Saturday, 10 October 2015 23:44

Cymbidium Goden Elf Featured

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

(ensifolium x Enid Haupt)

moderate to bright light
do not allow medium to dry out, coarse bark - water frequently
do not allow medium to dry completely, mist daily
heat tolerant, but protect from frost
fragrant yellow blooms from spring into fall








Coarse potting mixture is preferred due to thicker than normal roots, a tight fitting tall pot will result in consistent blooms perhaps twice a year. Prefers the heat and bright light tolerant. They are also quite thirsty and hungry, so the coarse medium implies it needs to be watered a lot. Can tolerate cold temperatures, but protect from frost. The solid yellow blooms have a light-citrus fragrance that can be noticed several feet away in bright light and very warm temperatures.

Use a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) during growth season, ease off as buds form. Add Nutracote 12-3-15-7-2. It is a 180 day controlled release fertilizer. Apply a tablespoon full per gal pot in late December, apply it again in June.

The 7 and 2 are calcium and magnesium - both are needed by cymbidiums.




The International Orchid Register

Cymbidium Golden Elf

Golden Elf
Synonym Flag
This is not a synonym
Registrant Name
Rod McLellan Co.
Originator Name
P. Gripp
Date of registration
Seed parent
Cymbidium ensifolium
Pollen parent
Cymbidium Enid Haupt



SOURCE: The International Orchid Register


Orchid Wiki

Cymbidium Golden Elf

Cymbidium Golden Elf miniature warm to cool growing cymbidium that blooms from early summer through early winter. The flowers are fully yellow.


Although the plant is warm tolerant keep cool. Pot in medium fir bark or soil. Water approximately once a week in summer and about once every ten days in the winter. To avoid sun burns, keep in partial sun and medium shade.


Generation 1

    Cymbidium ensifolium × Cymbidium Enid Haupt

Generation 2

    Cymbidium Enid Haupt = Cymbidium Diana × Cymbidium Francis Barbour

Generation 3

    Cymbidium Diana = Cymbidium Veitchii × Cymbidium Pauwelsii

    Cymbidium Francis Barbour = Cymbidium Dryad × Cymbidium Maronii

Generation 4

    Cymbidium Veitchii = Cymbidium eburneum × Cymbidium lowianum

    Cymbidium Pauwelsii = Cymbidium insigne × Cymbidium lowianum

    Cymbidium Dryad = Cymbidium insigne × Cymbidium parishii

    Cymbidium Maronii = Cymbidium hookerianum × Cymbidium mastersii  






Cymbidium Golden Elf "Sundust"



A miniature Mericlone that is fragrant.



SOURCE: Orchid Wiki  


Blue Nanta

Ancestral Species Percentages


Family Tree



SOURCE: Blue Nanta




Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Advanced DiscussionCymbidium Golden Elf 'Sundust' HELP!


Cym. Golden Elf 'Sundust' are the only two plants I have that don't do ANYTHING! I take good care of all of my orchids, but I can't get my Cymbidiums to bloom. They just develop small, pathetic new growths all year long, and then just start new growths when the old ones mature. I leave them outside until the nights are cool in the fall, give them excellent light and fertilizer, water regularly... and I can't get them to bloom to save my life. I just use them as grassy decorative plants anymore, I've nearlly given up! Why is this supposedly easy hybrid giving me such problems, while every other orchid in my collection flourishes?!?!?! What tricks work for eveybody? PLEASE HELP!!!!

Hi , these do not need cool Temps. I grow mine with the Catts. indoors all year . The Golden Elf has 4 spikes this year . They want to be very pot bound don't do them a favor by re potting only when the pot if plastic is ready to split , I had to re pot mine it did not bloom last year because of the re potting . Gin

Mine is in a tall, narrow tin pot and hasn't been repotted in several years. Here in Arkansas, it has just finished blooming. It lives outside until the night temps drop to around 45 F degrees. Then it goes in the greenhouse where low temps average 55F. It is a dependable and reliable bloomer and I don't pay much attention to the temps it gets other than keeping it frost free.

