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Help! Got my first Cattleya orchids...what to do?

This is a discussion on Help! Got my first Cattleya orchids...what to do? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Two cattleya seedlings that I've been waiting for just arrived, but I'm a bit confused. ...

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    Exclamation Help! Got my first Cattleya orchids...what to do?

    Two cattleya seedlings that I've been waiting for just arrived, but I'm a bit confused. They appear to be potted in sphag. I thought catts needed a non-moisture-retaining media.

    They're only in 2" plastic pots, so I imagine they will dry out fairly fast, but still...

    Should I repot the seedlings into the media my other sun-lovers like (bark for dendrobiums and LECA pellets or pellet/bark mix for vandas?)

    Also, should I give them a few days to acclimate to their new home or put them immediately in the sunny window with the other sun-lovers?

    Thanks...these are my first Catts, so I'm lost here.

    Thanks everybody!!
    :

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    Seedlings don't have the water storing capabilities of mature cattleyas with large pseudobulbs. Mature cattleyas like fast drying medium but smaller cattleyas should be grown in a medium that holds a little more moisture. Sphagnum is fine if you're confident about growing in it. I have problems with sphagnum so I like a mix of fine fir bark or fine coconut husk chips with a little sponge rock and charcoal. Don't plant seedlings in the same mix that you use for large plants. They need a finer mix. Growing cattleyas from seedlings can be an exercise in frustration because they often take a couple years to get to blooming size. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker85 View Post
    Seedlings don't have the water storing capabilities of mature cattleyas with large pseudobulbs. Mature cattleyas like fast drying medium but smaller cattleyas should be grown in a medium that holds a little more moisture. Sphagnum is fine if you're confident about growing in it. I have problems with sphagnum so I like a mix of fine fir bark or fine coconut husk chips with a little sponge rock and charcoal. Don't plant seedlings in the same mix that you use for large plants. They need a finer mix. Growing cattleyas from seedlings can be an exercise in frustration because they often take a couple years to get to blooming size. Good luck.
    A couple of years? Haha, more like upwards to 6-7!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker85 View Post
    Seedlings don't have the water storing capabilities of mature cattleyas with large pseudobulbs. Mature cattleyas like fast drying medium but smaller cattleyas should be grown in a medium that holds a little more moisture. Sphagnum is fine if you're confident about growing in it. I have problems with sphagnum so I like a mix of fine fir bark or fine coconut husk chips with a little sponge rock and charcoal. Don't plant seedlings in the same mix that you use for large plants. They need a finer mix. Growing cattleyas from seedlings can be an exercise in frustration because they often take a couple years to get to blooming size. Good luck.
    Thanks Jeff! That makes sense, and it also explains why my big dendrobiums weren't happy in the same fine media as my dendrobium seedlings.

    Anyway, I am not a fan of sphag in general, but with these little ones I can work with it for the time being. I don't want to traumatize them too much, since they just got out of their shipping box.

    Should I put them right in the window or give them a few days of moderate light to adjust? They were shipped in their pots, so they don't need to rehydrate or anything.

    Yeah, I know most orchid seedlings take a couple of years...this was sort of an "impulse buy..." I saw the blooms and fell in love. I may have to buy myself some blooming Catts to tide me over until these do something!

    Thanks for the great advice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sand_tiger86 View Post
    A couple of years? Haha, more like upwards to 6-7!
    Oh $&^@!!! Seriously? That. SUCKS. So they'll bloom when my son is 12? I can't even comprehend that. What have I done?!

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    Don't freak out too much. You just now have an excuse to buy a blooming one. But I've heard of a few blooming early if they are happy so you never know. As for the sun I've read that they don't need to take the adult sun as yet, let them adjust over a few weeks and keep an eye on them for burns and lightening or darkening of the leaves. Can't wait for pics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dazed View Post
    Don't freak out too much. You just now have an excuse to buy a blooming one. But I've heard of a few blooming early if they are happy so you never know. As for the sun I've read that they don't need to take the adult sun as yet, let them adjust over a few weeks and keep an eye on them for burns and lightening or darkening of the leaves. Can't wait for pics.
    Thanks, Tamara, for the encouragement. I do feel a bit stupid...I probably should have done my research on how long it takes a Catt to bloom from seedling size. Ah, well, they'll be glorious when my son's in high school, anyway.

