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Cattleyas

This is a discussion on Cattleyas within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I have accumulated fifteen cattleyas over the last couple of years. Some are young plants. ...

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  1. #1
    dshawn is offline Senior Member
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    Default Cattleyas

    I have accumulated fifteen cattleyas over the last couple of years. Some are young plants. I've been waiting and waiting for something to give me at least a sheath. Almost all of them seem to be at the same stage of growth. They all have new pbulbs starting, all look really healthy and have good leaf color. I do have a Lc. Sheila Lauderbach that is quite large and should be blooming. They are all planted in bark. Should I be changing their fertilizer now? I've been using Growmore. After speaking to one of the Kawamoto's at a show this weekend I realized I've been buying mostly summer blooming plants. Naturally, I had to have the blooming size Cattleya rex. Can't wait till summer.

  2. #2
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    tucker85 is offline Senior Member
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    When your cattleyas get to blooming size they will start producing sheaths. There isn't anything you need to do to make that happen. What do you mean when you talk about changing fertilizers? Changing from what fertilizer to what other fertilizer?

  3. #3
    dshawn is offline Senior Member
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    I've been reading posts about adding calcium and changing to low nitrogen high pk. Do you recommend any of this? It gets rather confusing.

  4. #4
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    tucker85 is offline Senior Member
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    Spring and summer is the growing season for orchids so the plants need plenty of nitrogen. During those months you should be using a 'grow' type fertilizer that has plenty of nitrogen, even if the plant is in bloom during those months. In the fall and winter the plants are growing less and they need less nitrogen. The best way to accomplish it is to decrease the amount and frequency of your fertilizing. It really isn't necessary to use a low nitrogen 'bloom' fertilizer although if you want to use it in the fall and winter it probably isn't going to hurt anything. It's just easier to use one fertilizer.
    If you water your orchids with city water or well water, they're probably getting plenty of calcium so you don't need to do anything. If your plants get a lot of rain water during the summer, or if you water with a RO or distilled water then you need to provide some calcium. Check the label on your fertilizer. If it contains calcium and magnesium, then your fine. If your fertilizer does not contain it and you use a pure water (rain, RO, distilled) then consider switching to a fertilizer that does contain them. There is another option of using a supplement but the easiest thing to do is to get a fertilizer with cal/mag. Remember if you're watering with tap water you probably don't need to worry about calcium at all.

  5. #5
    dshawn is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you very much for explaining everything so clearly. Now I feel comfortable with what I've been doing and so I can just let them grow. I'll check my labels and follow your advice. I can't wait to be able to bloom these plants. I'm in awe of your growing skills so again thank you.

  6. #6
    dshawn is offline Senior Member
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    One more question, I have two plants that have large leaves that flop over and I wondered if this will inhibit their blooming.

  7. #7
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    tucker85 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dshawn View Post
    One more question, I have two plants that have large leaves that flop over and I wondered if this will inhibit their blooming.
    I'm not sure what you mean. Generally cattleyas have stiff, fleshy leaves that shouldn't flop over. If you mean that they're growing out at an odd angle, no, that won't keep them from blooming. Some cattleyas have tall, straight leaves and others seam to be very unruly and grow in all kinds of odd directions.

  8. #8
    dshawn is offline Senior Member
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    I have a large Chunyeah and as it grows the pbulbs twist and the leaves do too. It's a very large and wide plant. Also a Blc. Taeko Tamaki's leaves are shaped like paddles and as it grows the leaves bend over at the top of the pbulbs. They're not floppy actually just shaped strangely.

  9. #9
    tucker85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dshawn View Post
    I have a large Chunyeah and as it grows the pbulbs twist and the leaves do too. It's a very large and wide plant. Also a Blc. Taeko Tamaki's leaves are shaped like paddles and as it grows the leaves bend over at the top of the pbulbs. They're not floppy actually just shaped strangely.
    Those growth patterns are probably in the DNA of that particular plant. I wouldn't worry about it. It shouldn't affect blooming.

  10. #10
    dshawn is offline Senior Member
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    Great. What the name of that gorgeous white cattleya in your picture? Is it perhaps winter blooming?

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