I will reaffirm much of what has been said:

  • While Cym. Golden Elf is touted as a "warmth tolerant" cymbidium, I find it to prefer warmer growing conditions.
  • I grow them fairly bright - sort of "cattleya conditions".
  • They like deep roots, so tall pots are preferred to squat ones.
  • They have very thick roots, so need a very coarse medium.
  • They are also quite thirsty and hungry, so the coarse medium implies it needs to be watered a lot.

I grow mine in semi-hydroponics and they love it. My specimen in in a pot 18" in diameter and 24" tall, and has bloomed three times since April. The biggest show had 12 spikes.

In So. California they grew best up in hanging baskets, about 2 feet from 80% shade cloth. Lots of spikes and lots of flowers, many flowering twice during the year.

I used a fine bark and perlite mix. They got a lot of water and grew quite well with several L. anceps baskets. The ones that I grew on benches just grew, which at that smaller stage is what I was after. Temps as high as 105 and low as 26 did not bother them. The shade cloth protected them from the 26 degrees, I don't think it got under 32 under the shadecloth. Low temps in So Calif are only for 2 to 3 hours in the morning, wasn't enough to bother them.

They make great basket plants and when they were all blooming the fragrance was terrific.

I find "Golden Elf" to be one of the easiest of all cymbidiums to bloom. It does need bright light 50% or more. Unlike Cattleyas, cymbidiums should not be allowed to dry out - if your are growing with cats - the cymbidium needs more water! It is a warm grower and is reliable for almost everyone here in NE Florida. Fertilize heavy during the growing season " I use Nutracote 12-3-15-7-2 on mine. It is a 180 day controlled release fertilizer. Whatever you use you do not need high phosphorus (the 2nd Number) I apply a tablespoon full per gal pot in late December. I apply it again in June.

The 7 and 2 are calcium and Magnesium - both are needed by cymbidiums. I grow outside year round in NE Florida but mist continously iif it gets below freezing. Golden Elf is said by some not to be too tolerant of freezing temperatures but have not experience a problem myself.


The entire discussion, including a reply that includes some serious technical fertilizer calculations can be viewed by click this link .





Cymbidium Golden Elf is a hybrid of Cym. ensifolium x Cym. Enid Haupt, the fragrant flowers are produced in late summer. This is an easy to grow plant and is heat tolerant. Bloom in August-September.

SOURCE: Tropical World Nursery .




Cymbidium Golden Elf 'Sundust', HCC/AOS
(Golden Elf = Cymbidium ensifolium X Cymbidium Enid Haupt)
The most famous and free-blooming of the heat tolerant Cymbidiums. This mildly fragrant, golden-yellow alba miniature is so floriferous it first bloomed while still in its flask!Temperature Tolerant. August - September blooming.

SOURCE: Santa Barbara Orchid Estate .


et cetera



Clicking on the orchid names below will open a new window from the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, where these orchids can be purchased, if available. (Photos: Santa Barbara Orchid Estate)

Cymbidium Chens Ruby 'Gold Tiger'

Cymbidium Enzan Summer 'Sunlight'

Cymbidium Gladys Whitesell 'The Charmer'


Cymbidium Golden Elf 'Sundust', HCC/AOS


Cymbidium Kusuda Fantasy 'Carioca'


Cymbidium Nonna 'Goldilocks', AM/AOS,


I would like to thank Vinton B., NVOS Plant Doctor, for gifting me this delightful yellow orchid. 

format completed
Read 59504 times Last modified on Sunday, 20 December 2015 21:17

People in this conversation

  • CB
  • Reply for William and all others interested
  • William Storm
  • Guest - CB

    Just a note on osmocote.

    I was taught that osmocote releases too quickly and irregularly for orchids and other plants not planted in soil. It can burn roots So I have never used it..

    Nutricote (also sold as Dynamite) does not hurt orchids.

    Due to new distributors it is getting harder to find. There are often sellers on e-bay but I haven't found a source for 25+ pound bags as in days of yore.

