Go Back to Free Culture Sheet Index -- Baker's Home Page
Charles and Margaret Baker's Home Page is http://www.orchidculture.com
Cymbidium atropurpureum (Lindley) Rolfe.

This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
Please visit their web site to find out about their Orchid Species Culture books,
Pollination Database, and culture sheet subscription service.

An Introduction to Climate Tables and how to use them is available.
Visit: http://www.orchidculture.com/COD/intro_climate.html.

Charles and Margaret Baker

Cymbidium atropurpureum (Lindley) Rolfe. 

AKA: Cymbidium pendulum (Roxburgh) Swartz var. atropurpureum Lindley.
Cymbidium pendulum (Roxburgh) Swartz var. purpureum W. Watson. Cymbidium
finlaysonianum Wallich ex Lindley var. atropurpureum (Lindley) Veitch.
Cymbidium atropurpureum (Lindley) Rolfe var. olivaceum J.J. Smith. 

ORIGIN/HABITAT: Peninsular Thailand, Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo, and
throughout the Philippines. The species has also been reported in Java and
Vietnam but is evidently rather rare in these locations. In Malaya, plants
have been found near Melaka (Malacca) and in the States of Johore and
Pahang. In Sumatra, plants have been collected near Palembang. In Borneo,
they are found in Kalimantan and Sabah, but details of habitat location
were not given. These plants normally grow in the forks of forest trees
but are occasionally found on rocks. They usually grow in lowland and
lower mountain forests from near sea level to 3950 ft. (1200 m), but
plants have been reported from elevations as high as 7200 ft. (2200 m). 

CLIMATE: Station #49630, Temerloh, Malaya, Lat. 3.5N, Long. 102.4E, at 163
ft. (50 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 2000 ft. (610
m), resulting in probable extremes of 91F (33C) and 58F (14C). 

F AVG MAX        79   82   84   85   85   84   84   84   84   83   81   80
F AVG MIN        65   65   66   67   67   67   66   66   66   67   67   66
DIURNAL RANGE    14   17   18   18   18   17   18   18   18   16   14   14
RAIN/INCHES     7.8  3.9  6.0  7.6  6.6  4.3  3.4  5.6  6.5  9.3  9.7 10.1
HUMIDITY/%       87   83   84   85   86   86   87   84   86   87   89   88
BLOOM SEASON                *   **   **    *    *
DAYS CLR @  7AM   0    0    2    1    1    0    2    2    2    0    0    0
DAYS CLR @  1PM   1    1    2    1    1    1    0    1    1    0    0    0
RAIN/MM         198   99  152  193  168  109   86  142  165  236  246  257
C AVG MAX      26.1 27.8 28.9 29.4 29.4 29.1 28.9 28.9 28.9 28.3 27.2 26.7
C AVG MIN      18.3 18.3 18.9 19.4 19.4 19.4 18.9 18.9 18.9 19.4 19.4 18.9
DIURNAL RANGE   7.8  9.5 10.0 10.0 10.0  9.7 10.0 10.0 10.0  8.9  7.8  7.8

Cultural Recommendations: 

LIGHT: 2500-3500 fc. Light should be somewhat filtered or diffused, and
plants should not be exposed to direct midday sun. Strong air movement
should be provided at all times. 

TEMPERATURES: Throughout the year, days average 79-85F (26-29C), and
nights average 65-67F (18-19C), with a diurnal range of 14-18F (8-10C). 

HUMIDITY: 80-90% year-round. 

WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy all year. Cultivated plants should be
watered heavily while actively growing, but the medium should not be
allowed to become stale or soggy. 

FERTILIZER: A balanced fertilizer mixed at 1/2-3/4 recommended strength
should be applied weekly from late spring through autumn when the plant is
actively growing. Some growers prefer to use a fertilizer somewhat higher
in nitrogen early in the season, changing to a fertilizer higher in
phosphorus during late summer and autumn. Others prefer to make alternate
applications of high nitrogen and high phosphorus fertilizers during the
year, particularly for the warm-growing lowland species that have no real
rest period. To prevent a buildup of salt deposits, pots should be leached
or flushed every few weeks when fertilizing heavily. This is especially
true in areas with highly mineralized water supplies. To flush a pot, the
plant should first be watered normally and then allowed to stand for about
an hour to allow the accumulated salts in the medium to dissolve. The pot
should then flushed with water equal to twice the volume of the pot to
wash out the dissolved salts. 

REST PERIOD: Growing conditions should be maintained all year. Water may
be reduced somewhat for cultivated plants in winter, particularly those
grown in the dark, short-day conditions common in temperate latitudes.
They should not be allowed to day out completely, however. Fertilizer
should be reduced in winter if water is reduced. 

