Some people say that Cymbidium orchids need winter rest. If the winter rest means that the plants should be cut out from watering and feeding completely, then I disagree. According to Julian Coker from Orchid Societies Council of Victoria (OSCOV), Cymbidium orchids are active all year around. They do not have a rest period and must be grown vigorously all year around.

It is true that Cymbidiums are most active during the warm months of the year, and in winter they just slow down. Here in Melbourne, our Cymbidiums will mostly flower during winter time to early spring. Many times, like what is happening now, the growth of flower spikes are late and they are still under developed in winter. When it happens, the young spikes will still need a good feed in order to grow into prolific flowers.

So, what do I do during winter time (June to August in Australia)?

  • For those that are not in flower: I keep them outside during the winter. There is hardly any heavy frost here in Melbourne, so they are quite safe outside. No application of fertilizer at all and watering should be reduce. Usually I do not water at all, as we have enough rains in winter months. If there is not enough rain, I will water sparingly (if the media starts to feel dry). Application of fertilizer for growing season (high in nitrogen) will start in spring.
  • For those that are having flowers: I keep them in a bright area under the shade. Before the flower buds open, I water and feed them weekly-weakly. I use bloom booster fertilizer half strength. After the flower buds start to open I stop the fertilizer completely. Watering should be done if the media starts to feel dry and watering should be done on the media away from the flowers. Water can damage the flowers. Application of fertilizer for growing season (high in nitrogen) can start after finished flowering.

Here are some Cymbidiums that are blooming now:


Some that are still in buds: