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  • 1 Post By Dorsetman
  • 1 Post By raybark

General Catt + Pot. Dick Smith 'Aloha Spirit' Pseudobulbs + Hydroponic ??'s!

This is a discussion on General Catt + Pot. Dick Smith 'Aloha Spirit' Pseudobulbs + Hydroponic ??'s! within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Ok! I am brand new to Cattleya orchids. I have searched the FAQs page but ...

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  1. #1
    emmajs243 is offline Junior Member
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    Nov 2018

    Default General Catt + Pot. Dick Smith 'Aloha Spirit' Pseudobulbs + Hydroponic ??'s!

    Ok! I am brand new to Cattleya orchids. I have searched the FAQs page but come to realize it seems like every question asked has a different answer depending on growing environment and the exact orchid! So I decided to ask here! I just received my first yesterday and she is blooming size but not in bloom , I will be honest, I am not positive on her health...with Phals I have it down ok at least but man Catts are a whole different story! I am however really trying to figure her out...Oh! and she is a Pot. Dick Smith 'Aloha Spirit'. Ok so during summer I plan to have her outside but it is winter in Idaho which equals short days, cold temperatures and extremely dry air so she is currently on my windowsill that gets the most light. She was overnighted with a heat pack during a small warmer period we had this week so I hope the trip hasn't been too stressful but even still she came from Hawaii which is an entirely different climate so I am a tad worried that combined with me being a newbie will cause her to not be too happy!

    So! Questions: AND I will just say, I totally understand that you guys are answering based on solely your personal experiences and cannot give any guarantees on what will work for me!

    1. I was reading up on American Orchid Society on Catts. and they said during winter for the northern states Catts basically need as much light as possible throughout the day. OK with that said, I want her to be on a windowsill that is constantly getting sunlight BUT then I read other places that bring up concerns of sunburn. At the end of the day I am sitting here feeling like I have two contradictions that a more experienced orchid grower would definitely be able to balance but I personally am at a loss! Do the windows offer enough protection to where it is ok? I have one window that is slightly frosted or fogged on the outside, would this be safer versus a completely clear window? Or should she be put somewhere that gets less light throughout the day but it isn't so direct?

    2. Pseudobulbs! Ok! I have put a lot of research into Pseudobulbs the past 24 hours. I have read that they should be green and plump as a sign of a healthy orchid. I have also read however that some orchids do have naturally ridged pseudobulbs and that in this case, it isn't a sign of dehydration or a possible root issue. My Pot. Dick Smith 'Aloha Spirit' has uniform ridges on almost all of her pseudobulbs. Does anyone know if this orchid should have ridges on the pseudobulbs by chance? Or do you have any advice for how I could figure this out?

    3. Air Circulation! Oh so important. Once again, good old AOS talks about how important good air flow is for Catts. But they also talk about how too much air flow can dry out the air and lower the humidity and if you live in an already less humid environment, this can be problematic. Any advise on how you try to balance air flow versus humidity? (Mind you, it is winter and very cold so opening windows isn't an option during the deep winter. During spring/fall/summer I can definitely open up the house during the day and most the time even night)
    - Re-Potting Questions! -

    I know I need to repot this orchid. Partially just from research showing that its always a good idea with new orchids, partially because I am less experienced and I am struggling to tell the health of the orchid. I can spot a pretty perfectly pristine orchid but I cannot say she is that. On the other hand, I am struggling to determine what may just be dyed roots from the media and what might by mold or a fungus. Plus her media doesn't appear to be the newest. She is quite a nice size plant but she is almost so large its quite difficult to even see the actual media to tell how new it is. With that said, its definitely not fresh so I have decided to be safe rather then sorry and repot her to ensure she is bug/fungus free anyways!

    1. Any advise on determining pot size? I know that is especially hard to do but also very important. Once again, the AOS said that a Catt should be repotted when it starts throwing out roots at the base of new growth. I have two new growths (pretty positive on this one) and one does indeed have a root tip coming out of its base and I have no idea where it will squeeze into the does look really quite cramped! Then again, my eye is uneducated and unexperienced and orchids do always seem happier squished then with room! On the other hand, I know it can be stressful on an orchid being repotted (mine is unifoliate) and the AOS of course says get a pot large enough for two years of growth, but...DON'T OVERPOT! I know, they mean well but to a newbie, orchids can have a lot of contradictions! So if mine is in a 4 inch pot how would you decide to go up a pot size? Granted, if there is some sort of root problem when I begin examine the plant and if I have to remove many roots then do you think I may end up needing to stay in a 4 inch pot?

