Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart

You might like
From $5.00
Show options
From $4.00
Show options
TUCKERS ORCHID NURSERY - NEW ZEALAND'S LARGEST SPECIALIST ORCHID NURSERY
MAY 2022 - CYMBIDIUMS

MAY 2022 - CYMBIDIUMS

MAY 2022 - CYMBIDIUMS

FROM ROSS THE BOSS

The impact of Covid, and the subsequent government mandates, on our industry has been unprecedented. We have experienced losses of up to 70% in our business and we understand other businesses have suffered worse. The cancellation of most orchid shows, closures of business and the sad passing of several hobby growers, has meant that when shows reopen we will be missing some familiar faces. We hope that things will start to return soon to something like normal.

The new normal will certainly be different in our business... with us first welcoming two new staff members. Aimee as our much valued production assistant at our Bayswater site and Vikki, our new office administrator and ‘voice’ of our social media. We hope having this extra (wo)man-power will produce more methods of communication with you; via our upgraded website; Facebook and Instagram…as well as our TradeMe sales listings, where our one off and high value products can be found.

Susan will have more to share in that space, but you are very welcome to check out our new website, where you will find a whole heap of new releases (with many more to be released over the next few months). We have had several large importations of flasks in the last 12 months which are getting ready for sale. Our retail shop is looking spectacular - when an orchid flowers and we move it out to be sold in the store, sometimes it is gone in the same day! So don’t forget to visit often and see the range, as it changes daily.

Over the last two years my crystal ball has shown me that retailing Orchids has changed and will continue to change. I hope those in control of the orchid groups also recognize this and change accordingly.

First, there is a new, younger generation of plants lovers out there, who have been collecting houseplants fervently; especially the more usual, expensive plants that have become more readily available. They have been snapping up the exotic variegated types, which they are prepared to travel the country to acquire.

Secondly, many have built up sizable collections of green leaves (just check out the houseplant Facebook groups) and now we need to "Shine a Light on Colour", especially the wide variety of colour available in Orchids. They can grow these plants in the same position as their green leaves - but will have a lot more colour in their lives.

Thirdly, I have observed a few gatherings of plant events we have been able to attend, where there has been a queue of public waiting to get in before the show opens (a historic occurrence at past years’ orchid shows). There’s been a surge for the orchids in flower and the orchids run out long before the customers do.

My predictions;

”Get ready”, get organized, the wave is coming.

This newsletter is devoted to the humble but glorious Cymbidium - The Orchid that most growers can start with, as it’s the easiest to grow in NZ conditions. The Orchid who even when you can’t grow orchids well, rewards you with its magnificent display of flowers every year. The most unloved orchid of the orchid elite, who often fail to recognize that a well grown and flowered Cymbidium is capable of commanding attention at all orchid shows.

Ross the Boss of Tuckers Orchids has been hybridizing Cymbidiums for over 50 years now, creating new colours, sizes, shapes and even now adding “perfume” to Cymbidiums. An Orchid that we are deeply fond of and that started our obsession.

So take a wander through our website, where you can chose the colour, shape and size of Cymbidium that you want to grow and enjoy.


SUSAN SAYS

It has indeed been an interesting first quarter of 2022. I have interviewed, hired and have been training my Office Assistant, Vikki. She has proven herself to be an ideal fit, not just for the role but also for the team. The position needed a ‘Jill of all Trades’ and she has been more than capable.

Covid has touched our business in so many ways over the last few months. Ross has mentioned some of the effects. What he hasn’t mentioned is, out of our small team, one has been a ‘Household Contact’ and another has contracted the virus. Thankfully for them, they were boosted so was able to work through the virus whilst staying at home.

Another way Covid has affected our business is how we perform business. A few years ago Ross and I travelled to Taiwan, courtesy of TAITRA, to participate in a meeting between suppliers and buyers. We were sat at a table as a buyer, as were other buyers, and the suppliers were rotated around the room and we had a 30 minute meeting with each supplier. Last month we had the same meetings, just over Skype. It was an interesting couple of hours.

And, yes, we are affected in the same way as supermarkets are, we run out of stock of items such as bark and moss because the suppliers are affected by Covid causing staff shortages, etc.

This period going forward will certainly show how this Covid19 pandemic has changed our lives and changed the way that we do business. We have reduced our impact on the environment as we have discovered that we can still work without driving our cars, or catching a plane. Video call technology is improving and will improve our lives in so many ways. Hey, let’s reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in our own small way!

