Magenta and white cymbidium flowers

How to grow cymbidiums

Check out all you need to know about growing stunning cymbidium orchids in this Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does flower in January

Plant does flower in February

Plant does flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does flower in October

Plant does flower in November

Plant does flower in December

Cut back
Cut back

Do not Cut back in January

Do not Cut back in February

Do not Cut back in March

Do not Cut back in April

Do Cut back in May

Do not Cut back in June

Do not Cut back in July

Do not Cut back in August

Do not Cut back in September

Do not Cut back in October

Do not Cut back in November

Do not Cut back in December

Cymbidium orchids are some of the easiest and most reliable houseplants to grow and make great gifts.

Advertisement

They bear pretty flowers in a range of colours, over a long period of time, and are guaranteed to bring a touch of the exotic to any interior. They’re also the oldest orchids in cultivation and there are around 50 species and thousands of cultivars to choose from.

Take a look at our handy cymbidium Grow Guide, below

Cymbidium orchids are some of the easiest and most reliable houseplants to grow and make great gifts.

Where to plant cymbidiums

Sprays of brown-speckled yellow cymbidium flowers
Sprays of brown-speckled yellow cymbidium flowers

Cymbidiums, like most orchids, don’t like direct sunlight. A good spot is near a west or north-facing window, but never on top of a radiator where they’ll dry out.


How to plant cymbidiums

Potting up a cymbidium
Potting up a cymbidium

Use a light, free-draining, open compost containing pumice and bark for cymbidiums. In this clip from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don gets expert advice from the RHS on how to re-pot a cymbidium orchid:


Caring for cymbidiums

Cutting a cymbidium flower spike
Cutting a cymbidium flower spike

Water once every week, with rainwater if possible, or boiled and cooled water. Don’t let plants dry out, but equally don’t let them sit in water. Feed every few weeks with an orchid feed through the growing season.

Cymbidiums prefer cooler growing conditions between 10-14°C in winter and under 30°C in summer. They also need lower temperatures to trigger flowering, so in the summer, keep them in a cool conservatory, or a sheltered spot outdoors, and away from direct sunlight, until early autumn.

Watch our video where Monty Don gets advice from an RHS expert on repotting a cymbidium orchid.


Propagating cymbidiums

Dividing a congested cymbidium orchid
Dividing a congested cymbidium orchid

If the plants look like they’ve outgrown their pot, you can divide them, using a sterile knife to cut the rhizome. Divisions should have three bulbs each. Plant these up into pots filled with damp orchid compost. Don’t water for at least three weeks, using a spray just to stop the plant from completely drying out.

When roots start to form you can resume normal watering.


Growing cymbidiums: problem-solving

Tying a flower spike to a cane
Tying a flower spike to a cane

As houseplants, cymbidium orchids are relatively trouble-free, as long as they’re kept in the right location and the watering regime is adhered to.


Cymbidiums to grow

A flowering pale yellow cymbidium
A flowering pale yellow cymbidium
Advertisement
  • Cymbidium ‘Peggy Sue’ – with three spikes carrying bright pink flowers, this makes a spectacular show. You may need to support the bloom-laden spikes with canes
  • Cymbidium erythraeum – an elegant species variety, with long strappy foliage and very striking pale green and white flowers with red spots