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Caring for Cattleya long term

This is a discussion on Caring for Cattleya long term within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I only have about 65 orchids however, I have a collection of fragrant cattleya that ...

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  1. #1
    LAVIE's Avatar
    LAVIE is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Caring for Cattleya long term

    I only have about 65 orchids however, I have a collection of fragrant cattleya that are becoming specimen plants. I also have a few that I want to become a specimen plant.
    With that in mind, how do make sure I am bringing along those cattleya`s to grow into specimen plants?

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Depending on the type of cattleya you are growing, I would simply suggest that you keep doing what ever it is that you are currently doing. If you have plants that are already becoming specimens, then you are on the right track. As far as cattleya orchid care, here are some basics:

    Light Requirements:

    2000 - 3300 footcandles

    Out of all of the orchids commercially grown for sale, only Vandas surpass the Cattleya in light requirements to bloom abundantly. As a general rule, give plenty of bright light!
    Temperature:

    70 - 90 degrees F. daytime, 60 - 65 degrees F. night.
    Humidity:

    40 - 65 % relative humidity is ideal
    Notes:

    While Cattleyas adapt well to less than ideal conditions and therefore make good "beginner" orchids, their high light requirements are sometimes difficult to achieve in the home. Be sure to place them where they will receive abundant light with direct sun striking them only very early in the morning. Allow them to dry slightly between waterings.

    Cheers,
    BD


  3. #3
    Tmai's Avatar
    Tmai is offline Ya'll are funnin' me!
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    Speaking of light, how do foot candles and % shade correlate (sp)? Are 6000 f/c equal to 40% shade? How does that work?

    Tami

  4. #4
    wetfeet101b's Avatar
    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    One of the things to consider if you plan to grow a cattleya as a specimen is proper pruning.
    Yes! you may need to prune orchids too. But not like pruning that boxwood bush or arbor vitae.

    What I am talking about is to ensure that you are not allowing the orchid to choke itself once it has grown too big.
    I have seen quite a few specimen-sized plants where only the outside edge has flowers. The reason is that the newer pseudobulbs in the center of the plant get crushed by the old pseudobulbs and thus no replacement flowers for the barren, old pseudobulbs in the center.
    If the plant is healthy enough, remove some of the older middle pseudobulbs (cut above the dormant eyes, never below). This will allow more space for new pseudobulbs in the middle that will bloom.

    With the typical orchid care, this is not an issue since you would normally divide an orchid once it gets too big or crowded - this provides the new divisions more space to grow.
    However with specimen growing, dividing is usually out of the question. This leads to potential overcrowding if the new pseudobulbs are sprouting in the middle faster than the old pseudobulbs are fading.

    If you see pseudobulbs beginning to crowd inside the cluster, you will need to remove a few pseudobulbs to prevent crowding. The oldest pseudobulbs will be the primary candidates as they have already bloomed and would be on their way out anyway.
    On the outside edge of the plant, crowding is usually not an issue.

    So basically: let the plant grow outwards at its own pace, but manage the overgrowth in the middle of the plant where real estate is at a premium.

    Root management might also be an issue if you are growing large orchids in closed plastic or clay pots.
    Specimens hate to have their roots disturbed, but unkempt root systems cause long term problems as the dead/decaying old roots stay stuck in the pot for years and can cause nasty side effects for the plants.
    The orchids would benefit from some decaying root material (natural fertilizer), but too much is always bad.

    Another important advise for growing specimens: Only grow it as big as you can carry, and never grow it bigger than your front door if you grow indoors.

    Other than that, just carry on with what you are doing and they will grow just fine.

    ~John

  5. #5
    wetfeet101b's Avatar
    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tmai View Post
    Speaking of light, how do foot candles and % shade correlate (sp)? Are 6000 f/c equal to 40% shade? How does that work?

    Tami
    Its really impossible to establish a direct correlation between the two across the board.
    Foot-candle is an absolute measurement of the light intensity hitting a surface, while %shade is a value relative to the original incoming light. And to complicate matters, the %shade on the product label is not always what the product provides. A 50% shade material could actually be producing only 40% shade, or perhaps 60% shade.

    So I guess the first thing to look at is how much unfiltered light your LOCAL growing area is receiving.
    Measure that in terms of foot-candles and then decide how much shade material you need to implement to arrive at your desired light levels.

    For example:
    In my backyard in summer, unfiltered sunlight is around 8000fc.
    If my plants need only 4000fc, then I need to get a material that provides 50% shade. So the filtered light would be between 3000fc-5000fc to account for the variances and porosity of the shade material.

    If someone's yard only receives 5000fc for example, then maybe they would only need a 10%-20% shade material for the same plants.

  6. #6
    Cjcorner's Avatar
    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    I found a rule of thumb that is pretty accurate....if you hold your hand about six inches away from a pot and you can see a clear outline shadow of your hand, that's bright vanda type light....if you can see the shadow but it's not well outlined, sort of medium shadow....that's good for catt's.....if there is very little shadow....that's phal level light. So far I haven't burned anything and my plants seem to grow okay. I have and east exposure both on my front porch and in my living room picture window. They are allowed morning sun, but no direct sun after 11 am here, especially in the summer. Florida sun can sting fast even to humans. If you touch the leaf and it's hot to the touch, you either move them back a little or start misting a little more often.
    You just have to love these demanding little beauties....
    Connie

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