    2. Hydroponics! As soon as I saw the set up I just immediately loved the look of it and absolutely wanted to give it a try! Does anyone have advice on hydroponics? My environment can be pretty dry so that does make me like the idea of the plant having constant moisture. I know I would like to get some type of clay bead...Forgive me if this is not allowed to say but I believe this is ok...What is the difference between Leca beads and Aliflor beads? Are they the exact same, is aliflor just a brand (in that case that I probably shouldn't be saying), or is it a specific type of clay? I have no idea on this one what the difference is! They have hydrokorrel, hydroton, same questions, whats the difference is this a brand thing or is it the way they were prepared? Any and all hydroponic advise would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you all so much! Any help on any of the questions would be greatly appreciated! It seems like orchids are all about balance and you just have to find the right balance for you and each specific orchid!

  2. #2
    JDT's Avatar
    JDT is offline Senior Member
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    It is a good idea to know what is out there for instructions for the care of orchids, sometimes it can get to be confusing, which I am sure you have already found that to be true. It is really hard to say which is the best, as you mentioned at the start we all have our ways of caring for them. You raise good questions but there is no way of telling exactly what will work for you. It is a trial and error event, only you can determine what works and the only way you will find that out is to try what you can find that will work for your environment, does anyone else in your area have the same species orchid try to find out what works best for them. You do not state where you live but it is obvious it is in an area that will require you to keep them indoors for at least the winter months, that is something I can not help you with as mine are outside 24/7. Is there a local orchid society club in your area, you might try to find out and if so go to the next meeting and ask questions.

    Your last paragraph says it so well, find what works for you even if it causes a problem with your orchid, most orchids are very resilient and if you try something and it does not do well at first try something else, with time orchids can recoup unless left alone for a long period of time. Nature seems to take care of itself in the wild, you just need to figure out what will work for you. Look at your orchid each day after time you will be able to look and say something does not look well here and then figure out what to do next. We have all killed more then we want to say but that is the nature of this hobby, you learn more each day. I have been doing this for close to 30 years and I learn more about them everyday.

  3. #3
    Mike H is offline Senior Member
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    I would hold off on re-potting, if your concern is an abundance of aerial roots provide plenty of humidity.
    Post a picture here if possible and you will receive plenty of advice.

  4. #4
    Dorsetman's Avatar
    Dorsetman is offline Senior Member
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    Geoff Hands
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    I have about 400 catts, and think I know what I am doing with them. I only ever repot when I can see new roots coming from the front (latest) growth, and even then not if those roots are more than a couple of inches long. If you can see the roots just emerging, that is the time. And remember if you miss it, you will have to wait a year for another chance. When you have repotted, or at any other time too, the plant must not be able to move in the pot. Stake it, to fix in position.
    When you water, only do this if you can see green root tips somewhere, or if a growth is developing, or if buds are pushing out of a sheath or if the plant is actually in flower. At other times, when none of this applies water only rarely. Some Cats need to rest for months at a time, and the problem here is that they are all different.
    I was going through my plants today - looked at about 60 or 70 of them, repotted 5, watered maybe 40 or so, staked 3 or 4 (and 2 of these had not been repotted, it was just that developing growths had made them unstable and likelyto fall over, but pulling them back towards the centre, stabilised them.
    I hope all this helps - it is the most important, IMHO.
    And by the way, if your window faces south, frosted glass would be better .

  5. #5
    raybark's Avatar
    raybark is online now Senior Member
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    Ray Barkalow
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    Light: It is unlikely that sunlight through a clear window will be too intense in winter in Idaho. To be safe though, if it is a south-facing window, place it where you want, then touch it to feel the leaf temperature, especially near noon. If it feels warm, move the plant back, out of the direct sunlight.

    Pseudobulbs: There is no way to know if your plant is supposed to have ridged pseudobulbs, but don't worry about it. Use any changes as indicators.

    Air Circulation: You want gently wafting, not a fan blowing on the plant. In fact, considering the likely dry air you have this time of year, I wouldn't worry about it at all.

    Humidity: You'd be better spending your time and money trying to keep the house - or at least that room - at about 50% RH. Forget "humidity trays", as there is no way they can do so adequately.

    Repotting: My normal rule-of-thumb is to allow room for one new growth to extend outward toward the pot wall, plus 1/2", but only repot the plant now if it is at risk of problems. The best time to repot is just as new roots are emerging from the base of new growths. If that is not happening, "baby" the plant in its current medium until it is - barely moisten the medium, rather than flooding it, for example.

    Hydroponics: Don't go there now! The "best time to repot" advice holds doubly true in this case.

    Roots "tailor" themselves to the environment into which they grow. Once grown, they cannot change. Move the roots into a new environment upon repotting, and the existing roots are immediately suboptimal for that new environment, so will begin to fail. (That's why we want new roots to be emerging, so they will be optimal, and support the plant.) Moving a plant into hydroponics is a very big change, so existing root failure will be faster.

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