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 LATE SUMMER CULTURE

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  •  We will now be experiencing a long hot summer (or at least I hope we will!). The cymbidiums should be experiencing plenty of sun and fresh air outside. With the strong mid-day sun, 30% shadecloth will prevent burning of the foliage. Equal results can be obtained by placing the plants on slats under the branches of a tree. They must be under the outer branches and not close to the tree trunk. They appreciate dappled mid-day sun, but can take the full morning and afternoon sun. If they ;are placed close to the tree trunk it is probably that it will be too shaded. Cymbidiums are tough plants ;many problems arise through growers giving them too much protection in the belief that this is essential, especially at this time of the year
  • If you are growing within a structure of some kind, ensure plenty of ventilation is provided to keep temperatures, especially night temperatures, down. Try and provide good strong light with low temperatures, as this will ensure the maximum flowering.

  • The standard cymbidiums in the main come from the Himalayas, at moderate altitudes. Some of the smaller growing oriental species and hybrids are natives of the lowland tropical forests   It is a characteristic of both these habitats that they are exposed to the summer monsoons, a period of warmth but of high rainfall. This is in contrast to the warm but dry conditions locally, and of the many non-monsoonal areas they are being cultivated in. Watering must be maintained, as neglect in this area can set back growth. We all grow our plants differently. Therefore, no detailed recommendations are possible, but as a guide let the top 25 to 50 mm of the mix in the larger pots dry before watering again. Dig into the mix with your finger to see what it is like, and also lift the pots and plants up to test their weight. After some experience you can judge how much water remains in the mix. Also, remember small pots dry out quicker, so it is best to group plants by pot size. It is far easier to go ;in only one type of potting mix, but if you have several, group plants by mix and pot size so you can selectively water to their individual requirements. When you do water, give plenty of water. 'Because many bark mixes hare difficult to wet when they become dry, give the plants a good spray initially. Then, a few minutes later, give a good soaking. This breaks the surface tension around the mix particles allowing it to be properly wetted. With a small number of plants, they can be soaked in a container of water from some minutes, then removed and laid on their side to allow drainage of surplus water. Larger collections can be placed under a garden spray, but ensure all plants receive a good soaking, as some can be protected by foliage and not receive what they require. The use of microtubes with automatic watering systems can be utilised, but need to be properly set up to be effective, and specialist advice for such is recommended. Remember, plants are over-watered by too frequent watering, not by giving too much each time.

  • Continue to feed your plants, to ensure strong growth is maintained. Some will have produced pseudobulbs, some will still be advancing their growths. Because of teh increasing maturity, a change to a lower nitrogen to higher potash fertiliser may assist in flower formation. Because bark mixes are nitrogen deficient, do not, however, eliminate nitrogen, just reduce the proportion. Apply epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 5 litres of water and applied to the plants to facilitate spike initiation

  • Some of the early flower spikes will now be well advanced, others will be just starting to be seen. Spike managemeut is more fully detailed on this link page, click on the link. Once they are well up, insert stakes into the mix to protect them, as you do not want them broken off now. The spikes come from the base of the new pseudobulb and the flower spikes are more rounded in section see buds or spikes page ;for more details.

  • With hot dry conditions, red spider and red spider mite will be a continuing problem. Increase humidity as this keeps these pests down, but if necessary apply sprays. There are specialist produces ensure you follow instructions and safety measures during application. Several applications 7 to 10 days apart may be required because of re-infestation.

 

 


Site established 9th May 1998