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  • 1 Post By cakedaddy

Double leaves on unifoliate cattleyas

This is a discussion on Double leaves on unifoliate cattleyas within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I grow mostly labiate cattleya species which generally produce only one leaf on each pseudo ...

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  1. #1
    Missanna is offline Cattleya lover
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    Default Double leaves on unifoliate cattleyas

    I grow mostly labiate cattleya species which generally produce only one leaf on each pseudo bulb. However, this year I have a few cattleyas that made growths with two leaves. Once in a while a growth would make two, but I've never seen so many occur all at once which is what made me think to ask the question. I have a mossiae and a maxima that did it this year (I've had them for a long time) and I got two other orchids that had already grown this way in the previous growers care.

    My question is: does anyone know what triggers them to do this? Again, these are unifoliate species, not hybrids with double leaved catts in their background.

    I feel like it could be triggered by stress of some kind. My first thought was that it could be a reaction to low light and the plant feels like it needs to have two leaves to access more light, but that's just a guess.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    When I have observed this in the past my best guess was the opposite of stress. The plant has extra energy and resources to put into vegetative growth and the simplest thing to do is to tack on an extra leaf for additional photosynthetic capability. I think it is most likely something that a healthy plant would do, not a sick one. The only down-side might be that this indicates vegetative rather than reproductive growth, so possibly leaves at the expense of flowers, but ultimately a stronger plant. I suppose slightly less than optimal light could be a factor in that. Also, did you repot in the months just before this, or boost fertilizer a bit especially nitrogen?

  3. #3
    Missanna is offline Cattleya lover
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    I guessed it may be stress because for the last two years I was in poor health and was not able to care for my orchids very well and one of the new ones I had received had a bit of a root issue when I got it. The other had some yellowing of the oldest pseudo bulbs which I think is getting a bit better as I have been foilar feeding it. Anyway, i also suspected light because about 8 months ago when these growths started developing, it would have been around February when there isn't much light. Also a lot of my bulbs had burned out, so there wasn't much light when the double leaved growths started to grow.

    There was only one that may have been repotted "recently" but I don't think it was because the mix was so broken down and there was a thick layer of live moss covering the mix. The other new one is mounted and has been there a very long time.

  4. #4
    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    Whether it is caused by stress, or a sign of recovery from stress, or just some odd environmental effect, extra leaves on healthy growth is not a bad thing in the long run. Consistent good care for another year or 2 with mature plants should be rewarded with flowers.

    I asked about repotting because that often supplies a flush of nutrients, especially micronutrients. If a plant performs differently just after repotting it could indicate a lack in your regular fertilizer practices. But that doesn't apply to a mounted plant unless your fertilizer use changed.

  5. #5
    Missanna is offline Cattleya lover
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    Thank you everyone for your replies. I really wish I could know the answer because say it is a stress response- that is the orchid telling you it needs something- and if it is a response to sub optimal environmental factors I would know which ones needed to be altered to make the plant happier. I'm guessing it's light related though, and now light is not a problem for any of these plants because they all have all the light they need. We will see if any of the next growths make doubles. If they do, I'll modify something else and see if that helps.

  6. #6
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    cakedaddy is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with PaphMadMan. It's not necessarily a bad thing or a symptom of something you've done "wrong". There is only so much control we can have with our culture...occasionally, I have a unifoliate plant grow an extra leaf where it should have grown a spike. It happens. There are so many variables! Some species are very particular. A few degrees up or down could cause vegetative growth instead of the expected reproductive.
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