    And thanks for addressing the sun issue. I've noticed a little bit of sunburn starting on my dendrobium seedlings (which were residing along side the big guys), and I was concerned that these baby Catts might not take the adult sun very well either. Thanks for confirming my gut feeling.

    As for pics, can you wait 6-7 years? Because, um, apparently that's what it's going to be...

    LOL!!

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    Well, here's the picture that made me snatch these little guys up without any research on them at all... I just couldn't help it... such a pretty bloom!! Perhaps I'll Photoshop the bloom onto some generic pic of a catt and pretend it's my plant. Pbbbbbtttttt...

    Name:  cattleya.jpg
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    It is a beautiful plant, Jenn. You made a good purchase even if it is just a baby. Besides, 6-7 years is a little gloom and doom I'll admit. I've heard of Catts. blooming whenever they feel like it (be it later than that, or much much earlier) depending on how much they like your conditions. It also depends on parentage, the type of Catt. (uni or bifoliate) etc. Lots of factors. I guess we have to remember that orchids take so "long" to bloom because they can live to be over 100 years old. They don't ever really "die" if given the proper care, so 6 years to blooming size is nothing to the plant in the grand scheme of its life cycle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sand_tiger86 View Post
    It is a beautiful plant, Jenn. You made a good purchase even if it is just a baby. Besides, 6-7 years is a little gloom and doom I'll admit. I've heard of Catts. blooming whenever they feel like it (be it later than that, or much much earlier) depending on how much they like your conditions. It also depends on parentage, the type of Catt. (uni or bifoliate) etc. Lots of factors. I guess we have to remember that orchids take so "long" to bloom because they can live to be over 100 years old. They don't ever really "die" if given the proper care, so 6 years to blooming size is nothing to the plant in the grand scheme of its life cycle.
    Awww, Kelly...did this thread bring out the optimist in you? Well, then there was something good about my purchase (besides the beautiful blooms I'll get someday).

    Thanks for the encouraging words. The seller said it was a cross of very high quality--very distinguished parentage--and that they were expecting some "award-winners" out of the batch. Who knows...maybe by the time this thing blooms I'll be so far gone on orchids that I'll be attending conventions and trying for prizes. Then it would have been a REALLY good purchase, made at just the right time. So, ya know, s'okay.



    And this is supposedly a smaller plant than most catts...it's an "intermedia," which apparently doesn't grow as big as others, so maybe it's farther along than I think it is.

    Perhaps I overreacted a teensy bit... hehee...

    It's just...you hear "7 years" and you freak out a tad. If I had a greenhouse it would be all good, but I'm working with limited space, so nursing along two plants that just aren't doing anything will be very frustrating. I can tolerate 2 years...even 3...I have a Bellina var. Blue that's so tiny it will probably bloom around the time of Armageddon (at least it will give me something pretty to look at while we're all being destroyed by flaming comets and $8^&), but 7 years is just a little long to wait.

    But perhaps you're right and the catts will bloom sooner. I will count on their "distinguished parentage" and smaller stature to bring them to early bloom. In the meantime, I'll send them some happy vibes.

    'Grow, babies, grow....'

    Meanwhile, in other OrchidAddict misadventures, the Green Lantern I ordered seems to have gotten lost in Hawaii...it's being shuttled back and forth between two different sorting facilities, but not being shipped to the mainland. So I guess I should just be thankful that my two "award winners" showed up healthy, happy, and quickly! LOL!

    It's nice to hear you say something positive....but it's freaking me out a tad. You can go back to threatening to kick your orchids off the balcony and complaining about how intermediate growers are pissy little bastards now.


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