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new to cattleyas - please advise

This is a discussion on new to cattleyas - please advise within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Definitely soak the one you've removed from the pot. And soak the pots of the ...

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  1. #21
    Missanna is offline Cattleya lover
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    Definitely soak the one you've removed from the pot. And soak the pots of the other ones. Generally orchids in the wild can get rained on for days and days but they don't rot because there is a lot of air space. Since the orchiata is new, there should be a lot of air space in the pot still, so soaking it shouldn't hurt. If you are worried about doing it for three days, just soak them for half an hour one day and soak them each time you water so the roots get a chance to really get all the water they can take up. Also, keep the ones with bad roots out of direct sun and in high humidity to prevent them from drying out while they get re-established. You will want to put the one in the photo in a pot that is just barely big enough to hold the roots and probably add some perlite and styrofoam to the mix to allow it to dry out faster if your pot is still big. Whenever I get a plant with few roots, I generally stuff the bottom with the largest pieces of whatever I can find (like wine corks styrofoam etc) and then I also will place a bit of sphagnum moss on the pieces of roots that are not buried in the mix and below the lead pseudo bulb (s) to try to keep the few roots on the surface from drying out in less than a day. If I have done this right I will be able to water the plant every day or every other day. This may be impossible for you though, because your temperatures are lower and mine are in the 80s. I will also set a ziplock bag over the leaves just to keep any drafts/moving air from drying the leaves any more than necessary. Also- since your temperatures are low, I would suggest bringing them in the house (to be warmer) and trying to increase the "day length" to 16 hours. That usually triggers the plants to grow. If you have a flourescent shop light, I suggest putting plant and aquarium bulbs in it, as I see much better growth from these than regular cool and warm lights. If you can find warm white deluxe, those are very good as well. You may also try a seedling heat mat if you can't get them into warmer temperatures as well. But the cheapest way would be to sphag and bag. There are lots of articles about how to do that. I think there is even one in the articles section on this website. Anyway, increase humidity, keep out of direct sum, and keep warm. Increase day length if you can.

  2. #22
    Missanna is offline Cattleya lover
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    One more thing- since you are a windowsill grower and your plants will probably be getting some direct morning sun- you may want to slip the clear pots into an opaque one (with drain holes) or wrap tinfoil around the pots. Direct sun on clear pots can heat the root zone even more than in black pots. It's the greenhouse effect. I would just wrap your hand around the pot when you notice they are getting sun. If the pot feels warm (remember that our skin temperature is about 90 degrees) then it is too hot. Also if leaves ever feel warm, they are getting too warm. However- if you have a shaded south window and the light is diffused, you probably don't have to worry. Anyway, I wish I had a robust growing cattleya to send you. I think it would be most encouraging for you to start with a super healthy plant that had previously bloomed, but the sad fact is that I was in poor health the last two years and unable to properly care for my collection. In those two years, I probably only watered 15 times. I lost a lot of orchids and the ones I have now are set back but I do have a few that are giving me flowers again and I have been giving them great care since about May. I figured out a way to water my plants in place on my shelves without having to carry them to the sink, so it will even be easy to care for them if I go downhill again. ANYWAY, that should tell you how tough they are and give you some hope and I'm sure yours will bounce back quickly if you keep a close eye on them and give them what they need. I'm glad most are in clear pots so you can watch the roots grow. I always get excited about roots and clear pots make it so much easier to see what's going on. Anyway, try not to stress too much. These plants are tough as nails. The thing I've found most helpful is to keep a sheet of paper for each orchid, write down any disease symptoms (in detail) as well as when they start a new growth, when they start rooting etc. keep track of any fungicide applications, etc. etc. i find that doing this helps me "know" my plants better because I am paying attention. I made a little grid with the months at the top and then " shooting, rooting, blooming, repot" down the side. I keep one on each page and every month I will go through and make a little x in whatever box. Then I can also write any other notes about what the plant is doing. I also keep a record of the minimum and maximum temperatures so if I can't get something to bloom, I can look back and see what conditions it was in and then change them if I need to. Anyway, that is something I do and it's fun. You don't have to do it and probably most people don't, but once I started keeping records, it made me pay attention more and I became more observant and I started learning faster. Ugh- sorry my posts are so long. I just want you to be able to enjoy your plants and have good success. Also most importantly is to know what your conditions are and choose plants that will grow well in those conditions. I've successfully grown and bloomed cattleyas in an upstairs window in regular house temperatures and I think sometimes they don't really need to get as cold as a lot of books say they do. Ok- promise I'm really shutting up now. Hehe.

  3. #23
    chemist's Avatar
    chemist is offline Senior Member
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    Svetlana
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    Missanna, thank you for the tips! If we were neighbors i would definitely help you water your plants! And thank you for the thought of giving a plant, I appreciate it! Sorry for replying late, i was busy at work (had time only to glance if there are new posts) and at home my son occupied laptop (anyway that time i was fussing around those four catts).

    At first i was hesitated to repot or soak pots cause as even you said orchiatta holds too much water and the size of orchiata my plants was potted is very fine i would say, so it kept too much water. Seller stated he/she takes return but plants have to be in original potting conditions... So i was thinking if i should return so i left them for a while in their pots and bark. I guess it was wrong decision, to keep them in those pots, not to keep plants (i decided to try to revive them ).
    The one which came bare-roots: i potted it as Catt Mandu suggested in clay pot (made extra holes in it) in mix of bark with cork (i destroyed piece of lab equipment for sake of orchid... hope my boss is not orchid addict and does not read it. Unfortunately i dont drink to have wine cork around).
    Yesterday i noticed it's not doing well.
    So i unpotted it and those which came in pots and soak them as you said for about an hour in rain water with super-thrive. Bareroot one lost its roots, except one new little one about 1/4 of inch (less than 1 cm) . Other three , thank god, still have some vital roots.
    Now all of them in my version of sphag and bag, in pots with little bit of sphagnum moss (not sure if spagnum is good idea in this case), waiting for advises what to do with them next.
    Name:  catts in bag.jpg
Views: 77
Size:  153.7 KB.


    Eh, time to get ready for work...

  4. #24
    Nathanb is offline Junior Member
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    Hi chemist, as Missanna says these things are tough as old boots - when you think where they grow in the world orchids have adapted to some pretty harsh conditions! The key now is not overwatering - in the wild they sustain a lot of water, but then dry very quickly and at times can go with little or no rainfall for months on end and just live off of humidity and depending on the plant moisture from things like low cloud cover. I've found the keys i sit in doubt - don't water, I have pushing 200 Catts/Laelias now and even at the height of summer in the UK they only get watered every 2-3 weeks, pseudobulbs are designed to store water, and if the roots are too wet for too long they will just rot and you have a salvage operation on your hands (I've learnt this from bitter first hand experience!) Your plants should start pushing new roots down from the lead psudobulb in the coming weeks, see below pic, this is one of mine that is just starting to push new roots, so you know what to look out for. Once root tips start appearing I'd say move them into pots and rather than wholesale watering I prefer to use a spray gun and spray just the tips and allow a bit of moisture to run down into the potting media, this should hopefully entice the roots push down and anchor themselves. Hope this helps!

    Name:  Root tips purpurata.jpg
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