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2nd time sheath dried out

This is a discussion on 2nd time sheath dried out within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have an Slc. Ken Dream 'Dogashima' growing in s/h. I was thrilled to get ...

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  1. #1
    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Default 2nd time sheath dried out

    I have an Slc. Ken Dream 'Dogashima' growing in s/h. I was thrilled to get a sheath sometime last year, but it dried out without blooming. So I was very happy to see a new sheath a few months ago. (It has been growing outside since mid-May). A new growth also opened up a few weeks ago with a sheath showing. Now the sheath that I expected to produce buds any day now has also dried up. I am left with that new, 3rd sheath, but not a lot of hope for that one either!

    What could I do differently and why might 2 consecutive sheaths have dried up without blooming?

  2. #2
    Karen is offline Junior Member
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    Many cattleya types bloom from dried up sheets, usually the spring bloomers. The first time I get a plant to make a sheet it usually doesnt make flower, but the next year it does.

    I dont know your specific plant, but no reason to say you have failed again. Is the plant otherwize in good growth?

  3. #3
    LJA's Avatar
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    Hi Cind, when you say you're growing that in S/H outside, are you really? I ask because unless you're keeping the reservoir topped off, it's not really S/H, and outside in the sumer breezes, water evaporates from those pots pretty darned fast.

    If you really are keeping the reservoir topped off and the roots are staying constantly damp, that's not the best way to grow Catts. Under those kinds of conditions, they'll "do awesome" for the first couple months because of the initial rush of constant nutrients and water, and then they'll slack off and end up doing poorly.

    If you're not keeping the reservoir topped off, then the roots are getting a chance to dry off between waterings, which is good, (and not S/H at all), and which means the problem is more than like likely a light and fertilizer issue: not enough light for the amount of fertilizer (which generates green growth like crazy at the expense of flowers) or fertilizer that's too high in nitrogen (which can do the same thing) or fertilizing haphazardly (which can trick the plant into "thinking" it's getting the proper conditions to bloom, but then aborting when those conditions turn out to only be temporary).

    Are the sheaths drying up tiny, flat, and immature looking? If they are, then the plant needs more light and a regular, weekly (at least) fertilizing schedule that you keep up during active growth.

    Try moving the plant to a different location, somewhere it can still get high enough "Cattleya" light but during a different time of the day. If you're growing this one in the shade on a porch or something, it's going to give you great-looking leaves and pseudobulbs, but you're not going to get any flowers, or if you do, they'll be weak, spindly, and shrunken.

  4. #4
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    Who can argue with ? I especially agree with the too much water problem. I don't grow anything S/H, and many of my larger Catts are in lava rock, and love it. They really need to dry off. I would say that on young plants I have about 50% success on sheaths producing buds. On mature plants it goes up to about 90%. But I always have a couple of stinkers - different ones every year or they would get the heave ho -. I have somewhere between 9 and 12 Catts with various stage sheaths right now, and only 2 are showing buds. Most are young and I only expect a few will actually bloom. One, a Chun Yeah, has had a sheath for about 4 months, all yellow and ugly, and it showed buds just last week.

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    Karen is offline Junior Member
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    Except for Laelia purpurata and a few other species, we grow all our cattleya and allies in greenmix (rockwool), which essentially is s/h. They are all constantly wet, and all mature plants bloom every year. Light and temperature differential seems to be what did it for us.

    Cinderella, do you have other cattleya types which you are able to bloom?

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    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Well....I have been keeping the reservoir topped off but I have flowered a couple of other Catts in s/h. Honestly, I have only been growing 2 years and I have only bloomed 7 or 8 'chids on my own. The first year I overwatered everything and it took me a while to get the hang which is why I mostly went to s/h. The sheaths that dry up are not really small. I will try to take a picture this weekend; the plant has always been very yellow-greenish since I got it but I know that can be ok....

  7. #7
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    Well, with any kind of hybrid you're trying to grow that's not doing well, your best bet for clues is to look to its species ancestry, find out the best all around conditions for those, and then try to mimic them.

    Here's what we've got for Ken Dream: On the pod parent side, Lc Persepolis:

    C. gaskelliana

    C. warscewiczii

    C. labiata

    L. purpurata

    C. dowiana

    C. trianaei


    And for the pollen parent, Sc. Beaufort:

    Sophronitis coccinea

    C. luteola


    S. coccinea grows along a stretch of coast in Brazil, high up on cliffs, where night time breezes wash everything with mist. They get very wet at night, then dry off during the day.

    C. luteola typically grows in shade, near streams, where the humidity hovers at around 80 - 90 percent. It's a tiny, yellow thing, and Sc. Beaufort is what "miniaturizes" the huge Catts found on the pod parent side. It's also what allows Ken Dream (among tons of other "minicatts") to tolerate less than standard Catt light.

    On the pod parent side, none of the species that go into making up Lc. Persepolis can stay constantly wet if they're going to thrive. Matter of fact, if they're given that constant wetness, many will outright die in the course of a year. They all need lots of water during active growth, very bright light (some live directly under the full, tropical sun), and exceptional air movement. Their roots have got to dry off at some point before they get water again, and this happens regularly over the course of 24 hours in their natural habitats. They all need rest periods, some before flowering, some after. Many put out two growths per year, and none can survive in a medium that's soggy or conditions that are too humid, too hot, or too stale.

    What this tells me as a grower of Ken Dream, is that I can expect a plant that will more than likely bloom twice a year, can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions (but which, to do best, should be kept within a rather narrow range of temps between 55 and 85 F), and whose roots, to respect the needs of every single species but one that make it up, must be allowed to dry off not only between waterings, but also for a month or two after the season's growth has come to an end. During the rest period, Ken Dream should be watered just enough to keep the PBs from shrivelling.

    That's how I grow them here, and other than the odd growth now and then that sheaths but never produces buds (which, by the way, happens to every grower), Ken Dream does great for me.

    Look to see what you're doing differently than what the species in the plant's heritage require, then change that aspect of your growing to make it coincide better. That's really all anyone can possibly do.

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    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks that is a great response; I guess I will have to change the growing conditions.

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    I have one of the Ken's Dreams from RVO, and it is practically jumping out of the pot. I received it a couple weeks ago - it had 3 sheaths (no bud visible yet) and EIGHT new growths. I suspect that with that much growth going on, it may not throw any buds this time, but it should be quite a show in spring with all those new growths ready to bloom. I continue to grow it under the conditions that Louis described.

  10. #10
    LJA's Avatar
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    Thanks Diane...

    Cind, no problem. They're actually pretty easy--I might have made them sound like more of an issue than they really are...

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