Cymbidium Boat Orchid Care: Tips for a Successful Plant

The Cymbidium boat orchid is one of the most popular types of orchids in the world. It’s also one of the easiest to care for! It is native to Northern Thailand and Southern China and is in the orchid family Orchidaceae.

With that said, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks that will keep your plant thriving year-round. From watering techniques to light exposure, we cover it all. So if you want to learn more about caring for your Cymbidium boat orchid, read on!

Water Requirements

The Cymbidium is a plant that does not like to be watered often, but it is essential to ensure the soil does not dry out. These plants enjoy being in humid environments and need more water during their flowering time. During the winter months, you should water your plant less.

Light Requirements

As with any indoor plant, you should keep your Boat orchid in a well-lit area of the room. However, it needs to be away from any direct sunlight as these plants depend on humidity and will dry out quickly if exposed to bright light for a long time.

Temperature Requirements

The plant likes to be in temperatures between 45-80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they like nighttime temperatures to be a little cooler, so keep them just below 50 degrees at night. Doing this will encourage blooming.

Humidity Requirements

The Cymbidium should have high levels of humidity, around 75%, for the best results. The ideal environment would be warm and humid with indirect sunlight at all times during its growing period. They can also tolerate some frost, so do not panic if you cannot keep them at a temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soil/Potting Mix

This plant can grow in a variety of soils, but it’s important to remember that since the plant is an epiphyte and has parasitic tendencies, it does not need soil. Instead, you can use a mixture of bark chips, sphagnum moss, and perlite.

Fertilizer Requirements

It should only be fertilized if the plant is in its flowering period. This will ensure that it puts all of its energy into blooming and does not put any excess weight on the leaves, which can lead to a weed-like appearance throughout your Cymbidium.

Repotting Your Cymbidium Boat Orchid

The first step to caring for your plant is knowing when and how often you need to repot it. This process helps the orchid grow taller but can also help maintain a healthy root system because all of the roots are pulled out from any growing medium in which they may have become entangled.

When to Repot Your Cymbidium Boat Orchid

Unfortunately, there is no set rule on how often you should repot your orchid. A good time to consider a new pot is when it starts looking crowded and the plant has stopped blooming for an extended period of time. You can also tell when this happens if watering the plant doesn’t provide the desired effect.


The Cymbidium boat orchid will start to bloom in September-October, which is a short period only lasting around three weeks. The blooms are large and showy with six petals coming out from the center of it all.

Pruning Your Cymbidium Boat Orchid

Pruning is a great way to keep your plant looking nice and neat. What you need are some sharp scissors or pruning shears and the willingness to pluck out any dead leaves, flowers, fronds, or anything else that’s withered. This can also help create space for new growth as well, so there are plenty of benefits!


Propagation is one of the most popular ways to grow more Cymbidiums. This process involves taking cuttings from your plant and rooting them in water for about three weeks before planting them into soil pots with bark, moss, and perlite.

Common Problems

The most common problem that a Cymbidium boat orchid faces is root rot, which can be caused by overwatering during the winter. Too much or not enough light can also cause problems with the plant. Sometimes there can be a loss of old flowers which is a sign of dehydration.

Cymbidium Varieties

Cymbidium kanran

The Cymbidium Kanran is also known as the “Cold Growing Cymbidium.” It is native to North Vietnam and South China. It can be grown in the same environment as Cattleya and Phalaenopsis, but it needs to get cooler than those two varieties because it cannot tolerate heat well at all. This variety enjoys cool morning temperatures and still air.

Cymbidium aloifolium

The Cymbidium aloifolium is also known as the “Mt. Alo” or “Aloe-Leafed plant” cymbidium because of its resemblance to a large, leafy Aloe vera. This variety can be grown in cool to moderate temperatures and is native to the Eastern Himalayas region of Asia.

Cymbidium dayanum

The Cymbidium dayanum is also called “Day’s Cymbidium.” It grows in the mountains of China and is a favorite among collectors. The ideal temperatures for The Day’s Cymbidium is between 60°F-75°F.

Cymbidium lowianum

The Cymbidium lowianum is also called the “Low’s cymbidium.” It is native to Southern China and is a high-maintenance plant that will need proper care in order for it to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How do I know if my Cymbidium boat orchid is healthy?

A: If you’ve been providing it with the proper amount of light, water, and care then your plant should be relatively healthy. If not there are a few things that can cause this like overwatering or a lack of sunlight.

Q: I’ve just repotted my Boat orchid, how long will it take for new roots to grow?

A: It may take about three weeks before you see any significant growth so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen right away! You can also use a rooting hormone to speed up this process and guarantee healthy root development.

Q: My Cymbidium has lost its flowers – what is wrong? 

A: This could be for a number of reasons like overwatering, underwatering, lack of light, etc. You will need to make sure the plant’s environment is corrected before it will start flowering again.

Q: I’ve heard that Cymbidium orchids can be toxic, is this true?

A: Certain Cymbidium boat orchids are known to secrete a sap from the plant’s leaf that contains substances that can cause skin irritation. If you have sensitive skin and find yourself coming into contact with these plants, then it may be best to wear gloves when handling them.


Cymbidium boat orchids can be great plants for beginners because they are less expensive than other varieties and still provide the same quality of flowers. These plants grow well in a wide range of environments, so it is easy to find one that suits your preferences!

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