first frost.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In Southern California and much of temperate CA, cymbidiums are grown outside year round. They like bright indirect or filtered light, hence the thin, strap-like leaves. More light, the more likely they are to flower. The like their "feet" cool. Even moisture, but never wet. Growers routinely have the plants on low benches, not far off the ground. But never touching the ground. Cymbidiums require a seasonal cooling (fall and winter) to bloom. They can tolerate some frost and are fine with temps in the low 40s to upper 30s F.
During fall and winter, feed the plant with low nitrogen and higher phosphate fertilizers. Higher nitrogen fertilizers are used during the growing season (actively producing leaves) just after blooming season (usually spring). Low humidity often brings with it spider mites. So be on the look out for that.
The media looks old. There's moss (or what appears to be dead moss) from what was a probably a wet growing environment. Now is not the time to repot cymbidiums. Dividing and repotting are done right after the spring blooming season, or early summer. If the plant is in true distress, which it doesn't seem to be, leave it be and repot next summer. However, this plant seems overpotted. Cymbidiums like to be crowded in their pot. They flower best when they are just about to burst from their pot.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 4:04AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Should I cut off this leaf?
This may have started from misting or too much light...
Phal Question...Should I do it??
Ok... somebody either stop me or tell me to go with...
Dem kingianum flower spikes turning brown early
I purchased a dem kingianum recently at an orchid show...
Creative Soapstone LLC
The Office "Cursed Orchid"
At my old job that I left about two weeks ago, my boss...
Dend potting medium
I was given 2 hard cane dends packed tightly together...
Sponsored Products
Tolomeo Micro Lamp
Design Within Reach
Kastehelmi Footed Bowl - Rain - Iittala
$65.00 | HORNE
WAC Bronze Xenon 6" Wide Under Cabinet Light Bar
Euro Style Lighting
Fanimation Camview 52" Black Finish Ceiling Fan
Lamps Plus
Green Desk Lamps: 8.5 in. Green LED Speaker Desk Lamp iHL106-Green
$39.88 | Home Depot
Pre-owned Vintage Brass Antelope Bookends
$950.00 | Chairish
Axor | Bouroullec Thermostatic Trim
$480.24 | YBath
36" x 36" Miranda Reversible Corner Shower Enclosure
Signature Hardware
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™