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Dividing Cattleya orchids -- backbulbs?

This is a discussion on Dividing Cattleya orchids -- backbulbs? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; In the ongoing saga of my little Half-ID "Bronze Beauty" who may also be Guaricattonia ...

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  1. #1
    Kassie's Avatar
    Kassie is offline Senior Member
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    Default Dividing Cattleya orchids -- backbulbs?

    In the ongoing saga of my little Half-ID "Bronze Beauty" who may also be Guaricattonia Lawless Gloriana, I must admit to several rookie errors. I certainly didn't start off on the right foot when I cracked off her tag and next-to-bloom growth. Somewhere in there, I sunburned her, causing several leaves to drop.

    When it came time to divide and repot, I totally lost my nerve when I saw the gnarly, knotted mess of lava rock she was potted in and just drop-potted the whole thing in bark mix. The plant just did not look happy and the only new growth was coming up smack in the center of the whole mess--clearly no room for the rhizome. About a month later, I decided to man up and hack it. And hack it, I did!

    Of course, it had suffered some root loss since my first sorry attempt at repotting. I couldn't find the ends of the rhizome--it had grown in a spiral around the pot, I think.



    After my first cut, you can see the new growth just to the right of my thumb.


    Second cut:


    There were six leafless backbulbs with surprisingly good roots.


    The other half of that piece had five good growths and a developing eye (smack in the center of the pic).


    I ended up with 4 pieces. They all had at least 4 growths. One division had a new growth and the other two had developing eyes (I think).


    I wasn't sure what to do with the leafless backbulbs. I know some people throw them away but this was supposed to be a practice plant for me and they had pretty decent roots, so I wanted to see what I could make of them. I've been reading a blog about developing an orchid collection from backbulbs, but I didn't get a clear idea there how I should treat these, so I just stuck them in a pot with bark mix and threw them back in with the herd. Should I be treating them differently? Is there anything I can do to them to stimulate development?

    While my little dividelings were convalescing from my hack job, their mom paid them a visit.

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    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Kassie, Looks like you did a GREAT job this time! The only mistake that I can see.. is that you haven't sent me my division yet! LOL! Just joking. Betty :-)

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    Ha Ha, Betty! Thanks for the vote of confidence. My sister has already run off with one of the divisions and one of the other orchid club members mentioned lusting after it at the sale, so I offered him a piece. The backbulbs have not been spoken for, though, so if they survive, they can be yours!

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    Great pictures Trish, thanks for sharing. Best of luck with the backbulbs. Fingers crossed. Too bad you can't send any to me here in Oz.Name:  banana.gif
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    The younger divisions look great.

    Check out this info about cattleya backbulb growing:
    Reviving Cattleya Backbulbs

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    Scrubber is offline Senior Member
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    An old trick is to divide the plant while it is in the original pot but try to have at least four canes in each 'forward' division.

    Wait until the back bulbs are showing root growth and a new shoot before unpotting it and breaking it up.

    Scrubber

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    Thanks, Annette. It's a great plant. If you can find GTNA (?) Why Not offspring in Oz, you should try one-- they seem very forgiving.

    John, I remember reading that article over a shot of whiskey the first time I repotted this plant. Should have had another shot. I have a lot of difficulty figuring out if there are eyes until they are actually swelling with growth. I do have a dendrobium backbulb that fell off during a repot that had a curious green dot at the bottom, so I dropped it in a tiny cup of sphag and set that in a baggie and now 3 months later I have a 6cm growth that just started sending out roots. But I just examined the bronze beauty backbulbs again and I honestly can't see anything that looks like an eye. I guess we'll wait and see.

    Scrubber, I like that idea--sounds similar to something I read about notching a rhizome to encourage a new lead. It would have been a trick with this overgrown plant in its lava rock, but it certainly would have been less traumatic than all my fussing. It is something I would certainly be willing to try on my next practice round.

    Thanks all.

  8. #8
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    Kassie--the only time I have propagated a catt-type from backbulbs it took forever to show growth. Be patient, and hopefully you will be rewarded!

    Kathi

  9. #9
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    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Looks like you were very successful in your divisions. Good work.

    cheers,
    BD

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    Wow--I will be doing something like this myself, soon. I have read on multiple sites that it is a good idea to go ahead and make the cuts to the rhizome before trying to repot, and that one should wait to see new growth. I will be posting soon if I can--mine is a beautiful plant, but a big mess as well! I went ahead and bought a spare that does not need to be divided.

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