We know that spring is here when the spring flowering Cymbidiums start to open and the first of the bunch is Cy,bidium hookerianum.
Cymbidium hookerianum is a fantastic charismatic species from the Himalayas and one we have seen growing and flowering in Sikkim.
Cymbidium hookerianum is a really cool growing species and in Sikkim we have found it from from 1500-3000m altitude. We have observed that plants flower profusely on dead trees suggesting that the species benefits from additional feeding during the growing season as well as good light. We grow the species in our Temperate section with a winter minimum around 6C to 7C which the plants relish. In our experience the species will grow warmer but will not flower as reliably.
Many cymbidium plants we have seen in their natural habitat are clearly very long lived and Cym. hookerianum in particular appears to have adopted a strategy of becoming established on a mature tree and waiting for the tree to die before flowering to its full potential to spread many millions of seeds around the forest. The sight of dead trees, in Sikkim forests, with giant plants of Cymbidium hookerianum laden in flowers and seed pods is a memorable one and reminds us that these plants enjoy good light and heavy feeding to flourish and flower well.
Cymbidium hookerianum in-situ (hard to spot at the top of this dead tree)
Another positive for the species is the name. Hookerianum honours Joseph Hooker, one of Britains great exploring botanists. If you haven’t read Hooker’s Journals I highly recommend reading them, and then exploring Sikkim for yourself.