Orchid Wise

What is Success to the New Hobbyist?

What is success when it comes to growing a cymbidium?

For an new or inexperienced grower, it could be just getting plants to flower. A more experienced grower might consider success to be getting better results than the previous season. And an orchid club member might wish to win prizes at shows and meetings.

Whatever your expectations, success will probably be in getting your plants to perform at their best and produce lots of high quality flowers. Lots of flowers is generally regarded as success! Plants which do not flower are disappointing. Different plants perform differently. Some grow and flower easily – others are more difficult. The new grower needs to learn what each plant needs to thrive.

One needs to get to know what their plants are capable of producing to be able to judge their performance. It takes time to gain the experience, and to be able to evaluate them. Be patient, be observant and ask other, more experienced growers, lots of questions.

Generally, a grower must provide good growing conditions to succeed. Neglected or abused plants flower poorly, or not at all.

It is really simple to succeed:

  1. Grow plants which are of a quality to meet your expectations. Continually cull and upgrade if you wish to improve.
  2. In the 3 months or so after flowering, ensure all plants are in good condition (repot if necessary), water regularly, and fertilise with a balanced fertiliser regularly. Liquid fertiliser is good, as is organic fertilizer such as Seamungus. Slow release fertilizers such as Osmacote or similar work well, if one does not have the time to spend to apply fertiliser often. Try to provide a temperature drop overnight. This assists the initiation of flower spikes.
  3. Depending on the variety, flower spikes are likely to appear from mid Summer onwards. From that time fertilise with blossom booster type fertiliser (higher potassium). Water very regularly and try to cool plants in times of extreme heat. Identify the plants which have flower spikes, and initiate a pest and disease prevention program to ensure the new flower spikes are not damaged. Start training the flower spikes, so they look good when in full flower.

Simple, isn’t it! But it takes time and planning to ensure your cymbidium is happy, and wants to flower. The more you understand the needs of your plant, and provide the conditions needed, the more likely you are to have a good flowering the following year. The harder you work at looking after your plants, the luckier you will be.

Originally written and compiled by Graham Morris from the Cymbidium Orchid Club of South Australia

Edited and updated for use on this site.

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