The Bargain Cymbids are about to Deliver

by Veronica on January 8, 2010

Saved from Home Depot's Dumpster

Saved from Home Depot's Dumpster

Back in March I wrote about snagging a few cymbidium orchids at Home Depot at a bargain basement price. True, they didn’t look good…some would say dead. My guess is another day or two and they were headed for the dumpster behind the plaza (hence the deep discounted price tag).

Although I’m not an orchid expert, I know that given time and the proper conditions I might be able to get them to bloom again.

The thing is, I wasn’t  sure I’d even recognize a cymbid flower spike as it emerged.

I turned to fellow garden writer  and long-time friend Ken Brown (www.gardening-enjoyed.com) for advice. He has  a collection of cymbids that always bloom for him. And, he’s not too much of a fuss pot. So why then, wouldn’t mine bloom for me too? Ken said, “In the summer I just put them outside up against the wall of the house (it’s full sun) and put the hose on them from time to time”.  Hmmm…I can do that “, I thought. He continued, “And then I bring them inside again after a frost”.

Well, thanks to my preoccupation with moving homes, the cymbids didn’t get to enjoy a summer in the sun. They spent most of the summer months pretty much neglected in an out of the way shady spot. As for water, well that happened when I remembered.

Once I got them to the new house they lived on the front porch in fairly low light until it got cold in early October. I didn’t have the guts to leave them out waiting for that hard frost. Ken called me a wimp. Maybe next year.

No matter. By late November all of my seven plants were showing what I thought were flower buds. It turns out that only 3 of them had real buds, the others were only new leaves emerging.

Spike or Bud?

Spike or Bud?

It’s hard for a newbie to tell at first whether it’s a new spike or a new set of leaves. But, the difference is that as leaves emerge they have a “flatter” appearance.

This is what a cymbid flower bud looks like as it emerges.

This is what a cymbid flower bud looks like as it emerges.

The  emerging flower spike takes on a more rounded appearance.

In a matter of only a week, the flower spikes grew to be about a foot long.

Flower Spike

Flower Spike

And then then the magic began. The actual flower buds started to unfurl.

Here’s how they look now…

A close up of the tip of the spike just revealing a peak of the flower buds.

A close up of the tip of the spike just revealing a peak of the flower buds.

Emerging buds of cymbidian orchid spike.

Emerging buds of cymbidian orchid spike.

I don’t know what colour the blooms are going to be…fairly light I think.

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gwendy February 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Thanks! that’s exactly what I wanted to know! also got a cymbidium orchid at Home Depot. There’s lots of information out there about how to care for a blooming orchid, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, or if it was dead or dormant, when it isn’t blooming.

Dirty Girl Gardening February 16, 2010 at 4:03 am

Nice! I love when orchids bloom… especially if they are hard to grow.

Natasha February 25, 2010 at 9:26 am

That’s wonderful Veronica!! NIce grab and great photos! I’m going to start keeping my eyes open for throw aways when I go shopping.

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