Light up the gar­den in the darker months

Life & Style Weekend - - GARDEN - Angie Thomas is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at Yates. with Angie Thomas

IF YOU’VE al­ways wanted to grow an or­chid but doubted your gar­den­ing skills, then cym­bid­i­ums are the choice for you. They are one of the hardi­est and eas­i­est to grow of all the orchids and make the per­fect pot­ted plant.

They flower pre­dom­i­nantly dur­ing win­ter and early spring, so re­ally come into their own dur­ing July and bring gor­geous colour into the cold­est months of the year. Cym­bid­i­ums can pro­duce nu­mer­ous showy spikes of flow­ers rang­ing in colour from gor­geous green through to white, cream and yel­low, pink and bur­gundy. Pot­ted cym­bid­i­ums can be brought in­side for a few weeks to show off their flow­ers and spikes can also be cut for a vase (they last for weeks).

Here are some easy tips to help you get the best out of your cym­bid­ium or­chid.

Choose a warm, frost-free spot with dap­pled light. Harsh af­ter­noon sun can burn leaves and too lit­tle light will re­duce flow­er­ing. Hav­ing a pot­ted cym­bid­ium al­lows you to move it around to take ad­van­tage of the best po­si­tion.

Cym­bid­ium orchids are na­tive to Asian trop­i­cal forests and moun­tain­ous re­gions, where they of­ten grow up in the tree canopy. They re­quire very good drainage, so should be planted in a very well-drained spot in the gar­den or in a pot with good drainage holes filled with coarse or­chid pot­ting mix. Pot­ted orchids should not be left sit­ting in a saucer of wa­ter – it will rot their roots.

Feed cym­bid­ium orchids each week with an or­chid liq­uid plant food from spring through to au­tumn. Spe­cially for­mu­lated or­chid food pro­vides the right bal­ance of nu­tri­ents to pro­mote leaves and flow­ers.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Cym­bid­i­ums are hardy orchids.

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