WSBEorchids

365 days of orchids – day 92 – Cymbidium insigne

We are still enjoying sharing orchid species that featured on our London display – and are still flowering for us at Writhlington.

Cymbidium insigne is the species behind most hybrid Cymbidiums. Its large flowers come in shades of white, cream and pink with delicate spotting especially on the lip. We have this lovely creamy clone with bold red stripes on the lip.

Cymbidium insigne is a terrestrial species found in the mountains that straddle Northern Thailand, Northern Vietnam and Southern China. It grows in poor soils in the vicinity of Rhododendron species that it mimics. Bees mistake the Cymbidium flowers (which have no reward) for nectar filled Rhododendron flowers allowing the orchid to gain pollination with minimum use of scarce resources. The flowers are long lasting and held on tall slender spikes with flowers well clear of the foliage.

We grow many of our Cymbidiums including this species really cool in our Warm Temperate section which has a minimum winter temperature of 5C and vents that open when ever the temperature exceeds 10C. We replicate the monsoon conditions experienced in the natural habitat with heavy watering from April until the end of September and then keep the plants damp at other times. We believe that the most common reasons for people not flowering Cymbidiums are under-watering (especially in the summer months) or excessive damage from red spider mite that can easily occur if plants are kept too hot and dry.

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