사군자 Cymbidium ensifolium

  • It was rescued from a miserable office setting. The flower is pigmented green because I didn't not keep it shaded properly. If I had, it would have had pure white blossoms, highly prized in Korea. You can see the external dew. For some reason, the nectar is outside of the flower.

    A little web search appears that this specimen might be the Jin Si Ma Wei "Golden Silk Horse Tail." Revered in East Asia, this cold weather orchid is notoriously difficult to cultivate a bloom. Orchids were greatly regarded by the literati yangban class in Korea, as it was thought to represent the 사군자 . (The Four Gentleman, key attributes for a proper Confucian noble).

    The only thing I did was not move it from it's position on the window sill, and watered it by instinct. How it survived, I am not sure. Regardless, here are the generic tips gleaned from books and websites:

  • Light

    Currently, this little guy is kept indoors on a ledge with western exposure, near an air vent. It likes drafts. It used to live on a southern exposure window ledge. Since this was in Manhattan, the windows contained UV filtering, and south was really southwest. This gives the plant full on sun.

  • Peak Watering

    Keep the plant moist, but not damp, watering once a week. Watering directly on the plant is not recommended. Use room temperature water. Too much moisture will cause fungal growth. During heavy growth (Spring, Summer, flowering) give light fertilizer every 2 weeks and maintain high humidity.

  • Dormant Watering

    Since this is a cold weather orchid, feeding must stop during it's dormant phase. Decrease watering to once every two weeks.

  • Blooms

    Cymbidiums need a temperature differential of at least 20 degrees Fahrenheit between day and night in order to induce blooming. Once a bloom spike is identified, support it as soon as possible.