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  • Grooming Techniques for Cattleya Alliance Orchids

    The author reserves all rights to this article and it's contents, including text, photos, bad spelling and poor grammar. This article may not be reproduced in whole or part without the express written consent of the author. Besides, it's not nice to steal.

    All of us love our orchids and want them to be healthy, happy and beautiful. Dried sheaths on the p-bulbs of these plants can cause health problems and also detract from the beauty of these plants. These sheaths can trap water that can lead to rot, they provide hiding spaces for insects to feed and breed, and they are just plain ugly. This article will discuss two methods for grooming your Catts. Please note that sheaths should not be removed until they are fully dry to avoid any damage to the plant.
    I've split the Catts into two categories: Those with large, strong p-bulbs will be referred to as 'Male'. Those that have smaller, slender p-bulbs will be referred to as 'Female'. A photo showing a pair of Catts with dried sheaths is below. The Male plant is on the left. (Which means the Female is on the right).

    Here is a close-up photo of a Male Catt that has a dried sheath.

    Before beginning, it's a good idea to water the plants well. This means the bulbs will be nice and turgid so the sheaths should remove more easily, as well as the water on the sheaths also softens them up. We'll start with a Male plant. Be sure that you have assembled all the grooming materials that you will need, and remember that cutting tools should be sharp and clean - see photo below.

    Be sure that you cover the sheath(s) with an adequate quantity of grooming aid - there is no value in scrimping on these products when the health of the plant is at stake.
    An example correct application:

    Using a firm but light touch, moving in the direction opposite of the growth, apply the tool with a stroke.

    Continue in this manner until the entire plant has been groomed. The results, shown below, are proof of the quality of this method!

    Because of their more delicate nature, I use a different grooming method for the Female plants. A photo of the ungroomed female is below.

    Be sure to use a firm but gentle touch with these plants. And follow the manufacturers directions carefully when using this method. As shown below, apply the grooming aid thinly to the sheath, in the same direction as the growth.

    Next apply the grooming aid removal sheet. Press firmly to the treated area, smoothing down the sheet in the same direction as the growth.

    Remove the strip with a quick, downward motion, while supporting the p-bulb with your other hand to prevent any breakage. Viola'! The used sheet is shown in the following picture.

    And here are the results after grooming the entire plant... Superb!

    And here are the Male and Female after their groomings. Healthy, Happy and loooooooking Good!!

    The direction found in this article are written to be humorous and have been written 'tongue and cheek'. New growers, please do not take these directions literally.

    Find more Humor in the OrchidTalk Orchid Forums - Bringing People Together to Grow Orchids Better
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