WEBSITE WATSUP

It has been a long time coming but we are finally giving our website a fresh new look. No doubt some of you have encountered one or two of our ‘glitches’. In this day and age, our website is a very mature 9+ years old and is showing its age.

We have some exciting new features;

  • Enhanced Product details including easy to find prices as well as product size imagery
  • Streamlined checkout process. No need to figure out what your shipping zone is
  • Advanced Photo Gallery with links through to products – update pending
  • Easy access to back issues of all our Newsletters

Please, explore our website and let us know what you think. We’re sure that you’ll like it. We hope that you’ll love it.

FEATURE OF THE MONTH – CYMBIDIUMS

Cymbidiums are the most tolerant of all orchids for NZ conditions.

Cymbidiums are cultivated in many parts of the world for their long lasting blooms. They are the backbone of our cut flower industry in NZ. The name comes from Greek kymbus meaning boat, referring to the somewhat boat shaped labellum. Species cymbidiums grow naturally in many parts of the world, predominately in India, through to Malaysia and the Philippines into Japan, New Guinea and Australia. The forks and hollows of rainforest trees provide ideal conditions for cymbidiums to grow. Most of the cultivated cymbidiums you see at shows and on sales tables are the result of many generations of hybridization. Man has been hybridizing cymbidiums since the early 1900’s and in doing so has generated a vast range of colours, shapes and sizes – a style to suit everybody’s taste.

The more recently produced Chinese hybrids are gaining popularity.

There are four main species of Chinese cymbidiums that are in cultivation and being used in hybridization, - Cym goeringii, Cym ensifolium, Cym mastersii and Cym kanran, but there are many more that may not even have been discovered yet. In China and Japan many of them are grown as much for their superb perfumes as well as the flowers themselves. In fact, at the larger orchid shows in the region they have competitions for fragrance and the plants are displayed in tall glass jars where the perfume can be assessed and graded.

CULTURE OF CYMBIDIUMS:

 

Cymbidiums are usually the easiest orchids to grow in New Zealand conditions

Light – All Cymbidiums need good light to flower well, almost as much as the plant can stand without burning the leaves. One of the easiest things to do when my cymbidiums won’t flower – put them in more light. They need approx. 25% shade, either under shade cloth or trees that will give filtered light. Short periods of full sun will do no harm as long as it is either early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not so strong. It is not the scorching of the sun that does the damage it is the heating of the leaves. Air movement around the plants at all times is essential.

Temperature Most Cymbidiums like cooler conditions 25oC max and down to 8-10oC overnight. They will tolerate it cooler in the winter, but if grown cold (down below 8oC overnight), it is better to keep them slightly on the dry side. Some Cymbidiums with Indonesian or Taiwanese species in the parentage may need to be grown a little warmer. A temperature drop of at least 5oC overnight is essential to initiate flowering (not usually a problem in NZ) Watering in the evening during the summer months will help this.

Feeding Cymbidiums are quick growers and can produce large plants, so correspondingly they are heavy feeders. Use a combination of anything, blood & bone, slow release, Growing Orchid Tucker for the rest of the year but definitely use Flowering Orchid Tucker from January otherwise you get less than optimum flowers. A liquid feed of Tuckers Orchid Nursery Growing Orchid Tucker weekly during the growing period is essential. From late January/early February, as the bulbs ripen and spikes start appearing switch to Tuckers Orchid Nursery Flowering Orchid Tucker to promote strong and healthy flowers.

Repotting & compost – Seedlings should be re-potted every 6 months and flowering sized plants really need to be done every second year at least. They like fresh mix. Good drainage in the pots is essential so check that all the drainage holes in the pots are clear and large enough. Burn some extra in with a soldering iron if necessary (beware the fumes from plastics are toxic – use a well ventilated area). It is not the composition of the mix that is important, the rewarding cultivation of Cymbidiums depends on the correct balance between light, food, water and the microclimate in which they are being grown. Look at your plants and let them tell you if they are happy. Bright glossy leaves standing up, not flopping over is a good indication that things are well.

Potting Mix – we have seen all types work from sand, scoria, peat, pumice, bark etc etc. But, because we have the best pine bark available in the world, we use it exclusively. (Unfortunately that’s why you have to pay world prices for it as it’s currently exported to the USA, Japan, Taiwan and Europe by the 40 ft container!!). We use No 2 for the small plants and No’s 3, 4, and 5 for the progressively larger plants.

