Look! Stairway Orchid Garden

Look! Stairway Orchid Garden

Susie Nadler
Mar 20, 2009

Talk about making the most of limited outdoor space... the gardener behind this gorgeous cascade of cymbidium orchids has managed to transform a standard city stoop into a slice of tropical paradise. The foliage may be a bit chaotic, but we think this actually adds to the overall lush effect. When we spotted it driving by, we inadvertently stopped traffic to gaze. Turns out cymbidiums grow beautifully outdoors here in SF. Learn how after the jump...

Because of our foggy, cool nights, weather conditions in San Francisco are ideal for growing certain orchid species that thrive in cloud forests. Of these, cymbidiums have perhaps the biggest, showiest blooms. Out of bloom they don't look like much, but of course since they're potted you can always move them to a less obvious spot.

Our friend Jason Dewees, who works at Flora Grubb Gardens and knows everything about tropicals, offers this advice:

Cymbidiums require a half-day of sun, mild orchid fertilizer, a light mix with lots of fine fir bark, and cool nights in the fall to initiate bloom. Snail-protection is key and some overhead protection from hail and cold rain is nice if you want absolute perfection. Most lack fragrance but a few have a nice mild green scent, and a few are very sweet-smelling.

Thanks, Jason!

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