Common Names: Cymbidium, Cymbidium Orchid

Botanical names: Cymbidium (sim-BID-ee-um)

Availability: October through June

Vase life: 17 to 21 days

Storage temperatures: 45 degrees Fahrenheit

Ethylene Sensitive: Yes, some varieties

Description: Orchid blossom composed five outer petals and one inner petal with a fringed, boat-shaped lip.

Color: A wide variety of colors. White, yellow, pink and lavender are the most common.

Botanical facts: Cymdidium is Greek for boat, in reference to the shape of the flower's lip.

Design notes: The cymbidium is sold both as individual blossoms inserted into water tubes and as full spikes of 8 to 15 blossoms per spike. Individual blossoms are used for wedding and corsage work. Full spikes are a wonderful addition to large vase arrangements.

Purchasing hints: Blossoms should be firm, and turgid with water. Avoid blossoms that are translucent or showing brown tips.

Conditioning: Give the stem a fresh clean cut and reinsert into a solution of fresh water and floral preservative / floral food.

Additional notes: Unlike most orchids, the cymbidium is a temperate climate orchid and can tolerate lower temperatures. However, avoid temperatures below 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not damage the stigma; this could result in premature death. While the cymbidium is not very heavy water drinker, be careful that blossoms in tubes do not run out of water. The cymbidium does not do well in floral foam. The exotic cymbidium orchid comes originally from Burma, India and the Himalayan Mountains; these harsh climates have produced a plant ideal for growing indoors, as it is fairly tolerant of difficult conditions. They may look like prima donnas, but the great advantage is that all this beauty requires little maintenance. For all their unusual appearance, the flowers are extremely long-lasting. You can enjoy a bunch of cymbidiums for weeks.