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Species Data

Species or Hybrid NameHybrids
Common Names
The Boat Orchid

Details have been entered for each photograph where parentage has been established.

Scented Unknown
Growth TypeTerrestrial
Growth Habit

Mainly upright, but leaves and flower spikes may arch. The cool-growing, large-flowered species that grow higher up in the mountains need the most pronounced temperature difference between day and night. There are two other groups, one of which grows in intermediate conditions and does not need a significant temperature difference to encourage flowering; the other grows in tropical climates all year round as an epiphyte and has pendant flowers.

Temp RangeCool - 50-55°F
HumidityMedium - 60% - 80%
OriginAsia to Australia
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Cymbidium Hybrids
CopyrightJustTropicals.com - 20/03/08

Cymbidium Astronaut
Grex: Rajah
Seed Parent: Cym. Pixie
Pollen Parent: Cym. Balkis
Cool grower.
Registered by McBeans in 1961
Photograph taken at RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Submit Your Orchid Photo You can submit your own Cymbidium Hybrids orchid picture here


Mainly cool-growing, terrestrial, orchids, with long, slender, arching leaves, and usually upright or arching flower spikes. They may large, but dwarf or semi-dwarf forms are becoming more common.

There are also warm growing - or warmth-tolerant species - whose flowers may be held on pendant spikes. These are more likely to be epiphytic. They are also likely to be of a smaller size and the hybrids bred from them are easier to keep in modern, centrally homes. Some of these smaller ones are scented.


The larger, terrestrial Cymbidiums mostly like cool conditions, with bright light and plenty of air movement, and the cool-growing types are not generally tolerant of heat for any length of time. Growing them outdoors during the summer in the UK, in a cool, but brightly-lit, position may benefit both cool and warm-growers. Misting them will help prevent them becoming too hot in warmer weather, and may need to be done several times a day. The cool-growing types may be put outside after the danger of frost has passed, and should be brought inside again before the weather turns too cold. Cool nights during spring and summer will help them to make good growth and aid flowering, but temperatures should not be allowed to drop below 50F, although short periods shouldn't do much harm if the plants are fairly dry. The warmer-growing types may be put outside or kept inside, according to preference.

Cymbidiums like to be kept moist, but not wet, so a well-drained but moisture-retentive compost is recommended. There are specialist composts available and we would recommend using them unless you are an experienced grower.

Humidity should be on the lower side of the range given here, and the temperature range given is the minimum winter nighttime temperature for the cool-growers. Where we are aware of temperature requirements this will be shown with the photo of the plant, but there are thousands of hybrids and it is not always possible to find the information. If in doubt please ask the person or company who supplied the plant to you.

Cymbidiums do not require a resting period, but the cool-growing should be kept a little drier during the coldest months, and fertilizer should also be reduced or withheld. The warmer growers may be watered and fertilized all year round if they are in growth.

Keep an eye out for pests, as Cymbidiums are susceptible to attack by red spider mite, as well as mealy bug, scale, and the other usual orchid pests.

Other Info

Cymbidiums are, supposedly, easy to cultivate, and are widely available in florists, garden centres and supermarkets in the UK. While it is true that keeping the foliage growing well is not usually difficult, getting them back into flower may prove rather more difficult - as those who have kept them for many years without seeing a flower will testify. Part of the problem is that the cool growers like a temperature difference of 10F-15F between day and night. Flower spikes are formed during the winter months, and they need cool temperatures for this. As many people will be bringing them in from the garden to a warmer conservatory or a heated home at precisely this time, it is not surprising many fail to flower.

Registration information provided courtesy of the RHS International Orchid Register database.

NoteCultural information should only be used as a guide, and should be to be adapted to suit you. Your physical location; where you grow your plants, how much time you have to devote to their care, and many other factors, will need to be taken into account. Only then can you decide on the cultural methods that best suit you and your plants.
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