It makes me very happy and I kind of look forward to it all year! It is pretty picky about its temperatures and water.Lovely. Must feel good to be able to raise some seedlings of this finicky species to flowering
Thank you!Very nice!
I'd say the whole plant is less than 36 cm /15 inches tall. I will say that these need very steady warm temperatures all year. If it gets too cool in winter, even if you are keeping it dry, you can run into rot and blackening leaves. I've lost several of them this way, two this past winter.Very lovely colours!
I'm very (pleasantly) surprised to see BS plants of this species not necessarily being larger...is this an optical illusion due to the photos... or are the plants themselves, actually, modestly sized? (And thus fit for my crowded window sill! )
In my experience, they aren't that "finicky". The main requirement is bright, consistent light: without it, they will remain stuck in a seedling stage and never grow to flowering size. As for humidity, 50 percent is enough. The bottom Winter temperature should be about 60 F., then there should be no problems. They grow well under HID lamps and with daytime temperatures above 70 F. A little fertilizer helps but is not that important. As usual with Cattleyas, they must dry out well between waterings. All of this is just normal Cattleya culture.Lovely. Must feel good to be able to raise some seedlings of this finicky species to flowering
Mr. Green, Nice post.
I just put your user name together with your Youtube channel, small world. I subscribe and in my pre covid world would stream your posts on my commute. Unfortunately, since lockdown I have not been able to find the time to keep up. Glad you posted. They look great and I have been following these seedlings for some time now and amazed at the growth rate, especially since you have repotted a few of them in different media and mounted a few.. good variety of choices.
A lot of it has to do with the plant itself, but overall for the current conditions in the greenhouse space you have, what media and pot type do you see the best root growth results for Rex? If you had to choose to repot all of them into one type, which would you choose? Can you also share the specific temperature ranges that you aim for throughout the year? I have a small one that I got at the Redland show last year, she's finally got 2 new growth and some small roots, but wanted to improve my growing environment as much as possible. Thanks for sharing any new information you can provide, great pics!
Granite is too heavy! Generally I find either medium bark or red lava rock works well for Cattleyas. The main thing is to avoid over-watering in the Winter. Since you have good humidity I would make sure you have a fan running. In Winter they can go for two weeks without water, no problem.Hi Pete! Really nice to hear that my videos provide some enjoyment for you!
Since the greenhouse is hot, humid, and (in my opinion) over watered and over fertilized for my liking, I have switched all my Cattleyas, not just the rexes, to granite rocks. Some in plastic pots, others in clay.
The best root growth on rex that I've seen since this transition has been on the plants that were potted in small plastic pots, just big enough for one new growth. The plastic maintains just the right amount of moisture while the big granite chunks allow for airflow. They dry out completely before they are watered again.
The ones in clay are also rooting fine, but more slowly, presumably because it dries faster. The larger plastic pots hold on to more water, so it takes longer to dry. That doesn't seem to be a big deal right now (other than attracting mollusks, my mortal enemies), but it might be a problem when the wet, cold winter conditions arrive.
Honestly, if I could mount them all without big setbacks, I would do it. The three that I have mounted were glued onto bark slabs six years ago and have established awesome root systems with zero disturbance over the years. But ripping the others out of their pots and attaching them to mounts and crossing my fingers that they get re-established does not sound like fun at this point.
However! I am really hoping I get some seedlings out of this pod I just sent to the lab last week. And if I do, I may mount a large portion of them.
This may sound crazy but you may want to try sphagnum for your seedling, in a small plastic pot that is only big enough for a couple new growths. I'd pack it in tight (keeps the plant stable and holds less water this way) and it would be super important to let it get almost crispy dry between waterings.
Finally, I think temperature is the most challenging thing about this species. If you look at climate data from Moyobamba, where these are from, you will see that their average highs are 28C and average lows are 18C (plus or minus 2C) all year long. All year. No hot season, no cool season, just a dryer season. So what I find is that they absolutely will not tolerate temperature flux without some form of objection. For me the most typical problem has been day temps in the winter being too low for too long. They need warm days. If you keep them dry as a bone during these cooler months you may be able to avoid big problems. But that's hard, because they still need water during this time. In spite of having them in bark in net baskets, I lost two just this past winter to rot, which motivated the change to granite.
Here's a link to Chadwick's article on Cattleya rex which has been my go-to for the past few years.
Treasure of the Incas James O’Brien, one of the most famous horticulturists of the late 1800s, was an expert on orchids, particularly the large-flowered Cattleya species. He was secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Orchid Committee, advisor to the editors of The Gardeners’ Chronicle...www.chadwickorchids.com
Hope this has been helpful and please don't hesitate to get in touch with more questions. I really love this species and could go on and on about it all day, haha.
Oh! and one more thing...who was selling them at Redlands if I may ask?
For getting new roots on a newly imported C. rex it's not a bad idea to use moss but you keep the plant in a very small container (the lower half of a 500 ml water bottle may do) and pack the moss loosely. The plant should dry out between waterings as usual. I have tried this method and it works.Oh! and one more thing...who was selling them at Redlands if I may ask?
Hi William, thanks for all the details.
I picked up a rex, flowering size but bare root. it's been just that, a bare. I've almost lost the plant but seems to be making progress, some small new roots but somewhat stunted looking new growths. I think I have more of a root growth problem than anything else.. without strong root growth, you're kind of stranded until you can get them to start again. It seems happy where it is in coarse kiwi bark/ small clay pot with a lot of air movement and strong enough light. I'll give it another few months and see if this summer / fall cycle triggers anything more substantial before I move it again. I'll also mind the temps. I have killed one prior, which never had a chance as it was an unplanned acquisition. I have in my collection Triumphans, and that seems to be growing very strong. But like everyone I'm always tempted by the species.. being able to grow these and dowiana well and consistently are the goals I'm still trying to dial in.
Yes, I am also familiar with Chadwicks description, I have all of his species links and looking forward to the new version that should be coming out soon. haha.. I did read about his recommendation with moss.. sounds easy but I'm not brave enough. I don't trust moss and have been trying to migrate away from it for some time now.
Thanks for documenting this method on this thread. I tend to have a difficult time letting certain orchids dry out as I spray and water daily (Vandas, phrags, mounted) and have been known to accidentally water an unintended pot. It's not the moss so much as it's my hand that I don't trust. One cold day and slip of the wand onto loosely potted moss... could lead to a very unhappy and wet rex. But will keep it in mind if my conditions and regiment changes.For getting new roots on a newly imported C. rex it's not a bad idea to use moss but you keep the plant in a very small container (the lower half of a 500 ml water bottle may do) and pack the moss loosely. The plant should dry out between waterings as usual. I have tried this method and it works.