Orchid blooms are carried on long flower spikes or sprays, making them ideal as striking home/patio decorations. Picture: Supplied
June might be a cold and gloomy time in South Africa, but it’s the highlight of the year for Cymbidium orchid lovers!

These plants symbolise virtue and morality. In Asian cultures, it is considered an honour to give or receive a Cymbidium as a gift and they are considered one of respect and friendship.

Cymbidiums are among the most popular and desirable orchids in the world and June is their "show time"! The exquisite, incredibly detailed blooms need little introduction and are available in almost any colour imaginable.

Orchid blooms are carried on long flower spikes or sprays, making them ideal as striking home/patio decorations. The length of flowering varies, but typically from the time the first flower bud opens, the sprays will remain in bloom for four to six weeks, often lasting months if the plant has several flower spikes.

Cymbidiums are most commonly grown in South Africa as potted plants.

Growing Cymbidiums

Cymbidiums grow in the soil and on trees. Historically select varieties were produced in European château gardens as a hobby of the upper classes. Today they are most commonly grown as pot varieties.

Pot cymbidiums have long, narrow leaves. Flower spikes are produced during the cooler months (June to September), typically carrying six or more flowers. The older the plant, the more flower spikes and the more expensive they are. Cymbidium colours range from white, yellow, green, pink and red to brown.

Caring for cymbidiums

Place the plant in a high-light spot but avoid the full heat of the sun. Ensure fresh air, but avoid drafts or cold. Ideally the plants should be cooler at night. After buying the plant, immerse it immediately. Water regularly. Preferably immerse the plant for 10 minutes once a week. Avoid excessive water in the pot. Feed weekly when watering.

After flowering, cut the exhausted branch off completely. New pseudo-bulbs will develop. Cymbidiums flower once a year.

Keep in a cool/shady spot after flowering.

Orchids should not be exposed to temperatures below 6ºC at night. Continue to water and feed monthly. Bring indoors in May/June.

Repotting

Cymbidiums should be repotted every few years. Preferably repot in spring. Remove the pot while trying to avoid damaging the roots. Rinse the roots thoroughly. Place the plant in a pot and fill it with light orchid soil. Ensure that the soil is nice and damp and feed straight away. Do not water for a number of days after repotting.