7 Cymbidium Orchids to Consider Growing

Cymbidium orchids, or boat orchids, make great houseplants. Which ones should you consider growing?

Cymbidium orchids, often known as boat orchids, are native to the Himalayan foothills and flourish in temperate climates. They can withstand substantially colder temperatures compared to other common orchid species.

Boat orchids make great house plants and are becoming a popular choice for beginners because of their widespread availability and the fact that they are not as demanding as other hybrids.

The name is derived from the Greek word “cymba,” which refers to a little fishing boat made from a hollowed tree stump shaped like a flower’s lip.

These orchids produce cascades of big flowers on spikes that can last one to three months. Cymbidium orchids are prized for these long-lasting flowers, which are especially popular as cut flowers or garlands in the spring. Many of these flowers are also fragrant.

The plant’s long, slender leaves contribute to its charm.

These plants are excellent plants to grow in temperate conditions. They can be grown in pots outside in the spring, summer, and fall and then brought inside as winter approaches.

The blooming season is typically in the winter, which is ideal if you are showcasing your plants indoors. 

1. Cym. dayanum

This orchid, often known as the phoenix orchid or day’s cymbidium, features white blossoms with burgundy stripes. It thrives in areas receiving direct sunlight, but it also does well in partial shade.

Cym. dayanum grows on trees in expansive forests or on the mountain slopes at elevations ranging from 980 to 5,000 feet. It prefers areas with high humidity during the summer and early fall. It is best to grow this plant in a well-ventilated environment.

This cultivar blooms in clusters of one to three spikes at a time, indicating that it is a sequential bloomer. The flowering season lasts into late winter, though towards the end of the season, the plant does not look as glorious as when all flower spikes open at once.

Orchid lovers treasure it for its long blooming period and high decorative value.

2. Cym. erythrostylum

The red column cymbidium is another name for cym.erythrostylum. It is native to Vietnam. It blooms in the late summer and fall when grown in cooler temperatures.

It’s one of the most visually appealing species in the family. It produces 4 to 10 non-fragrant, long-lasting flowers, each about 1.2 inches wide.

The flower has a triangle outline with a yellow-white mouth embellished with red stripes and dots. The petals and sepals are white, and they seem to sparkle because of their unique texture.

White erythrostylum flower with fallen petals

3. Cym. tracyanum

Cymbidium tracyanum, often known as Tracy’s cymbidium, is the most gorgeous and fragrant variant of the family. This plant grows high in branches, draping and swaying gracefully.

They are high-quality bloomers with towering spikes and vibrant colors. This orchid produces ten to twenty fragrant yellow-green flowers with brown streaks. Both the sepals and petals are speckled and somewhat curved.

This orchid is best suited for growing as a specimen plant. It’s a popular plant that blooms from fall to winter and has large, beautiful flowers. 

White yellow tracyanum flower

4. Cym. aliciae

Cym. Aliciae, or Alicia’s cymbidium, was discovered in mountainous areas at altitudes ranging from 900 to 9,000 feet. It is indigenous to the Philippines and prefers to stay in shaded areas.

It grows 8 to 10 pale green, slightly leathery leaf clusters.

The ideal seasons to see Alicia’s cymbidium in bloom are late summer and fall. It displays 2-inch-wide white flowers with several red dots on the lip.

5. Cym. aloifolium

Cym. aloifolium is indigenous to the Himalayas and Western Malesia. In somewhat shaded locations, it can be seen growing between rocks, on other flora, and on decaying wood.

The plant blooms in the winter and early spring. It has the capacity to produce up to 75 flowers, each measuring around 2 inches in diameter. The sepals and petals are light yellow to cream-yellow with crimson streaks.

This species’ flowers resemble those of cym.dayanum, but their flowers differ in lip curvature and shape. This was the first cymbidium species identified in Europe.

beautiful ref and yellow aloifolium flower

6. Cym. atropurpureum

The black-purple cymbidium can be found in Southern Thailand, Central Malaysia, Vietnam, Borneo, Sumatra, and the Philippines. 

It is most commonly found in the crevices of huge tree branches in woods, but it can also be spotted on rocks.

This orchid is one of the easiest in the genus to grow. Summer and autumn are the best seasons to see it in bloom. The coconut-scented flowers can be found in bunches of 10 to 33 on a spike.

The petals are dark maroon, while the sepals are a mix of dark maroon and dark yellow-green with maroon streaks. The outside of the lip is white, with burgundy-purple dots on the edges and a yellow crest in the center.

atropurpureum flower with a red and yellow crest

7. Cym. lancifolium

Cym. lancifolium is an interesting plant that is rare and difficult to cultivate. Its charm comes from its small stature and attractive inflorescence.

It’s a medium-sized, compact plant that grows in cold to temperate areas, typically on rock formations and limestone cliffs. This is a species with broad leaves.

The fragrant blossoms appear in the spring and summer. The inflorescence can house 8 to 10 flowers, each measuring 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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