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  • 2 Post By cucubirds
  • 2 Post By catttan
  • 1 Post By angela
  • 2 Post By raybark

BLC x SLC - fertilizer problem?

This is a discussion on BLC x SLC - fertilizer problem? within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello, I wanted to inquire with the members of this forum on the topic of ...

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  1. #1
    hrw115 is offline Junior Member
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    Default BLC x SLC - fertilizer problem?

    Hello,

    I wanted to inquire with the members of this forum on the topic of proper fertilization for a BLC. The specific plant (pictured) is: BLC. Love Sound X SLC. Tangerine Jewel
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    The plant is a reliable bloomer for me and I really haven't had any issues with it - however I can't help but notice the change in the growth pattern of the plant since I have been keeping it over the last 4 years. The pseudobulbs have gone from being short and plump, which short leaves, to very long and slender with significantly longer leaves. I would say that the new leaves are easily twice as long as the original ones. (It is difficult to probably see in the picture, but you can see the right-leading leaf that the flower spike is coming from. Slightly beside it is a left-leaning leaf at about 10 o'clock which is one of the original leaves/pseudobulbs. You can see the size difference!)

    I am currently feeding the BLC X SLC above a basic 20-20-20 fertilzer. Now I am beginning to wonder if that is just too strong. I know from reading things on this forum many people use much weaker fertilzers.

    Does anyone have any thoughts/comments on this?

    Thanks much!

  2. #2
    cucubirds is offline Senior Member
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    I don't think this is fertilizer issue.

    I think it is getting lesser sunlight than in the past. It also indicates that it need to reach high to receive sunlight. Are your plants over-crowded?

    Plant being grown in cool weather tends to have plump pseudobulb. Just my 2 cents

  3. #3
    catttan's Avatar
    catttan is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    That is a very lovely cattleya! You are using a general purpose fertiliser and since your plant looks so healthy and blooms regularly for you, I'm sure you are doing the right thing. As to the leaves - young plants and seedlings do tend to have stouter p-bulbs and shorter leaves and produce more 'normal' leaves as they mature.
    I use a 21:21:21 fertiliser, which is not much different from yours. When we say 'strength' we refer to the dilution of the fertiliser with water and not the composition of the fertiliser. I normally use 1/2 strength - 1/2 the recommended amount in the same volume of water - and fertilise weekly. Some people even use 1/4 strength.

  4. #4
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    Chris1140 is offline Senior Member
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    I use 1/4 strength 3 out of 4 waterings. If you are concerned about excessive leaf growth you might try a 'bloom booster' fertilizer that has a lower 1st number (nitrogen) and higher 2nd and 3rd number (potassium and phosphorus). Many people alternate these two types of fertilizer with excellent results. The rationale for using a diluted strength of fertilizer is that it approximates what the plant would receive from natural sources in the wild.

  5. #5
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    angela is offline Senior Member
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    MHO, I am inclined to go with the lighting/sun. We don't know from your profile where you live (state) or whether you are growing outdoors or indoors..
    The colours of the flowers also seem a bit pale (from your pics) so together with the stretching leaves I would believe that the plant is not receiving adequate light/sun.
    I also use 20-20-20 and alternate with other combinations from month to month.
    Good Luck

  6. #6
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    stateless is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    I agree with the sunlight issue also, my 2 cents

  7. #7
    hrw115 is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Hello Everyone,

    Thank you so much for your responses. I have addressed a few questions/comments below.

    For those of you who have commented on the fertilizer - thanks for the feedback. I am fertilizing weakly as is typically prescribed, so it sounds as though that is going too badly as it stands.

    I live in Central PA and grow all of my orchids indoors. I used to let the orchids out in the summer but has such a difficult time with insects that I sort of gave up on that. I also live in a contemporary home which, due to its design, does not get a great deal of direct sunlight - so it is quite possible that many of you are correct in your estimations of lack of light.

    Per the inquiry on crowding the orchids - I only own 8 orchids (which compared to many of the people on this forum is almost nothing) - so they are definitely not crowded.

    I have been looking at purchasing or building an orchidarium such that I can keep the plants in more appropriate lighting/humidity conditions. We heat our house with a wood burning stove in the winter and you can just imagine how dry the air gets. (I often find myself watering plants twice a day.) These types of environmental challenges certainly contribute to the reason that I have such a small orchid collection.

    I have to admit that I was sort of amazed that I could get this plant to bloom at all, especially since I sort of knew when it was purchased for me as a gift that it that I was going to have a difficult time giving it the light requirements that it needs. By contrast, I have a BLC. Love Sound x PCT.(?) Elaine Taylor that was purchased at the same time and I have not been able to get it to bloom at all. I have always attributed its lack of blooming to lack of light. It is an otherwise extremely healthy looking plant - just no show.

    I will troll around on this forum to see what information I can find on an appropriate non-fire-hazard light that I might be able to use to supplement the sunlight for my plants in the meantime. We can see if that helps.

    Thank you all very much again! I appreciate you humoring my inquiry.

  8. #8
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    Default

    I gotta go with reduced light, too.

    If the issue was excess nitrogen (which is the only nutritional factor I am aware of that can lead to "leggy" growth), the plant would likely be a bright emerald green color and not bloom.

    Incidentally.... TAXONOMISTS HAVE STRUCK AGAIN!!!

    Your plant is now considered to be Rhyncattleanthe [Rth.] Love Sound x Cattleya [C.] Tangerine Jewel

  9. #9
    cucubirds is offline Senior Member
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    Due to complex hybridizing & different parents involved in making such hybrids , some hybrids can thrive at somewhat low light level whereas some still require high light to bloom.

    Good luck to you.

  10. #10
    hrw115 is offline Junior Member
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    Raybark,

    I was indeed worried that the leggy nature of the plants was being caused by a nitrogen imbalance, this my inquiry of using the incorrect fertilizer, however I can definitely say that the plants are not an emerald green color.

    As for the taxonomy - well, I must admit that I had to even look at the tag to see what kind of plant that orchid was before I even wrote the post! So even with a small collection, the taxonomies escape me. I will make another tag through and tuck it in for keeping.

    Cucubirds,

    I think you are right that the hybridization of some of these plants make it possible for people like me to grow and bloom some of these orchids in less conventional environments. Thank goodness for it though - because otherwise I would just have moth and slipper orchids in my collection!

    Thank you all again!

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