help: what do I do next with this Cymbidium kanran?

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Nov 15, 2017
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My Aunt imported this Cymbidium kanran “Pink” from Wenqing Perner in spring 2017. It was a nice-looking specimen, probably 8 total bulbs, long thick roots.

She tried to grow it like her other Cymbidiums, in bark, summers outside, winter in her greenhouse. It struggled. She switched to growing it in lava rock and charcoal, bit of bark and Sphagnum …it rallied… but then by last spring she had given up on it. The remaining bulbs were still firm and it had two (surprisingly, highly white-variegated) small new growths, but it had no roots.

She tossed it. I took it, drowned it in all manner of potions (peroxide; Physan; KelpMax; MegaThrive; Innocur) wrapped it in my best 5AAAAA Neofinetia sphagnum and set it in the south window, where it has been since last May. I’d splash a little water when it looked dry.

About 2 months ago, I saw one of these shoots…then a couple weeks later a bit of loose moss jostled to reveal the other.

I’m shocked and thrilled that my stubbornness seems to have brought it to this point but… NOW WHAT? I would love to bring it back. This species has repeatedly confounded me for various reasons. I keep giving up and then jokerpass gets me to start over (I finally have some REAL Japanese East Asian Cymbidium mix on the way, from Flora Peculia, as he graciously suggested).

I cannot see any roots. I’m afraid to disturb it until I figure out the most prudent next step, and when and how to take it. The growths look terribly pale; the original photos of the newly imported plant had dark green, typically strappy Cymbidium leaves, making the later, highly white-variegated growths such a surprise; I see some variegation on these too but the pale color is worrisome to me. It’s had a small, I frequent amount of K-lite but mostly just tap water. It’s very wet right now because I watered yesterday. The vessel has no drainage. I really never expected anything to happen after such a long, inexorable decline…

Jokerpass, anybody? What would you do next (besides the obvious, i.e. throw it out).

Thank you!


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I grew Cym. kanran in semi-hydroponics and they did great in a warm greenhouse.
Ok that is music to my ears but it contradicts everything I’ve been told by the Asian growers. They apparently call it “the cold-growing Cymbidium.” I have failed with it in the house as well as outside. Would you put this particular tender business straight into S/H? I value your experience. I’m just know whatever I do next is this plant’s last chance.
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The Asian cymbidiums I imported from Taiwan were growing in a mix of pumice and twigs, watered daily - fairly similar to the conditions in S/H - so there was no need for changing the root system. If yours has a root system that grew in a different medium, it might struggle while getting acclimated.

As far as temperature is concerned, I grew sinense, ensifolium, goeringii, and kanran together. Maybe the evaporative cooling from the LECA was enough for the kanran and tolerated by the others?
Can cymbidiums be planted outside? In regular potting soil? Or, a special soil mix? I live in Zone 8a, NC

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