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  • 3 Post By PaphMadMan
  • 1 Post By Catt Mandu

How to save struggling young Cattleyas - general principles?

This is a discussion on How to save struggling young Cattleyas - general principles? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I know how to rescue Phalaenopsis from the brink of death - put them in ...

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  1. #1
    Delila is offline Member
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    Default How to save struggling young Cattleyas - general principles?

    I know how to rescue Phalaenopsis from the brink of death - put them in live sphagnum moss and they'll come good 90% of the time. Other struggling orchids often do well if taken out of their pot and mounted instead...

    But I don't know how to rescue ailing Cattleya seedlings, and haven't had much luck. Mounting them often speeds their demise, as does watering...and not watering! Are there sure-fire techniques I don't know about for resuscitating troubled young Cattleyas?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    My best suggestion is terrarium conditions with lots of air movement. I have used a translucent plastic storage tub, a computer fan inside for air circulation, light a little less than for a healthy adult plant (the translucent plastic accomplishes this without any special lighting). Live moss is ideal, but sphagnum is acceptable. If you can find a way, suspend the rhizome just at the surface of the moss, not in it. I usually maintain a tub with live moss for use as an intensive care unit. For some reason it seems that having a couple healthy foliage plants in the tub/terrarium too is helpful, especially if you don't have a live moss bed. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaphMadMan View Post
    My best suggestion is terrarium conditions with lots of air movement. I have used a translucent plastic storage tub, a computer fan inside for air circulation, light a little less than for a healthy adult plant (the translucent plastic accomplishes this without any special lighting). Live moss is ideal, but sphagnum is acceptable. If you can find a way, suspend the rhizome just at the surface of the moss, not in it. I usually maintain a tub with live moss for use as an intensive care unit. For some reason it seems that having a couple healthy foliage plants in the tub/terrarium too is helpful, especially if you don't have a live moss bed. Good luck.
    Sounds like a good idea for my seedlings while wintering inside with low humidity. Do you put the lid on the container?

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    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverstoli View Post
    Sounds like a good idea for my seedlings while wintering inside with low humidity. Do you put the lid on the container?
    I use the lid for seedlings or sick/weak plants, as long as there is a fan inside for circulation, otherwise open at least a crack. But even without the lid it creates a more humid micro-climate around the plants.

  5. #5
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    Do you have a specific young plant that is struggling? A photo, or general information regarding its condition, would help. For example, are there any roots or not, are pseudobulbs and leaves dehydrated or not, etc.

    Indoors

    For a small plant (maybe 15 cm tall, for example) that does not have many roots, I would cut the top off a 1-liter clear plastic bottle (such as a seltzer bottle) that you can fit a small pot into (plastic net pots are a good choice). Fill the net pot with slightly damp seedling-grade to medium-size orchid media (organic or inorganic; either should work). Before you put the pot inside the bottle, cut some small slits in the bottom of the bottle so that it will drain. Set the pot down into the bottle.

    Make sure the plant has any dead materials (roots, etc.) trimmed off, & if there are cuts into live tissue, they should be healed over. Then, set the struggling plant on top of the medium - every thing sits on top of the medium, including roots, nothing buried.

    For larger plants (near that 15 cm size) I would not cover the bottle. Mist the medium every once in a while, maybe twice a week, but no more than that. If there are live roots, mist occasionally with a little fertilizer in the water, and occasionally some seaweed extract added, if you have it.

    For really tiny Cattleyas, I would stick with seedling-size materials only, but it is the same approach. I would keep a lid on the container, mist often enough to keep the medium slightly damp (not wet). I am doing this right now for some extremely small Cattleya alliance seedlings (less than 0.5 cm tall) and they are doing fine; they have roots, so I am misting with weak fertilizer and some seaweed extract occasionally.

    Outdoors

    If you are growing things outdoors, here is another approach for bigger seedlings (also works with rootless back-bulb Cattleya divisions). Take a small empty terracotta pot, set the plant inside the pot, no medium around the roots. Keep the pot in a somewhat shaded area outdoors (Phalaenopsis light). Wet the terracotta pot when you water other plants nearby (2 - 3 times a week plus any rainfall), but otherwise ignore it. Have a look at the plant every month or so, see if there are new growths or roots developing. When it develops some roots a few cm long, pot it up normally into a coarse orchid medium. If there is a growth, but no roots coming from the growth, I would leave it alone until it starts sprouting some roots, and when those a a few cm long, then pot it normally.

  6. #6
    ksriramkumar is online now Senior Member
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    excellent sugguestions. thank you

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