minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)September 22, 2012

I was just given a cymbidium by a friend who is moving away and can't take her plants. She bought it at Costco, and I don't know how long it was in the pot, but there wasn't any medium showing anymore, it's all p-bulbs, and when I watered it, it looked like the water ran right off and out. I did my research and it says not to repot until March-ish, but I was worried that it wouldn't make it through the winter in that pot. Sooooo, I found a slightly larger pot, knocked the plant out of the original pot, tucked it into the newer one (1" larger all around) and added fine orchid bark to fill the gap. Am feeding it with every water, the same thing I use on my epiphyllums (17-?-26). Will that be OK until Spring when I can actually split it out into 2 or 3 separate pots?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does the plant have new growths? If so then fertilizing is OK under your conditions. Keep in mind that cymbidiums originated in India and grow in the foothills of mountains and can be exposed to very cold temps and snowfall. Rainfall may actually help them survive the colder weather.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 3:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whilst most Cymbidiums come from colder/mountainous climates there are a few which come from hot tropical climates as well. Makes it important to know which one you have. Most of those common in cultivation are the cooler growing ones. I've repotted those in winter without any apparent problems. Hotter growing ones I've found to be more sensitive to root disturbance.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 12:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

Truth be told, I haven't looked to see if there were any new growths, and I know NOTHING about this, it was a total noid, that I'm told came from Costco.

Worrying about root disturbance is why I didn't mess with the roots at all, I just took them out of a smaller pot, plopped them in a moderately larger pot, and filled in the surrounding small gap with more bark. It was a very solid root ball that I really only touched enough to remove from the 1st pot (thump, thump, thump, tug, tug, tug - OUT of the pot) and dump into the second pot (bark on the bottom? Y/N??? - a little bit, OK, plop!) Fill, fill, fill - done!

I didn't trim roots (I did look to see if there were any obvious rotting ones and there weren't), I didn't tickle them into spreading into their new space, I didn't do anything but plop and fill. I thought the minimal disturbance would allow me to water the plant enough to survive the winter until I can repot it properly, plus it will be in a bit of a green house over winter (pvc pipe, heavy clear tarp, possibly some left over bubble wrap from moving for more insulation if I hear about a really cold snap coming through).

Last winter was my first in this house and neighborhood, and I lost most of my succulents to the cold, plus a ficus tree. Slugs got into my cold zone ghetto - packed with straw, topped with a sheet, and ... some stuff lived, and some died. Trying a different plan this coming winter, and a lot of snail bait!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's gardening, ...... very trying. At least there shouldn't be any surprises this time. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

Gardening can be close to heart breaking at times... However, I've always been able to fudge things and keep 99% of my plants alive. This past winter, I was (still am) housing a plant eating cat, so nothing could come inside but away from the damned cat. Lots of things died outside, and I had the revelation that it made NO sense to buy things that could not make it without great effort on my part - plants would pretty much have to make it on their own. Rigging my little faux greenhouse isn't going to cost me much - the pvc pipes came with the house!! So I need connectors and the tarp, and the metal thingers that will hold pipe to a flat surface, but I should be good to go for under $40... Well worth it, IMO.

Now... figuring out just where I have SUN! (I live in the redwoods, sun is in short supply around here).

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Maybe Cymbidiums are not a proposition in places that have real winters. The problem being not so much the cold (You can easily warm things up a bit) but maybe the lack of sun will make successful flowering difficult.

They are garden plants here because the climate suits, on average 300 sunny days a year and the cooling down in winter that many require. Nights 40-50F Days 60-70F. Peak flowering August (last month of winter Southern Hemisphere) but flowering Cymbidiums are exhibited at the local orchid Society from February to October which supports the comment above about different types.

The posts above mention that not all are fussy about a cool winter. There are the so-called warmth tolerant types such as Cymbidium Golden Elf that might be a better proposition where you are keeping your orchids warm all winter. Flowers end of summer here and might be suitable for there where you just want to keep the plant alive during winter till spring when it will grow new pseudobulbs and then flower.

