s are commonly grown worldwide, many grow side by side with other flowers in gardens where the temperatures are mild.
Let's travel to the Far East and find the beautiful Chinese Cymbidium
s have been very popular and in cultivation for centuries in China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. The Chinese believe it is a great honor to give or receive one of these extraordinary orchids because they are considered symbols of virtuosity and friendship. These orchids are prized for their fragrant blooms and graceful folage. Confucius called these magnificent plants the "King of Fragrance" around 500 BC, and they are still known by this nickname today. There is a subgenus of Cymbidium
s, which is called Jensoa
. The five species that make up this subgenus are:
(Jian Lan, shown at right), Cymbidium goeringii
(Chun Lan), Cymbidium kanran
(Han Lan), Cymbidium sinense
(Mo Lan) and Cymbidium faberi
Orchids, for the most part, are not known for the beauty of their foliage. Chinese Cymbidium
s are the exception to this rule. The leaves of these orchids are cherished as much as the blooms. In fact, variegated Cymbidium
s are often judged in orchid shows without blooms because the foliage is so beautiful!
Each species of Chinese Cymbidium
s blooms at different times of the year which allows owners of the different species to have at least one of them in bloom almost year round. The flowers tend to be small, but plentiful, sprouting from very tall spikes which can be twice as tall as the plant. In each species, the colors may vary greatly. Different variations of Cymbidium sinense
for example, can be pure yellow, red, white or a mixture of colors. The pure colored flowers are the most cherished and thus the most valuable.
In their natural environment, the Chinese Cymbidium
s are found growing in the mountains from the lower elevations (Cymbidium sinese
) to the mountaintops (Cymbidium faberi
). Most of them require low light, shaded areas and constant moist surroundings. They can be typically found growing under other vegetation that filters out the hot sunshine.
As always, you should pick a species or hybrid that requires an environment that best matches the one in which you live. I am sure there will be at least one that will be happy in your collection. I suggest you purchase plants with at least three growths. Yes, they may be a little more expensive but, they will adapt to your growing conditions much faster.
Through the centuries the Asian people have created a very special vase
to grow their Cymbidium
s. The orchid vases are tall and narrow. Unlike the standard Cymbidium
s whose roots tangle and make large masses, the roots of the Chinese Cymbidium
s seldom branch and do not tangle. They have very long roots that need to have plenty of room to grow straight down.
The potting mix
needs to drain well which allows the roots to remain cool and moist, but not wet. A good mix can consist of stone, sponge rock, tree fern, fir bark, charcoal, moss or seaweed. The portions and combinations you use will depend on your environment.