Cymbidium insigne – 365 days of orchids – day 1522

Yesterday’s species was from the hot coastal regions of Brazil but today we return to the cool mountains of South East Asia and the elegant flowers of Cymbidium insigne.

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 come in shades of white, pink and cream. (Rhododendron colours)

The flowers of Cymbidium insigne are held on long upright stems to hold them clear of surrounding vegetation and this gives the species an elegance that is lacking in so many of its hybrids.

We grow many of our Cymbidiums including this species really cool in our Warm Temperate section which has a minimum winter temperature of 7C, and vents that open when ever the temperature exceeds 15C. 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.

We find that this species grows well from seed and flowers in around five years from sowing if grown well and we are delighted to have lots of seedlings out of flask this month (see parent with seedlings below)

We start seedlings out of flask in small groups in a 5.5cm pot as shown here. The seedlings will be for sale as soon as they are properly established and you too can look forward to the beauty of Cymbidium insigne.


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