    Romeo's (Half Moon Bay) slow release seems a good choice substitute for nutricote for cyms. I've been using that. I save the nutricote for other orchids than cyms as it is scarcer.


    (William, don't worry about investing in the Osmocote as per this advanced growers decades of orchid tending speak for itself)

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by host
    0 Like Short URL:
  • Guest - Reply for William and all others interested

    I just bought a tetraploid version of Golden Elf 'Sundust'. I have been feeding my other cymbidium with a high middle number Mirace Gro...if I remember correctly. I just got the Golden Elf, so maybe I can purchase the Osmocote when I have some money.

    The "tetraploid" factor is more an identification that during hybridization the resulting progeny picked up the extra chromosome. I am sure if you compare side by side the Cym. Golden Elf to your other Cymbidium orchids they look the same - leaf, bulbs and roots - the biggest difference might be be in the bloom. The genetics of hybridization is well above my pay grade but - I think I can toss this question to an AOS judge I know and see if I can get a "human-ees" explanation.

    "...when I have money"

    I hear you on that. I been a firm believer of splitting supply costs. When I use to deal with organic bark I would plan out in January what I needed for the year, and then get with one of my orchid growing contacts and we combine our order and if a third person wishes to join us, no problem. Splitting the cost of a 25 pound bag of bark three ways has its benefits. I have also been known to volunteer with an orchid vendor and in exchange for a day or two, I be offered enough orchid bark to satisfy my needs. It does no have to be a vendor. If you are involved with a local society ask those experienced growers if they need help with their hundreds of orchids and in return, you learn a great deal working aside them and that knowledge is free, but you earned those supplies. in exchange for helping them. Perhaps someone you know does not need a full package of Osmocote and you can split the cost. I go through a bottle every year, and I suspect next year as my Catasetinae collection has more then doubled in number - I need more then one bottle per growing year.

    Miracle Gro, according to my package is 30-10-10. The Osomocote is balanced 14-14-14. I also use SUPERthive.

    I have one Golden Elf. It has never bloomed for me. I am more a Catasetinae person (sister to the Cymbidium) and both are of the Cymbidea grouping.

    I have been told that the Golden Elf, even tho "heat tolerant", appreciates a cool spell ( around 60-degrees at night) for about a week. Well living in northern California, depending upon local environmental factors, I might go through days near a hundred degrees but sure don't cool down to that magic number at night. Add to the fact that this summer we have had more smoky days then bright clear days.

    This Golden Elf was given to me by one of my Orchid Gurus before he unexpectedly passed. Thus is the reason I treasure it. What started a few years ago as a plant with 4 or 5 bulbs thrived in a typical pot with organic bark to the point where it needed to be repotted (the one gallon pot was starting to bulge is a good sign it time to repot.).

    I ended up with 5 divisions (each having no less then 5 bulbs for support and a few miscellaneous back bulbs, or which one is actually showing 2 new growths.

    I am experimenting and I have no reason to believe this will not be successful - I repotted in clay pellets, not bark. The Golden Elf prefers a larger sized medium and the roots are thick, fleshy and abundant - so the orchid is thriving and roots are developing just no blooming. Maybe next year?

    If I cannot find a specific orchid fertilizer (deep nurseries that sell more then just the Phal. might also stock various ferts like GrowMore or similar. They come in at least 3 variances for blooming, root growth and of course leaf development.

    I was unable to acquire in person that name brand fert so I was suck with the "orchid fertilizer" from MiracleGro.

    I mix the fert according to the directions and then I cut that three ways and then add water so I hae 3 gallons of weak fertilizer. Add no more then 5 drops of Superthrive and then mix and use.

    Be mindful, water the orchids to be fertilized deeply the day before or early the day of planned feeding (prevent root burn or shock). Remember "Less is best".

    I slow pour all around the pot the nutrient enriched water and I will go so far as to catch water in a basin or sink and then pour that water through the orchid perhaps a third time. Then the remaining water is poured on a non-orchid item. You can use that captured water on other orchids to stretch the dollar and I am sure some would scream about transmission of orchid viruses. If you are not into the competitive side of orchid growing via AOS or CSA judging, stretch those dollars. If you plan on selling (or trading) divisions, test the division for any virus contamination.