Humidity & watering – Cymbidiums being partly terrestrial have different root systems to that of epiphytic orchids. Their roots are thick and fleshy and so best kept constantly moist – this makes plastic pots the best choice for them. Cymbidiums do not generally have a rest period after flowering therefore must be kept watered throughout the year with the mix being allowed to dry slightly between watering. There are 2 exceptions to this:

1) When a plant has been newly potted, they are a bit delicate, as the roots will have been bruised and probably broken during potting. Just spray lightly over the leaves and just dampen the surface of the mix for a week or so to let the damage heal. This will prevent trouble from bacterial and fungal infections later.

2) Plants with Cym devonianum in the recent parentage like to have a slight winter rest with restricted watering for a short period.

Watering – In summer, as much as possible – every day or two – overhead is fine. In winter, cut back to once or twice a week, never over the flowers to avoid the spotting marks.

Common problems: Blackened leaf tips – can be fungal disease or more commonly it is caused by an excess of food or lack of water (either way the balance is out somewhere). Try flushing the plants with plain water only for 2 weeks and then resume normal watering and feeding. The blackened tips will not go away and can be cut off. Some varieties are more susceptible to this. If it is looking like a fungal problem spraying with an all-purpose fungal spray is recommended. Silvery marks on the underside of the leaves indicate that red spider mites are active. Spray with a good insecticide and repeat twice more at 10 day intervals. This is the main pest that attack Cymbidiums. When watering, spraying the underside of the leaves can help to prevent them as the mites don’t like wet and humid conditions.

Flowering: When your spikes appear it is a good idea to put in a stake, so you can easily see which plants need to move to a more sheltered area for winter. As the spikes lengthen loosely tie them to the stake. And if you have to change the way a spike is growing please be very careful. The new spikes are very brittle and snap off easily. It is best to do this very gradually, over several weeks, and only after lunchtime on a warm day. The spikes are more pliable in the afternoon when the sap has had a chance to rise. Keep slug baits around the plants as the new spikes are very juicy and tempting for slugs and snails.

EXTRA NOTES

Cymbidiums are the most tolerant of all orchids for NZ conditions.

Potting Mix – we have seen all types work from sand, scoria, peat, pumice, bark etc etc. But, because we have the best pine bark available in the world, we use it exclusively. (Unfortunately that’s why you have to pay world prices for it as it’s currently exported to the USA, Japan, Taiwan and Europe by the 40ft container!!). We use No 2 for the small plants and No’s 3, 4, and 5 for the progressively larger plants.

Light – almost as much as the plant can stand without burning the leaves. One of the easiest things to do when my cymbidiums won’t flower – put them in more light.

Feed – Use a combination of anything, blood & bone, slow release, Growing Orchid Tucker for the rest of the year but definitely use Flowering Orchid Tucker from January otherwise you get less than optimum flowers.

Watering – In summer, as much as possible – every day or two – overhead is fine. In winter, cut back to once or twice a week, never over the flowers to avoid the spotting marks.

SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIES

Cymbidium sinense

ORIGIN/HABITAT: Found in eastern China, Hong Kong, and in the mountains throughout Taiwan from 1000-4000 ft. (300-1200 m). It is generally found in dense or partial shade in broadleaved forests, near streams or water seepages, growing in leafy, humus-rich soil. It is also found in the Khasia Hills of northeast India, through Burma, northern Thailand, and into western China, at higher elevations, usually 4600-7500 ft. (1400-2300 m). It also grows in the Ryukyu Islands.
PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A semi terrestrial plant 16-28 in. (40-70) cm tall.
PSEUDOBULBS: 1.25 in. (3 cm) tall. The small ovoid pseudobulbs are covered with broad sheathing leaf bases and dry cataphylls up to 5 in. (13 cm) long which become fibrous with age.
LEAVES: 2-4. The relatively broad and gracefully arching leaves are 16-40 in. (40-100 cm) long. They are dark green and glossy, with serrated edges.

INFLORESCENCE: 16-32 in. (40-80 cm) tall. A single inflorescence emerges from inside the cataphylls covering the base of each mature pseudobulb. The scapes are erect and hold the flowers well above the foliage.
FLOWERS: Nicely spaced on the upper 1/3-1/2 of each inflorescence, the star-shaped flowers all open at the same time. They are generally 2-3 in. (5-12 cm) across and fill a greenhouse with their fragrance. Sepals and petals are commonly red to brownish purple, while the lip is cream or pale yellow, heavy with dark red spotting and blotching which may nearly cover the lip.