Hard to give advice on a no name orchid.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

I understand. I'm not planning on keeping it warm, so much as trying to keep the frost off it. Temps at our house got down into the high 20's about 18 days last winter, and I had insufficient protection for a whole lot of plants. Hence the losing my orchids and most of my succulents! If the protection I provide isn't protection enough, then things will die. I understand that. The person who gave me the orchid doesn't know what cymbidium it was either, I doubt there was much of a label on it. If it lives through the cold, it lives, and I'll probably get more of them, paying due attention to which kind I get. No sense shelling out money for something that won't live through my entire year - I don't have that kind of money. My FIL grew them for many years outdoors not so far away from where we live now. I didn't like his because they had such muddy flower colors, but they lived outdoors just fine. I'm hoping mine will too.

My real, basic question was if I was doing any harm by going up a pot size the way I did.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Your action sounds fine but I wouldn't feed it so often once the colder weather sets in.
As i said above they are very cold tolerant to just above freezing at night but here after such nights the days will probably be sunny.
I was trying to say that in a general collection of orchids in the frozen north, Cymbidiums might be more difficult than say Phalaenopsis but i think misunderstood the conditions you are trying to provide.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

Laugh! I'm not IN the frozen north. I'm just outside of Santa Cruz, CA, in the redwood 'mountains'. My altitude is about 500 ft. I don't have a collection of orchids, just the one cymbidium. If I can keep the temp inside my enclosure up in the 30's, I'll call it good. Its location gets sun for several hours a day. Phals are beautiful, but I've read they need night time temps of no lower than the 60's, and my house is already getting cooler than that! I've had phals in the past, even gotten them to rebloom in my ignorant hands - but this is not the neighborhood for them, it's just too chilly outside at night. The cymbidium has a lower temp range, and while I don't know if this one is a cold tolerant one or not, I'm going to take my chances. I have very limited space to bring plants indoors over the winter, and the cymbidium just isn't on the list of things coming inside.

However, what temp would you consider the 'colder' to be for me to stop feeding? I've seen charts that said feed it all year long, but what you feed depends on the season. If I stop feeding entirely, at what temp would you recommend I do that? And, do you mean daytime temps, or night time temps?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

I forgot to add, yes, there is some new growth. I checked and I see 2 new leafy growths coming up.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 4:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Should have read your my page details but got sidetracked by the death of succulents and ficus, by my standards where you live must be very cold.

Getting back to Cymbidiums of which i now have Nil. Yay!! The brown muddy flowered ones are probably what i call the old warriors. Unkillable! Very old hybrids that are as tough as teak.

The lowest temp in the recent winter here in the eastern part of Sydney was 3C Brrrr. In the places further away from the pacific ocean the low would have been something like minus 1C. Cymbidiums are widely grown there. In slightly colder climates the plants are wintered by being placed under eaves or against heat retaining brick walls.

The other restricting factor is the night time average temperature in summer should not exceed about 68F. Not a problem in most places in California because you have the nice cold Pacific Ocean nearby.

As for feeding...I would stop once the new pseudobulbs are mature but the Cymbidium experts switch to a fertilizer with a lower Nitrogen number and feed all year. I guess the changeover would occur sometime in October there.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

I think (think, no outdoor thermometer here as yet, but the posted temp at a weather station close by) our coldest overnight last winter was -2.2C. That's probably when all my miltoniopsis, zygonara and most of my poor succulents died. I think most of our overnight temps were more in the 2.22 - 4.44C range. I was very sad. And my ficus, which was nice and large, darn it. I got another one, a baby, and it will come indoors this winter. I'm 1/2 an hour drive time from the beach, but it's a very indirect route, and I have no idea how close I am as the crow flies. I'm in the coastal mountain range, somewhat in the middle, as I'm in a petite river valley. The Fall fog of overnight and dawn has arrived most mornings, and temps ARE dropping, although we're due for more in the 32-33C range this coming weekend.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:30PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Is this a spike?
I know what Phal spikes look like, but am new to these......
suzabanana (6b Boston)
New Site!
I don't like this site for one bit!! Most of the time...
How to repot Prosthechea radiata cochleata?
I purchased this plant (with the little shell-like...
Dendrobium in potting moss
I have this two new babies in my collection. I noticed...
yenika_zone10 Miami, Fl
Orchid forum link
Hi Bob, This is the link you sent me. I hope it works. Thank...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™