    If none of your Cymbidiums are virus-ed and you know this by testing (not cheap by the way), then reusing water on different Cymbidiums should not be an issue to the hobby grower. (I am expecting a howling at this but not everybody enjoys orchids just for judging, we grow them to enjoy them and if virus-ed the blooms be affected and in about 5 years the actual plant might die. I admit I stretch my fertilizing as much as possible, between the 5 divisions of my Golden Elf, and then I discard the remaining water. The Catasetinaes and very few non-Catasetinaes get fresh fertilizing but I stretch the fert as much as possible.


    Meanwhile I wonder if i would be better not to feed it with the high middle number? It is a mericlone seedling of blooming size and is potted in coconut chunks. It was recently repotted at the nursery and did not bloom in the main season for the grower. I'm pretty sure that it is really big enough to bloom. I was hoping for a fall to winter flush of buds.

    The Golden Elf is a mini-Cymbidium so it is compact and not a space hog. Compare size to another Cymbiium.

    Cymbidiums are one of those orchids that if re-potted (ultimately seriously disturbing the roots) at the wrong time the orchid will be deterred from blooming due to shock. Common wisdom says to look for new growth and before the new growth's roots start to grow, repot into new medium so as to not disturb the new roots.

    Common wisdom also claims that the Golden Elf prefer a chunky large bark. They are water hogs but the large chunky bark allows excess water to drain away and dry off during the day.

    Common wisdom also claims do not repot unless the orchids pot is bulging. Tight root space they say promotes blooming. So this is one of those orchids that might get extra work every two years.

    Not any of the abvoe has been proven by me but I am still playing by those rules, except instead of a organic bark, I use clay pellets.

    When does the Golden Elf reliable bloom is the magic question. Common wisdom says "late summer" and this to me translates to August thru early October - mostly because I am sitting in northern California.

    The best source for "judging history" that is free to access is below:

    What you are interested in on that second link is the month of judging results. Orchids in their peek are judged, so I noticed that the Golden Elf was judged on the West Coast of the US in September and October. Be mindful - these orchids made it past the screening gauntlet in order for judges to consider scoring it - so we have no idea how many Golden Elfs been screened out. (Judges neer seeing them) Now these judging dates are more applicable to me because of where my orchids are compared to a judging center in Florida or southern Texas, so still need to adjust for those agricultural growing zones. Australia, having reversed climates, has a record of judging in March (the southern hemisphere's late summer) and February in Hawaii. These two judging dates can be tossed out when determining the bloom period.

    It is not easy at first even for experts to distinguish a new growth from a spike. I position the pot so new growth is facing and exposed to as much light as possible. If the new growth is about 2 inches tall and has an "asparagus tip" look to it - it most likely be a spike. New growth will start showing leafs very quickly and new growth is next year's bloom potential.


    Hopefully will not have to wait until next summer.

    Ever been fishing? I cannot tell you how many times I have said "maybe next year....".


    I had a Misaki's Tears 'Starman', which I put in a pot that was too big and it got root rot and most of it has died, except for one small new growth that looks kind of "iffy"

    Been there, done that, got a t-shirt and a certificate to show off.

    I have learned by trial and error that if I suspect an orchid is in crises, do not wait until tomorrow to deal with it. Tomorrow could be too late.

    If I discover an orchid in stress, I carefully remove it and make sure the tag is always on the plant. I allow the orchid to dry (overnight is ideal).

    I then place the orchid wih a small amount of moist moss. I use the zip type glad bags and prefer as small as bag as possible. I place the moss on the bottom, the orchid kind of leaning to a side of the bag and then insert a cardboard tube from paper towels or similar item - as a chimney to allow air exchange and the moss to dry. Every few days or at least once a week I check the moss and add drops of water to barely moisten the moss but establish a miniature humid climate that the bulbs are in.

    Of my 5 various back bulb clusters and broken off single bulbs that I bagged - one already has 2 new growths on it. End of this month any rotted bubls will be ceremoniously added to the compost pile.

