Celebrating Cymbidiums

Celebrating Cymbidiums

The cymbidium orchid season is in full swing meaning they are at the markets in abundance and are great value in all their shades and sizes.

At home with 2 young kids and a newborn, they lend themselves well to the season as I have been needing low maintenance flowers that will last and last without needing any love in return. I never get sick of the striking beauty of their long stems and interesting colour schemes. Teamed up with a few interesting sticks or leaves for some texture, you have the making of a very easy, yet dramatic arrangement.

Cymbidium, pronounced sim-bid-ee-um, must rank as one of the best known of all orchids. The genus consists of about 50 species and, from these, thousands of hybrids have been bred.

Cymbidiums have the longest recorded history of any orchid, the earliest records coming from the Orient (China and Japan). The wild types are found growing naturally in China, Japan through the Himalayas, South East Asia and Australia. Cymbidiums have become idealised in Chinese philosophy to be recognised as a symbol for superior men and elegant women. 


In ancient times, nobility collected the Asian Cymbidium species. Often species were harvested from the high mountains and brought back to the palace. Certain natural variations of the plant would make it more desirable. The nobleman would try to grow and cultivate plants to bring out the desired traits. Having found prized attributes in a particular species, they would then divide the plants. The emperors and nobility prized these variations. They would plant their divisions in elaborate containers and often exchange these or give them as gifts to visiting land barons. Of course, the rarer the attributes the more valuable the gift.

Western society embraced the orchid as well and for years it featured in corsages worn by women at balls and other formal events – a tradition which continues to this day. They may be grown in gardens, pots, in tree tops or rockeries. They are one of the easiest orchids to cultivate and, provided that certain rules are stuck to, they will flower year after year.

You will have seen these fabulous orchids popping up in your selections over these past weeks. I hope you enjoy their beauty and versatility as much as I do.

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