Demise of an Orchid – a horticultural tragedy in three acts

cymbidium and how to repot

Not my cymbidium. This is what I wish my cymbidium had looked like.

Now posting firmly to the list of Plants I Won’t Try to Grow Again: Cymbidium. Bleh. A whole three months into this gardening venture and already I’m developing firm (and probably misinformed) opinions about what I don’t like to take care of.

Act One, Scene One

This was a gorgeous stem of flowers hovering above graceful arched leaves, growing slowly and with stately resolve toward the side of its original too-small pot. It would faintly sigh, a most ladylike lament, as if it would not dream of complaining, but “this pot does cramp my toes, and I’d be ever so grateful…”

Act One, Scene Two

So I did my best. I watched the videos about how to repot a cymbidium, such as this one:

If I could have brought my repotting station anywhere near the computer, I would have watched while I was working. Instead I’d get as far as I could then rest the poor thing gently on its side while I ran to consult the video gurus once again.

Act One, Scene Three

Slice – separate – sort out roots, hack off roots, reposition in moist extremely well cultivated stuff – wait a week for it to settle down, then resume normal care.  Yep, did that.

Someone forgot to tell MY cymbidium that it is supposed to enjoy this transplanting, hacking, resting, separating, potting stuff. It acted miserable for the first two days of being told no food, no water – you’re supposed to be resting!

“Like hell,” it muttered, turned toes-up and fainted. Thus begins Act Two of the Shakespearean tragedy, “Demise of an Orchid.”

(INTERMISSION – Champagne & Tea in the Lobby)

Act Two, Scene One

So I played along. I coddled and begged, pleaded and fed, adjusted ambient light, location, background music, scents and sounds — to no avail. Maybe it didn’t like the color of the new terra cotta pot.

Act Two, Scene Two

We played out this lament, Cymbidium and I, for the better part of two months. It’d get better. I’d ask how it felt. Swan song, limp leaf, blackened stem, gentle on-deathbed-feebly-reaching-for-ceiling sigh. “Leave me to my agony,” soft cough. “I see a light… so bright, so warm, so welcoming…”

Act Three, Scene One

So about an hour ago I dumped it and its histrionics out into Bunny Buffet Land. No more drama queen plants. From here on out, the only drama queens allowed in this household are our cats, Chatterbox and Growler – and they wouldn’t dream of being potted.

 <-> The End <->