    The moss has only one task - slowly dry releasing moist air around he Cymbidium bulbs to promote those eyes into popping a new growth. Some say keep the bag in the dark, never worked for me, I have much more success in shaded, not to bright area, like a Tupperware container (lid off of course). If this is hidden from sight or view it can be forgotten until that day you rediscover it and not really sure what the rotted mess was to begin with. Month later you be asking yourself whatever happened to that bag?

    I know folks that use this method in reviving a possibly lost Cattleya or Dendrobium by keeping he bag on the north side of the greenhouse (if applicable) but down low so as to not get sunburned. In a few short weeks - new growth should be visible. It took about a month for the image below to show proof. Since these were all bagged at he same time, if one popped, and the others have not - then they might not ever pop. At least I got one vibrant back bulb to sprout and one is more than none.

    Once you have completed the first round of what I like to call "the Snoopy Super Time Dance" of happiness that your on your way to revive a Cymbidium back bulb - the work is not done. All you spotted was new growth. Roots will follow in time. The new growth is being supported by nutrients in the bulb it is attached to. That bulb will shrink over time - but do not disturb it too much.

    Continue with the barely moist moss bag process until roots develop. Once roots are about an inch in length, perhaps 2 inches be better - then you can actually dip the orchid in water for a minute and set aside to dry. Keep it bare rooted for a few more months. Once the roots are about three inches in length and the new growth leaves start to spread, it be ready for that first potting in the smallest pot possible. It is still not out of danger yet. Vigilance in monitoring its progress will help sustain it.

    You mention drowning and rotted roots on this and I suspect the bark too small and it reained water or not enough drainage holes on the bottom. I been known to use a soldering iron and making more holes for drainage. Water should isit orchid roots, not get comfy taking space.


    Don't know if it's a new growth lead, which would be best, or a flower spike, which if I let it bloom I suspect might be the grand finale for the plant.

    True - orchids that know they are facing a last chance effort for surial, will bloom in stress. Makes sense as they ae suffering rot or dying roots that pollinated seed be a last ditch effort to survive and continue, or face extinction.

    Flowering is a huge energy drain on an orchid. If the bulbs look and feel firm, no smell of dead rot, and more then one bulb, it might handle a small weak bloom, but then require a rest afterwards. If the bulbs smell of dead rot, feel squishy hen might be a tough choice to wait out the bloom and hope this is not its”grande finale” - but intermission followed by Act 2.

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by host
    0 Like Short URL:
  • Guest - William Storm

    I just bought a tetraploid version of Golden Elf 'Sundust'. I have been feeding my other cymbidium with a high middle number Mirace Gro...if I remember correctly. I just got the Golden Elf, so maybe I can purchase the Osmocote when I have some money. Meanwhile I wonder if i would be better not to feed it with the high middle number? It is a mericlone seedling of blooming size and is potted in coconut chunks. It was recently repotted at the nursery and did not bloom in the main season for the grower. I'm pretty sure that it is really big enough to bloom. I was hoping for a fall to winter flush of buds.
    Hopefully will not have to wait until next summer.
    I had a Misaki's Tears 'Starman', which I put in a pot that was too big and it got root rot and most of it has died, except for one small new growth that looks kind of "iffy"
    Don't know if it's a bew growth lead, which would be best, or a flower spike, which if I let it bloom I suspect might be the grand finale for the plant.


    William, if you can e-mail me at I be happy to answer via e-mail in more detail then I can here.

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by host
    0 Like Short URL:

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.


All information presented here is for educational and informational purposes only under the guidelines of "Fair Use" policies defined by US Copyright law(s).  Some images and select text are protected by respective copyright holders. Material presented here is done so as educational, and "as is".  The Napa Valley Orchid Society, it's executive Board, General members and the web site maintainer cannot be held liable for any damages incurred.

When necessary, images and texts will be fully credited to the original.

Information here may be used by other orchid societies as long as they credit the original creator and at least mention the Napa Valley Orchid Website as a courtesy.