GROWING MEDIA: Because C. atropurpureum requires heavy watering during the
growing season, the media should be open and fast draining. A mix based on
either fir bark or chopped tree-fern fiber is used by most growers.
Chopped sphagnum moss, osmunda, gritty sand, perlite, charcoal, and
fibrous loam are frequently added in varying amounts to the basic media.
In the Pacific Northwest, growers often use only small-to-medium fir bark.
However, using a medium-grade bark in the bottom half of the pot, and
topping it with a mixture of fine bark, 10% perlite, and 10% charcoal
produces excellent results. Because Cymbidiums are heavy feeders, many
growers also recommend adding composted manure or other balanced solid
fertilizers to the medium in addition to the regular fertilizing program.
Plants should be repotted every other year, or more often if the plant
outgrows the pot or if the medium is deteriorating. Repotting should be
done when new root growth starts in late winter if plants are not carrying
an inflorescence. Otherwise, repotting should be done as soon after
flowering as possible, with extra care to avoid breaking the brittle new

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based
on cultivation records. In nature, these plants bloom primarily in spring,
but may also bloom at other times of the year. 

Plant and Flower Information:

PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A large sympodial epiphyte or lithophyte that grows
24-39 in. (60-100 cm) tall. 

PSEUDOBULB: To 4 in. (10 cm) long. The ovoid pseudobulb if often obscurely
and weakly inflated, bilaterally flattened, and enclosed persistent leaf
bases and about 4 thin, dry, leaf-like bracts. 

LEAVES: 20-35 in. (50-90 cm) long. The 7-9 rather rigid, arching, leathery
leaves on each pseudobulb are 0.6-1.6 in. (1.5-4.0 cm) wide. 

INFLORESCENCE: 11-30 in. (28-75 cm) long. The arching to strongly
pendulous flower spike emerges from the base of the pseudobulb from within
the leaf-like sheathing bracts. 

FLOWERS: 10-33 blossoms are carried on each inflorescence. The flowers are
1.4-1.8 in. (3.5-4.5 cm) across and usually have a strong coconut-like
fragrance. The individual flower stems and the ovaries are pale green but
are often flushed with purple. The petals are deep maroon, while the
sepals range from deep maroon to dull yellow-green with strong maroon
staining. The lip is white with side lobes that are stained with
maroon-purple. The midlobe is yellow in front of the callus ridges and is
blotched with maroon. The callus ridges are bright yellow in front and
stained maroon behind. The column is deep maroon, sometimes paler in
front. The anther cap is white to pale yellow. Plants with deep wine-red
sepals and petals are found in the Philippines and in lowland Sabah in
Borneo. Plants with greenish sepals that still have the dark maroon petals
and column are usually from West Malaya, Sumatra, and Thailand, but plants
with this coloring have recently been reported as occurring at higher
elevations in Sabah. 



Du Puy, D., and P. Cribb. 1988. The genus Cymbidium. Timber Press,
Portland, OR.

Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211
Beckwith Road, Richmond, B.C., Canada V6X 1V7.

Holttum, R. 1964. A revised flora of Malaya. vol. 1, Orchids. Government
Printing Office, Singapore.

Seidenfaden, G. 1983. Orchid genera in Thailand XI. Cymbidieae Pfitz.
Opera Botanica 72, Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Seidenfaden, G. 1992. The orchids of Indochina. Opera Botanica 114,
Copenhagen, Denmark.

Seidenfaden, G., and J. J. Wood. 1992. The orchids of peninsular Malaysia
and Singapore. Published in association with The Royal Botanic Gardens,
Kew and Botanic Gardens, Singapore. Olsen & Olsen, Helstedsvej 10, DK-3480
Fredensborg, Denmark. 

Wood, J. J. and P. Cribb. 1994. A checklist of the orchids of Borneo.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 


Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker
Sheet version 567085

Please remember that this sheet is for your use only, and though it was
provided free of charge, it may not be reproduced or retransmitted in
any way without permission.

 "Orchid Species Culture" Charles & Margaret Baker, Portland, Oregon USA

    Orchid Culture & Pollination site    http://www.orchidculture.com
                   email <cobaker@troymeyers.com>

    "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 1 - Pescatorea, Phaius, Phalaenopsis,
   Pholidota, Phragmipedium, Pleione"  250 pages of culture information.

            "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 2 - Dendrobium"
  850 pages of culture information for more than 1230 Dendrobium species.

  "The genus Paphiopedilum--Natural History and Cultivation" - Part 1
    Dr. Guido Braem, Charles and Margaret Baker  ISBN 0-9665337-0-4
             Full page color photograph of each species.

  "The genus Paphiopedilum--Natural History and Cultivation" - Part 2
    Dr. Guido Braem, Charles and Margaret Baker  ISBN 0-9665337-1-2
             Full page color photograph of each species.

     "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 3 - The Laelia/Cattleya Alliance"
                       coming in a few months.

Go Back to Free Culture Sheet Index -- Baker's Home Page

This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
Please visit their web site to find out about their Orchid Species Culture books,
Pollination Database, and culture sheet subscription service.