Early-blooming cymbidium

An orchid that blooms in fall
David C. Becker

Most cymbidiums wait for winter to bloom. But the one pictured here, Autumn Green 'Geyserland', flowers during the warm days of late summer and early fall. It's more compact than standard cymbidiums, reaching about 2 1/2 feet tall (somewhere between dwarfs and standards). And, perhaps best of all, it's fragrant.

'Geyserland' is a descendant of Cymbidium ensifolium, whose hybrids come in a wide range of flower colors. The pale yellow-green 'Geyserland' blooms last about three weeks.

C. ensifolium orchids take heat better than more common cymbidiums, setting buds when evenings are in the high 50s or low 60s. Like their cousins, however, these orchids require partial shade, not direct sun. They can live outdoors year-round in areas that get little to no frost ( Sunset climate zones 15 and 17). Elsewhere, bring them indoors for winter.

A good source for these and other orchids is Santa Barbara Orchid Estate (800/553-3387).