Cymbidiums may be grown for a number of reasons – for their cut flower or pot plant potential, for their intrinsic beauty or for their show-bench potential, to mention a few. The hybrids mentioned below may fit a number of these categories but are selected because of their availability and their proven show success. Of course, they need to be grown to their full potential if you hope to do well with them on the show bench. You must also realise that there are many seedlings and new clones not yet commercially available that will probably be better than them, but the plants listed below are those readily available at the present time. It is important to obtain a primary mericlone or preferably a division of any particular plant – do not purchase mericlones of mericlones!
Second Renaissance ‘Jenny Wren’ is a yellow albino, still regarded as having an excellent flower, even after 25 years. Must be grown well for satisfactory colour intensity, flower count and spacing.
Narela ‘Jenifer Gail’. Even older than ‘Jenny Wren’, but when flowered well it can still be competitive. Easy to grow and flower but must be provided with sufficient light to give the flowers a rich pink colour, and then shaded sufficiently to prevent fading.
Valley Zenith ‘Green Orb’. There are a number of good Valley Zenith cultivars but this clone produces very shapely, clear green flowers when given the appropriate amount of shade.
Anna Szabo ‘Geyserland’. Pristine whites are uncommon but this clone can produce smallish pure white flowers with a striking red-banded labellum. To avoid pink staining it is essential to provide the right amount of shade after the buds emerge from the sheath.
Icho Tower ‘Trinity’ is a newly introduced clone that is sweeping all before it overseas; it will probably be seen here this year. Freely produces large, shapely yellow flowers.
Cronulla ‘The Khan‘ is still a highly desirable polychrome pink on green. It needs top culture in order to produce numerous, large, strongly contrasting flowers.
Wallamurra ‘Jupiter’ is a very eye-catching purple-red flowered cymbidium that still consistently wins winter shows. Shapely, although the labellum is rather weak.
Pontac ‘Grouville‘ has brown-red flowers that are better than those of Wallamurra, which flowers earlier in the season. Give plenty of light for good colour and then shade to retain it.
So Bold ‘and Bountiful’ is a shapely, floriferous brown. Give plenty of light to obtain the colour and then shade to retain it.
Leopard Lady ‘Mary Smith’ is a perennial favourite with shapely spotted, green and brown polychrome blooms. Give plenty of light to produce intense colours.
One Tree Hill ‘John’s Quest’ and ‘Doris’ are two top yellow Dolly crosses. Shown as albino types they are consistent show winners.
Gentle Touch ‘Bon Bon’ has eye-catching green flowers. A large grower, it produces long upright stems of shapely flowers.
Alison Shaw ‘Perfection’ is another old crossing in pink that together with ‘Valentine’ are still show winners when grown and flowered well.
Winter Fire ‘Sylvia’ Winter Fire is a very shapely red with a very attractive labellum. Grown as a specimen it makes a striking addition to any display.
Bulbarrow ‘Friar Tuck‘ is a genuine perennial with its shapely green-on-brown flowers on pendulous inflorescences. Best results are obtained when it is grown to a multi-inflorescence specimen plant.
Last Tango ‘Geyserland’ is dramatic in colour, with deep brown tepals framing a solid purple red labellum and white pollen cap.
Music Box Dancer ‘Ballerina’ is a free-flowering, strong-growing white. It should be flowered in high light and may initially open as a soft green.
Without Peer ‘Soft Touch’ produces long inflorescences of soft pink flowers. These may be staked upright or allowed to arch. Give moderate light to produce the attractive soft pink colour and then shade to retain it.
Last Chance ‘Autumn Glory’. Last Chance produces flowers from March to July. It is shapely and free flowering and a guaranteed show winner.
Ice on Fire ‘Niketta’, when flowered with sufficient shading, produces pristine white flowers with a contrasting red-marked labellum. Its inflorescences may be upright or arching. Sarah Jean ‘Jennifer’ has the shapeliest flower of the Sarah Jean grex. It should be allowed to grow into a specimen in a smallish pot, where it will produce numerous inflorescences of soft green albino-type flowers.
Sarah Jean Tee Cascade’ is the most dramatic of the Sarah Jean grex. When the correct clone is grown and trained well it produces a lovely display of small snow-white flowers. There are many clones seen that are either not ‘Ice Cascade’ or are mutants arising from excessive proliferation.
Sarah Jean ‘Helen’ is a deep salmon-red Sarah Jean produced by crossing a red-flowered form of Cymbidium pumilum with Sleeping Beauty ‘Golden Queen’. Shapely and free flowering, Sarah Jean ‘Helen’ adds to the charms of this excellent grex. (pumilum x Sussex Dawn) ‘Honey’ is a free flowering honey-brown miniature of show-bench quality, and is similar to Sarah Jean.
Dr. Len ‘Geyserland’ is a very shapely pendulous polychrome green-on-red hybrid derived from Cymbidium madidum.
Phar Lap ‘Geyserland’ is a compact-growing hybrid also bred from C. madidum. It produces multiple inflorescences of salmon-reddish flowers in November. It’s particularly impressive when grown into a specimen.
Playmisty ‘Atlantis’ is the best of the excellent Playmisty cross. It provides tall inflorescences of shapely pink flowers for Mother’s Day and may flower three times a year.
As mentioned at the start of the article, there are many seedlings and currently unavailable clones that surpass the ones suggested. In large-flowered cymbidiums these include, for whites, Peter Dawson and Hazel Tyers crosses; for pinks, Kirby Lesh, Candy Floss, Silvan Fair and Hazel Tyers crosses; for yellows, Tracey Reddaway and Balcariga crosses; for greens, Valley Zenith crosses; for reds, Bold Sensation, Lady in Red, James Toya, James Tee Kirk, Yowie Flame, Red Panther, Sensational Velvet and Lancashire Rose crosses; for oranges, Mighty Mouse, Karen, Autumn Crisp, Atlantic Crossing and Tethys crosses.
In intermediate-flowered cymbidiums, Vogelsang crosses have been used for pinks and reds, Dolly crosses for yellows, greens and albino types, Last Tango crosses for reds and browns, Music Box Dancer crosses for whites and Summer Pearl crosses for early whites, pinks and pastel greens and yellows. For miniatures, Ruby Eyes crosses have been used for reds and pinks, Sarah Jean crosses for whites and greens, Olymilum crosses for whites, and devonianum hybrids such as Miss Muffet and Brook Street for reds, browns and polychromes. There are obviously many others worthy of mention but these would make an excellent start against all but the advanced grower who flowers numerous new seedlings.