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Question about cattleya culture

This is a discussion on Question about cattleya culture within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I thought before I went and bothered my local nursery, I would ask around and ...

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  1. #1
    Cjcorner's Avatar
    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    Default Question about cattleya culture

    I thought before I went and bothered my local nursery, I would ask around and see if I could figure out some problems I'm having with a few of my floofie types.
    Primarily, the large floofies, take C. Kodama for example.... I can get these large cattleya's to grow, some even begin producing sheaths, but then weird things start happening. On my Kodama cross the canes are so thin that they fall over and then stop growing normally. I have a few stunted canes with strange p-bulbs that tried to sheath but the sheath stayed small and never developed buds. I have this problem with a dozen or so of the Blc.'s. A straight Laelia usually thrives here, so what am I doing wrong? Their light is at the top levels, I cut my watering to where they have started really putting out roots, upped my feeding schedules....still Nada! I tortured a red Owen Holmes cross, stopped watering but once every4-5 days when it's dry as can be and got a twisted weird thing I didn't know whether it was leaf or sheath. After 3 months or so I finally untwisted it and it kinda looks like a bud but could be a secondary sheath.
    My feeding routine...usually week 1 is bloom buster, week two I add fish emulsion to the first....week 3 gets the orchid stuff with nitrogen for the plants in wood....week 4 a good thorough watering with a rain nozzle until everything is drenched and cleaned off. I used to do foliar feedings until I started loosing plants from it. I have a small fan for airmovement on super hot days.....
    Help!! What am I doing wrong???? Do the Blc. hybrids like it shaded more?
    Thanks for your suggestions....
    Connie

  2. #2
    Elitebettas's Avatar
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    What type of water are you using? Weak leggy growth is almost surely a light or nutrient problem. Are these newly acquired plants? How do the roots look? Any pics?

  3. #3
    Molly Taco's Avatar
    Molly Taco is offline Re-member WHAT ??
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    Do you think that you might what to beef up the nitrogen and back off on the bloom buster in week 2? Maybe the plants need to put a little more energy into leaf and stem production.
    Cin

  4. #4
    Cjcorner's Avatar
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    Water...usually rainwater. Except when I flush I use regular water from the hose. Light levels on the porch are pretty high. Even my Vanda's burn here if left in too much sunlight. I use potted plants for some shading... And no the ones I'm having problems with I've had at least a year now. The problem ones are mostly big floofie types. The really leggy one has Kodama in it and i've seen several Kodama crosses that are quite leggy as well. Mine though don't like to stand up after awhile. I may up the nitrogen one, but just on stuff not in sheath or bloom....I hear that messes up the blooms otherwise. I hope this works....my "Next option", banging my head against the wall may be painful. lol Its' that or start threatening them again!
    Thanks for the advice...

  5. #5
    ischel1's Avatar
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    I'd go for the threats. It always works for me. lol

  6. #6
    clintdawley's Avatar
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    I've noticed that high night temperatures cause leggy and weak growth as well, which is the problem in Texas as well as Florida.

    Some SLCs and other things would behave exactly like that when I grew them outside.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintdawley View Post
    I've noticed that high night temperatures cause leggy and weak growth as well, which is the problem in Texas as well as Florida.

    Some SLCs and other things would behave exactly like that when I grew them outside.
    That makes sense Clint. I forgot about the night temps.
    Cin

  8. #8
    wetfeet101b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintdawley View Post
    I've noticed that high night temperatures cause leggy and weak growth as well, which is the problem in Texas as well as Florida.

    Some SLCs and other things would behave exactly like that when I grew them outside.

    It may have something to do with photosynthesis in general.
    During the "light dependent" phase, the plant absorbs sunlight and water to build up the "first half" of its food ingredients.

    During the "light-independent" (formerly "dark") phase, the plant absorbs CO2 to form the final sugars that the plant uses for food.

    Following the general rule of metabolism, high temperature = higher metabolic rate: this could theoretically result in the "dark phase" being more active than the light-phase due to the high temperatures and is causing an imbalance of food ingredients.

    One way to compensate for the higher metabolic rate at night is to increase the temperature, light and water during the day to also increase its metabolic rate - but that could be unsafe for the plant.
    The other option is to restrain the metabolic rate at night by lowering the temperature - but that could be unsafe for our bank accounts.

    I have observed in my catts that they go through a daily cycle of growth spurts and membrane hardening.
    Perhaps the dark-phase foods are responsible for plant growth, while the light-phase foods are responsible for hardening.

    The result:
    Low day light + warm nights = long leggy growths.
    High day light + cool nights = stunted, stubby growths.
    High day light + warm nights + water = large plants.

  9. #9
    Cjcorner's Avatar
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    Maybe instead of turning the fans off at night I should wait to turn them on later in the day and leave them on at night. Our night temps were staying around 80 for awhile, but finally are dropping. Maybe that will help as well.
    Thanks all...

  10. #10
    clintdawley's Avatar
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    Once again John has an explanation for my observations. Thanks for finally explaining to me what I was experiencing..

    Connie, 80 degree nights! WOW! (I put my catts outside in early October and they stay outside until the first frost in November...they THRIVE on the cooler nights..)


    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    It may have something to do with photosynthesis in general.
    During the "light dependent" phase, the plant absorbs sunlight and water to build up the "first half" of its food ingredients.

    During the "light-independent" (formerly "dark") phase, the plant absorbs CO2 to form the final sugars that the plant uses for food.

    Following the general rule of metabolism, high temperature = higher metabolic rate: this could theoretically result in the "dark phase" being more active than the light-phase due to the high temperatures and is causing an imbalance of food ingredients.

    One way to compensate for the higher metabolic rate at night is to increase the temperature, light and water during the day to also increase its metabolic rate - but that could be unsafe for the plant.
    The other option is to restrain the metabolic rate at night by lowering the temperature - but that could be unsafe for our bank accounts.

    I have observed in my catts that they go through a daily cycle of growth spurts and membrane hardening.
    Perhaps the dark-phase foods are responsible for plant growth, while the light-phase foods are responsible for hardening.

    The result:
    Low day light + warm nights = long leggy growths.
    High day light + cool nights = stunted, stubby growths.
    High day light + warm nights + water = large plants.

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