How to Divide Cymbidium Orchids


Cymbidium orchids, native to China, Japan and Australia, grow well in regions that offer tropical days with cool nights. The orchid requires a cycle of warm days with cooler nights to form flower buds. In regions that meet these requirements the cymbidium orchid flourishes outdoors, but in other locations the orchid must be grown in a greenhouse setting or indoors, with care. When grown in pots, the cymbidium orchid requires repotting every two years with bulb division. The orchid can rarely be left three years without repotting--the plant will decline in foliage and flower production.

Step 1

Grasp the orchid firmly at the base beside the soil level. Tap the bottom of the pot to loosen the orchids root system. Gently pull the pot away from the orchids root system while grasping the base.

Step 2

Cut away the lower one third of the orchid's root system using a sharp knife. Discard the roots.

Step 3

Shake the dirt away from the orchid. Break the mass apart by gently pulling it at the natural joints that the bulbs have formed.

Step 4

Divide the bulbs into clumps of three or four. Cut the root system to 3 to 4 inches on each clump.

Step 5

Remove all the tiny back bulbs from the large clumps. Remove all roots from the back bulbs and set them aside.

Step 6

Rinse the clumps in water prior to planting. Plant in an orchid medium that is a mix of fir bark, perlite and peat moss.

Step 7

Fill the pot two thirds with potting medium. Form a cone shape in the dirt. Gently spread the root system of the bulbs over the soil. Fill the pot completely with the medium. Tamp the soil down firmly to remove all air pockets. The pseudobulbs and the roots need to be 1 inch below the medium.

Step 8

Place the pot in a shady location. Water thoroughly.

Step 9

Place the remaining back bulbs into an equal peat moss and equal sand mixture. The bulbs should be placed only halfway into the soil.

Step 10

Place the pot with the back bulbs into a shady location that offers warm temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Water the bulbs when new growth begins to develop.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Knife
  • Orchid potting medium of peat moss, sand and perlite


  • Cymbidium Society of America: Cymbidium
  • Garden Center of Colorado: Orchds Cymbidium Care
  • BBC: Make more cymbidium orchids
  • Bribie Island Orchid Society: Cymbidium Orchids

Who Can Help

  • The New England Orchid Society: How to grow Cymbidium orchids
Keywords: cymbidium orchid bulbs, repotting cymbidium bulbs, cymbidium bulb care

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.