Spikes on Standard Cymbidiums (or, never say never)
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  #1  
Old 11-19-2022, 10:43 AM
smweaver smweaver is offline
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Default Spikes on Standard Cymbidiums (or, never say never)

The Midwest is not what you would call an ideal environment to grow standard cymbidiums--or maybe to grow, but not to flower. So I'm quite proud to have done something correct--even if only temporarily--as three of my cymbidiums are now in spike:

Cymbidium Tethys 'Black Magic'
Cymbidium Redondo Sunset 'Goliath'
Cymbidium Redondo Gold 'Stunner'

All three were bought during a moment of impulsive foolishness a year ago from Joe Santy in the Los Angeles area, after staring with envy at many pictures of his plants (in addition to his own website, Joe has a Facebook page, and following it is a very bad habit for anyone who desires to grow a genus of orchids where they probably shouldn't be grown). As soon as the buds open I think I might send Joe some photos to let him know that he wasn't condemning his babies to a slow death.
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2022, 02:51 PM
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Well done! They clearly got what they needed. Typically the issue isn't "not living" - Cyms grow under pretty much any conditions, but "not blooming" - not getting a chill when they need it in the fall. Whatever you did in terms of timing (when you brought them inside) keep on doing it! Of course, with success, you need MORE of them!
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Old 11-19-2022, 02:52 PM
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When I lived in St Louis and dragged plants in and out, a 6" / 15cm pot was considered almost too big to deal with.
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Old 11-20-2022, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
Well done! They clearly got what they needed.
Thank you, Roberta. I'm not really sure what I did. I did leave them outside for as long as possible, even allowing them to experience night temperatures in the mid to high 30's. I also stopped fertilizing them in July, even though a few of the plants had not yet fully grown their newest pseudobulbs. I did do a little homework in advance and tried to pick plants that didn't have a lot of traceyanum in their background, while conversely having a good deal of lowianum. I figured I'd have better luck with plants that have genes from a spring-flowering species instead of a fall-flowering species (mainly because I have a hard time providing cool nights in the summer months).

But even with the research, to be perfectly honest, a few of the ones that I thought were big enough to bloom were happy just making new growths. The Redondo Sunset is maybe a little more than half the size of Redondo Gold, but it (Sunset) is the one with the spike. I'm pretty sure they're closely related, so I'm not quite certain why the bigger plant has decided to simply get bigger and not provide a spike. On the other hand, the Tethys surprised me when I found two spikes. It's not at all a big plant (bit of a runt, actually, in comparison to the two Redondo's), so maybe my understanding of what counts as a "standard" cymbidium is a little flawed (I'm equating "standard" with "big," but maybe that's a wrong assumption).
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Old 11-20-2022, 02:54 PM
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The nomenclature of Cymbidiums is fuzzy... back when, The terms applied more to the flowers than the plant. Standard was the term for the "beast" - big plants with tall inflorescences and big flowers. "Novelty" or "Intermediate" described the mid-sized ones. "Miniature" was applied to small flowers - sometimes on big plants. I think of them more in terms of culture. You're right, if there's a significant amount of spring or summer blooming species in the background of the plant, it's likely to be more forgiving of lack of chill. Those sometimes get termed "warmth tolerant" which I think is a misnomer... I have never met a Cym other than some of the small Chinese species that had a problem with triple-digit summer temps. It's more like "hot-muggy-nights tolerant.

Since yours are of southern California origin (not particularly bred for "warmth tolerance") you just hit it right. Actually, in the fall they don't so much need to be really cold, the trigger is more like what you get a bit earlier with warm, bright days and cool nights. I think the term used is "Indian summer". In southern California, it's a natural weather pattern in the fall (timing may vary as much as +/- 6 weeks or so), with 80 deg F days and nights in the low 60's or high 50's F and sunny. September/October are typically quite warm. But frost is rare to non-existent, at least until January or so. This type of pattern will be more variable, and likely much shorter in duration, in areas that will get very cold.
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Old 11-20-2022, 05:34 PM
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Thank you, Roberta. I appreciate the additional information you provided!
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