If growing orchids interests you, and you like dramatic, colorful flowers, the cymbidium orchid (Cymbidium spp.) could be a perfect choice. Renowned for its extra-large sprays of colorful, long-lasting flowers, the cymbidium orchid grows as a houseplant, or outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12.
Pink Cymbidium Orchids
Cymbidium orchids prefer cool growing temperatures, and do best where daytime temperature is between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and nights are in the 60s. Many cultivars produce flowers in shades of pink or rose, including a variety called "Freckle Face" (Cymbidium Baltic Dew "Freckle Face"), with soft-pink flowers dotted with magenta. A variety called "Yvonne" (Cymbidium Via del Playa "Yvonne") has pale, pink petals surrounding a single central petal, or lip, that's cream-to-yellow with a burgundy edge. "Santa Barbara" (Cymbidium insigne "Santa Barbara") has medium-pink flowers with a white lip spotted in deep rose.
Red Cymbidium Orchids
Many cymbidium orchids have flowers in red or red-to-rust shades. All cymbidiums need night temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in late summer through early autumn to initiate flowering. Red-flowered varieties include "Cappucino" (Cymbidium bermagui "Cappucino"), with uniformly-colored, burgundy-red flowers, and "Red Rage" (Cymbidium Crackerjack "Red Rage"), with deep-red flowers that have white-edged petals and lips mottled in red and white. "Cecil Park" (Cymbidium Beacon Fire "Cecil Park") is a miniature with deep-red flowers on spikes that grow downward and cascade over the edge of the pot.
White Cymbidium Orchids
Many cymbidium cultivars produce white or cream flowers, some in pure white, and others with white mixed with other colors. For example, "Swansea" (Cymbidium Cherilyn "Swansea") has white petals faintly tinged with blue, surrounding a lip with magenta spots, while "Highlight" (Cymbidium Pharoah "Highlight") has pure-white flowers with yellow-spotted lips. The variety "Pacific" (Cymbidium Early Bird "Pacific") produces pure-white flowers with yellow lips marked with red. Most cymbidiums bloom in winter, but this variety is an early bloomer, opening its flowers in fall.
Green Cymbidium Orchids
A number of cymbidium cultivars have unusually colored, green or greenish-yellow flowers. These include a plant called "Pumilow" (Cymbidium Pumilow), an ultra-miniature plant with long, arching sprays of green flowers with yellow-and-white lips. It grows especially well in cool temperatures. Full-sized, green-flowered plants include "Pedro" (Cymbidium Fanfare "Pedro"), with lime-green flowers that have lips spotted in yellow and magenta, and "Flamingo Three Lips" (Cymbidium Isle "Flamingo Three Lips"), which has three lips rather than one, each covered in hot-pink blotches and surrounded by light-green petals.
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