Spirited Cymbidium Cultivation Ongoing Korean Cymbidium Focused on Chinese Market
In the winter when the wind can be cold and piercing to enter a 5,300㎡-sized greenhouse nestled in Siheung in Gyeonggi-do, where myriads of glamorous Cymbidium (one of the genus of 52 evergreen species of the orchid family) are in bloom, is definitely a thawing and so pleasant experience. The warm farmhouse, run by Mr. Jang Gi-Cheon, is nursing dazzling Cymbidium 60 % of which are sold in Korea and 40% of which are exported to China.
The Cymbidium flower is very colorful and long-lived, but takes some years to cultivate to maturity. It is an air-purifying plant emitting twofold more anion than Sansevieria (bowstring hemp). Sales of it have been gradually increasing every year in Korea; and the orchid flower is mass exported to China, particularly around the China’s lunar New Year ‘Chungeol’ (China’s biggest annual holiday). The Chinese people believe that yellow Cymbidium brings year-long luck to them. Attuned to this belief, a lot of Korean Cymbidium is exported to China at the time of the New Year. This year some 450,000 plants of Cymbidium (equivalent to USD$ 10m) are expected to be exported to China. Cymbidium for export needs to have many tall stalks. The flowers with the required peduncle are classified into a best-quality commodity.
Export starts in earnest in early January. In Gyeonggi-do the Cymbidium for export is collected by the Korean Floricultural Agriculture Cooperative and then is sent to Korean trading companies or distributed to Chinese wholesalers. In this way demand can be sensibly monitored and the brand value can be maintained and even developed
Preferences for Various Colors
The preferred color of the flowers varies from region to region in China. While people in Beijing and Shanghai like warm-feeling reddish flowers, southerners living in the region around Guangzhou prefer golden blooms. At the beginning of the Cymbidium export, red flowers sold well, but now the trend has changed toward the golden variety.
Growing Cymbidium is not a cakewalk. For a start, orchid farmers have to pay royalties on plantlets to overseas breeding companies. Farmers used to purchase young orchids from Japanese breeding companies in the past, but now they buy from Australian suppliers. After purchase the young plants are incubated in Korea and then individual farmers grow them. In a 5,300㎡-sized greenhouse some 12,000~15,000 young orchids are potted and cultivated. After potting it takes around three years for the petals to bloom (through first and second blooming and a shedding process). So it takes around five years from the start of cultivation to shipment. Since the flowers buyers like have recently become quite various, the need for the farmers to look five years ahead to pick new kinds of orchid is pressing. Therefore, farmers are very careful to select other than the current would-be-loved kinds of the flower.
The Cymbidium plant is very sensitive to temperature. The optimum diurnal temperature ranges from 25℃ to 30℃. But, due to global warming, the daytime temperature in summer has increased to 35℃. So the flower is vulnerable to temperature changes that can have a deleterious effect on their quality and marketability.
Moreover, the flowers can bloom during a desired period only after the requirement that the nighttime temperature be kept at over 10℃ in winter is met.
Unflagging Care and Technology on the Road to Upgraded Quality
Korea’s Cymbidium farmers take meticulous care of the orchid flowers. According to the farming environment, they adjust the water volume, temperature, and cultivating technology. If they fail they not only have to suffer financial losses, but also they need so much time to reinvest.
Jang Gi-Cheon, the owner of the big greenhouse, advised: “The last thing that should be done is to plant Cymbidium densely. Because the orchid needs sunlight and it buds easily helped by smoothly-circulating air.” And he added: “With a standardized cultivating technology in Korea, we can produce the highest-quality Cymbidium.”
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Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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