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inducing a male catasetum spike

This is a discussion on inducing a male catasetum spike within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; it is well known that catasetum male flowers are form under lower lighting conditions while ...

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  1. #1
    catasetum-ian's Avatar
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    Default inducing a male catasetum spike

    it is well known that catasetum male flowers are form under lower lighting conditions while the female are formed under brighter growing conditions. for decades growers had been moving plants to heavier shades area to induce male flower, either for id purpose or to enjoy male blooms for the female are considered "ugly" to most orchid growers.

    however moving a plant to heavier shade sometimes carries some risk if they were to be moved to a too heavily shade area and later was forgotten to be moved back out under the sun. it is suggested in literature that some used aluminium foil and mold it into a shape of a cap to block the light to a developing spike. i modified the method, using a polystyrene cube and then bore a hole in the center. the polystyrene cube is about three inches in length and nearly about 2cm in diameter. the advantage of this method compared to the aluminium foil is it is almost weightless and does not carries the risk of damaging the spike due to heat conduction.
    this method provide shade to the developing spike without diminishing the plant of its light. i had tried this a couple of times and basically it works all the time. but bear in mind that it is easier to induce a male than a female and it you are experience enough to spot a developing female spike before the buds appear (usually the spike is with a more erected position for non erected spike species and the diameter is larger), you will induce hermaphrodites.

    the polystyrene cap was apply to the spike the moment it can hold the poly-cap. i sometimes used a smaller cap, about half the size to had a earlier cap to the spike and later change to the custom size cap.

    i specially dedicate this to Yew Sung, you can now try it on the catasetum plant of yours that flowered many females but the last time it did grow a male spike but the spike was broken due to thuderstorm. hopefully we will see the beautiful male during its next flowering season
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  2. #2
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    Very innovative ian. thanks for sharing the same

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    Simple but ingenious, Ian ! Thanks - will try this.

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    Lizgeo is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you, Ian. I have one catesetum, and is about to pick a couple of more next weekend. I will keep this in mind when mine starts to spike.

  5. #5
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    Ian -- for those who opt to try this approach --

    1) How long should the tube/cap be left on the spike?
    2) As the spike elongates, should the tube be repositioned towards the growing tip?

  6. #6
    catasetum-ian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavel View Post
    Ian -- for those who opt to try this approach --

    1) How long should the tube/cap be left on the spike?
    2) As the spike elongates, should the tube be repositioned towards the growing tip?
    the tube is left until the buds begin to form and the tube need not be repositioned as the spike elongates because the tube is light enough and it will always be at the tip of the spike (the tube is bored about two third of its length only)

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    Quote Originally Posted by catasetum-ian View Post
    the tube is left until the buds begin to form and the tube need not be repositioned as the spike elongates because the tube is light enough and it will always be at the tip of the spike (the tube is bored about two third of its length only)
    Thanks for the extra info. So when do I remove the cap?

    ---------- Post Merged at 06:55 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by catasetum-ian View Post
    the tube is left until the buds begin to form and the tube need not be repositioned as the spike elongates because the tube is light enough and it will always be at the tip of the spike (the tube is bored about two third of its length only)
    Thanks for the extra info. So when do I remove the cap?

  8. #8
    catasetum-ian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catttan View Post
    Thanks for the extra info. So when do I remove the cap?

    ---------- Post Merged at 06:55 PM ----------

    you may remove the cap once the flower bud begins to form, by then the sex of the flower would be apparent. for catasetums with arching to pendant spike, the cap will fall off by itself when the spike elongates.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by catasetum-ian View Post
    the tube need not be repositioned as the spike elongates because the tube is light enough and it will always be at the tip of the spike (the tube is bored about two third of its length only)
    AHHH! I thought it had been bored all the way through! Good to know and I'm glad I asked.

    No issues with molds/fungi being that there would be little to no air circulation inside the tube?

    Any issues with a strong breeze snapping off a spike as it blows the tube off?

    For that matter, any issues with wind blowing the tube off?

    I take it you haven't seen any problems with the spike getting sunburned after you remove the tube?

  10. #10
    catasetum-ian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavel View Post
    AHHH! I thought it had been bored all the way through! Good to know and I'm glad I asked.

    No issues with molds/fungi being that there would be little to no air circulation inside the tube?

    Any issues with a strong breeze snapping off a spike as it blows the tube off?

    For that matter, any issues with wind blowing the tube off?

    I take it you haven't seen any problems with the spike getting sunburned after you remove the tube?
    1. the reason to left the other end intact is to prevent light from getting to the spike, low light condition favors male spike development.

    2. so far no issue with spike rot for me with this technique

    3. i had not experience any issue with the spike being snap off due to strong wind, this might be due to the relatively weightless polystyrene,

    4. none had been blown with the wind so far, until you mentioned it, it did not came across my mind that wind might blow it off. but they survived the thunderstorm two days ago....haha

    5. this is one of the very reason why i resorted to this material instead of what had been suggested in the very initial place, the aluminium foil. polystrene is a poor heat conductor, thus i am very sure sunburn will not be an issue.

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