Cymbidium Orchid: Lengthening Flower Spike!

About one month since this cymbidium orchid’s spike first emerged, quite a bit of growth has occurred. When the first buds appeared, the buds appeared tightly bound to the spike and in close proximity to each other. Now, the length of the spike has increased quite a bit, allowing each flower bud sufficient physical space for the eventual flowers that will emerge.img_1382 It towers over the jade plant, which is trying to steal the attention!

The length of the cymbidium flower spike brings up a practical and garden design question: Do you let the spike grow naturally, allowing it to curve and possibly cascade down the container? Or do you intervene and while the spike is very young, secure it with twist ties or twine to a garden stake? I’ve done both. It’s a matter of aesthetics, which is highly subjective. How do you want your garden to look?

If you allow it to curve or cascade naturally, you’ll have to be vigilant about the stress placed on the spike because of the added weight of the mature flowers. The added weight may increase the chance that the spike will snap off. I’ve had that happen, unfortunately. The solution to that, for my container garden, is to have bamboo stakes at the ready to insert both inside the container and outside the container. Gently securing the spike at this stage, may help relieve the stress on the spike by providing valuable support, while allowing you to have the look of a flower cascade in your garden, a truly lovely vision that I highly recommend. It’s almost like a shower of flowers!

In the early years of my garden, I “trained” the young orchid spikes to grow quite upright, and they do so very nicely and easily with the help of a sturdy bamboo stake and multiple twist ties in several spots throughout the length of the spike. Using this strategy, you likely will have to adjust your twist ties as the spike gets taller and taller (else your twist ties may end up slicing off immature flower buds). The look of an upright cymbidium flower spike echoes that of the gladiolas that I used to have in my garden.

It’s a matter of personal preference which way you want to go, but both are doable. Cymbidium orchids make a garden that much more pleasing.

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE:  Ingestion of the sap of the jade plant may cause illness and skin contact with the sap may also cause dermatitis. More information on toxic plants can be found here:


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