Northwest Baja, along with southern California, offer one of the best climates for growing many orchids outdoors, especially near the coast. According to the San Diego Orchid society (I used to be a member for many years) there are more than 150 different orchid species that can grow outdoors. Here is one of the easiest for our Baja weather:
Cymbidiums are definitely the easiest to grow and usually bloom from spring into fall. They can be left outside all year with minimal protection during the coldest nights. Cymbidiums can actually tolerate down to 26 degrees for an hour or two with no or little damage.
For this plant to set buds, there needs to be at least a 20-degree difference between summer and winter night temperatures.
I was at Trader Joe’s last week and they had plenty of Cymbidiums in 2 and 5 gallon pots for less than $20 with lots of blooms. They fit easily in the car coming this way.
If you pick a bloom off the plant, and let it rest in a shallow bowl with some water, it will stay fresh for a few weeks. This is also the bloom that’s used most for corsages.
Cymbidiums can take full winter sun all day and direct morning and afternoon sun (with midday shade) during the summer months. Ideal would be an east or westfacing patio. They do best in cool locations, so near the ocean they are happiest, as they enjoy cooling breezes at all times. (Who wouldn’t?)
The plants communicate to you whether they are getting sufficient daylight or not; when leaves are dark green, it is too shady and when leaves are yellowish, there is too much sunlight. When leaves are light green, the plants are happy and in their most ideal spot.
Plants are usually grown in larger pots, from 1 gallon up to 5 gallons or more. There are also beautiful miniature Cymbidiums that can stay in a 1 gallon pot. These usually bloom earlier and its flowers are slightly smaller.