Cattleya labiata v. semi-alba 'Charlie's Angels' HCC/AOS

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John M

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I sold a division of this plant a couple years ago and that division, grown in a high-rise, downtown Toronto condo, was awarded an HCC/AOS last December 3 at the Toronto Judging Centre. This photo is of the main plant blooming in my greenhouse.

Natural spread is 16.0 cm. Petal width is 6.4 cm.

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John M

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Thank you everybody.

Angela, a very similar looking, spring blooming species, Cattleya mossiae v. semi-alba, would've been worn on many prom dresses back in the 50's. Of course, back then nurseries had huge greenhouses filled with nothing but Cattleya mossiae to supply the demand each spring.
 
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John, do you use only natural lighting with your greenhouse? At your latitude, when do you start to see the buds elongating? In addition to daylength change, do you sustain a temperature drop and reduce watering/feeding at that time?


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John M

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John, do you use only natural lighting with your greenhouse? At your latitude, when do you start to see the buds elongating? In addition to daylength change, do you sustain a temperature drop and reduce watering/feeding at that time?
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Yes, only natural lighting. This year, the buds began to elongate in November and they took a long time to reach blooming. When it starts is variable each year. It depends on the light available and the nighttime temperatures. But of course, it always initiates buds in the fall. The division that got awarded was grown in a condo on a windowsill and it was in full bloom by early December. Yes, the temperature drops consistently each night into the mid to upper 50's F. Watering is greatly reduced and since I feel lightly after each watering, feeding is automatically reduced as well. Plus, when it's been dark for a long time, even though I had to water because the heater dries out the plants, I often skip a feeding in the winter. My plants DEFINITELY experience a dramatic slow down and go through a dormant period each late fall through to mid winter. Once the days begin to noticeably get longer and the skies begin to clear again, watering (and therefore, feeding too), is done more and more frequently again.
 

John M

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Thanks, John. You are working with your natural conditions. What is your shortest daylength where you live?


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I don't know exactly; but, I seem to remember that in late December sunrise is about 7:30 a.m. and sunset is about 4:30 p.m. However, the first half hour and last half hour are basically twilight. Plus, even at mid day, the sun is still low on the horizon and in my area (at the Western tip of Lake Ontario), I'm literally surrounded by the Great Lakes (Lake Ontairo, Erie, Huron and Georgian Bay). Plus, further West - NorthWest (the prevailing wind comes from there), is Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. So, in the fall, while the lakes are still relatively warm a lot of moisture is evaporated and it turns into clouds. The days in November through January are so-oooooooooooo dull and grey! By early February, the lakes are either cold enough or frozen over and they don't add nearly as much moisture to the atmosphere. Plus, the days are getting longer and the sun is getting stronger. So, the skies clear and we suddenly get a LOT more light.

If I lived in....say.....Edmonton, Alberta, I'd get a lot more light and a lot more winter growth on my plants. Even though they are way North of me and their days will be even shorter than mine, it's cold and dry out there and the sun shines a LOT in the winter.
 
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