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masaccio

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Thanks so much for all the "Likes". I should've waited a few more days before photographing. Perhaps one of the scariest things I've ever done is "wiring" the spike and blooms for the best presentation I can manage. There must be an on-line master-class for this.
 

DrLeslieEe

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No master class unfortunately lol.

Some tips I can offer through many years of showing my awarded cattleyas.

Staking Cattleyas:

1. As buds are developing, separate the buds with stakes to widen space. This is best as buds get to 80% mature (Before that the buds and ovaries are too firm to move). This prevents the bunching and crowding. During this time you can stake the entire inflorescence too.

2. If only 2-4 flowers, separate in a row. If multifloral, stake straight up.

3. If flowers rotate upside down, you can gently manipulate it by twisting the bud and bud stem aka ovary (not the main stem where ovary attaches, or you will detach it by mistake!) Give a gently turn by twisting 10-15 degrees back and forth about 5 times into the direction you want. Repeat 2-3 times a day over a few days. Preferably done just before the buds open. Can be repeated as flower opens too. But carefully! Tip: hold the ovaries on each end to twist the middle ovary part is best. Or one end on the ovary base (near floral stalk) and other end near or on bud itself (extra careful on the latter to avoid shearing off the bud).

4. Each individual flower can be twist tied to hold in place as well, particularly if they nod downwards. Discretely is best so nothing is seen.

5. Repeat with other inflorescences to achieve a 360 view if possible. If not, then all facing one semi circle is good too.

Many cattleyas are staked as an afterthought and it shows by flowers that are crowded and wrong side up, with many twist ties. This detracts from the 'natural' beauty of the flowers sometimes. Best to prep as the flowers develop. Takes a lot of practice but its worthwhile to showcase your babies (and skill).
 
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masaccio

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You are awesome! Thanks for sharing. I had thought that the buds should space themselves naturally and I was so careful that the spike was getting even overhead light. So I didn't do anything until the twisting seemed to be finished and they started to open. Then it became clear that they were running into each other and may impede full expansion. They're mostly straight now after three different stages of staking. It's a reasonably attractive, but certainly not perfect presentation. At least I can look at them and not be frustrated. Luckily, long stakes and fresh twist-ties were on hand as well as a certain amount of patience and courage.
 

DrLeslieEe

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Yes courage is needed with a steady hand when doing last minute prep. Still not too bad a job there.
 

PeteM

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A trick I learned to space out flower buds as they mature is to use newspaper crumpled up in between the base of the buds. Provides just enough resistance and can be easily adjusted as needed.
 

DrLeslieEe

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A trick I learned to space out flower buds as they mature is to use newspaper crumpled up in between the base of the buds. Provides just enough resistance and can be easily adjusted as needed.
Or Styrofoam.
 

masaccio

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Great ideas. It's a relief it have the "primer" on this process instead of thinking I was doing something wrong when the buds didn't naturally present perfectly. :)
 

southernbelle

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A trick I learned to space out flower buds as they mature is to use newspaper crumpled up in between the base of the buds. Provides just enough resistance and can be easily adjusted as needed.
I sometimes use cotton balls..
 

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