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Cattleya: Should it Ever be Divided

This is a discussion on Cattleya: Should it Ever be Divided within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello all, My collection of cattleyas including Blc. Lc. etc. has grow; can't wait for ...

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    Default Cattleya: Should it Ever be Divided

    Hello all,

    My collection of cattleyas including Blc. Lc. etc. has grow; can't wait for them to spike. At this point, I have only three that I would even put into the category of considering dividing. One, is a good candidate, though.

    My question, I have no reason to divide any at this time, but what factors would cause me to consider divisions; possibly just to have a spare? The one that is definitely on my mind is a reacent purchase; Blc. young Kong. It is big enough to be divided.

    Thanks!
    Chris

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    Depending on how many canes the plant has & container size would determine if dividing is required. The bigger the plant, the better it flowers, as a broad statement. I have a number of Catts & I prefer to back-cut the plant to get leads from the older section. I wait till the plant requires!!! repotting then I have ready made plants rather than waiting to have them establish again. Regardless ( in most cases), the more you leave them alone, the better they are. This can alter if you have "perfect" growing conditions.

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    Roy, tell me more about "back-cutting." Is that when you take the oldest 4 or 5 leaves on a Catt, cut it and immediatly repot? Or, is that taking the oldest leaves,cut, and repot at a later date?

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    Roy has given very sound advice. On healthy, disease-free back bulbs , I normally leave the backcuts in the original pots. This will cause less shock to the plant, and keikis form faster on the back bulbs. Another bonus is that, this will allow a nice clump to form with multiple leads ( and a good excuse for being too lazy to repot).

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    When to divide is often a matter of personal preference. Large specimen-sized plants tend to put on much better "shows" as you potentially have that many more leads to produce flowers. However, they also take up much more room. Keeping in mind I grow minicatts and compact catts, I typically divide when they out grow a 4-5" pot. There are a few exceptions but only a few for me. I simply do not have the space for monster sized plants and I like to have a variety of different flowers. So once the plant outgrows the space I've allotted it, it gets divided and the division gets sold or traded for something else I want.

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    Very informative thread, thanks!

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    Yew has really answered the question but I look at the plant, I decideif the back half on the plant is healthy & leave at least 3 canes then cut. Provided there are 3 - 4 canes on the newer side of that cut. Under that is a worry.
    Here is a pic of one of my bigger plants, it has 4 sheaths, was 5 but one of the canes snapped off. I haven't back cut it yet either. Its in an 8 inch pot.


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    what does it look like when a cattleya sprouts a new leaf/sheath?

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    A slight different take on back cutting, I gleaned from another grower, use it to force the plant to create new leads on a no so prolific grower as well, except that instead of having cut all the way through the rhizome like stem only go half to 3/4 leaving it slightly attached and will have a similar effect of starting older back bulb eyes to make leads. These cuts would go where you'd normally make divisions. It's a bit of a cheat, if you ever plan to show or have it judged it still is technically 1 whole plant.
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    The sheath, look on left side of pic, there is a pale green segment standing straight up, this is a sheath.
    A new growth comes from the base of the cane like a green finger. In the centre of the pic is a maturing new growth.

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