Growing Heat Tolerant Cymbidiums

Growing heat-tolerant cymbidiums (HTCs) in warm to hot climates is fairly easy and very low maintenance. The ease is comparable to growing dendrobium or cattleya orchid hybrids, which is usually the starting point for beginners. HTCs generally can stand the impact of rainfall; thus they can be grown outside without a greenhouse for protection.

Most cymbidiums enjoy good ventilation and moderate humidity. Though cymbidiums do not enjoy high humidity, they need to remain moist at the root ball. It is important that the growing medium is well-drained yet retains some moisture well.


In most tropical climates, 50-70% shade cloth is suggested for most HTCs. This heavy amount of shade will help prevent leaf burn during the hottest and driest months when the sun shines directly from above. Shade might be reduced whenever clouds and rains are more prevalent throughout the year. Growing indoors requires a well-ventilated area. This indoor location should not be exposed to direct sunlight in the afternoon.

Pots and Medium:

Clay pots are the best for growing cymbidiums in tropical climates as the porosity of the clay encourages evaporative cooling during hot weather. This is the real advantage over plastic pots. In addition, the heavier weight of clay pots helps increase stability for cymbidiums with large top growth. Taller pots also add another advantage as the depth allows better roots development. In addition to the bottom hole, a few additional side holes near the bottom of the pot will prevent water from standing at the bottom, which might cause root rot.

Cymbidiums should be grown in Medium Orchid Bark and should be repotted once every two years. Ideally, Cymbidiums should be repotted in the late spring after the plant has finished blooming. Cymbidiums do best when grown in pots that give them about 2” inches in diameter to grow. *DO NOT use an overly large pot as this will hold more water/moisture, causing the plant to drown and the roots to rot.

Watering and Fertilizing:

Watering cymbidiums can be done every other day or once a week, depending on rainfall, moisture, and the ability to hold water and moisture of the potting mix.

You can use any brand name balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20 or 15-15-15 etc.) can be used to fertilize your cymbidium orchid. Feed weakly (1/2 strength) weekly works well for cymbidiums. Once a month use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix.

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