Cattleya sheeth

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Feb 24, 2023
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Hello there. I have some cattleyas that have sheeths. However one has 2 sheeths but they are dried out and a bit crisp. Another on has a sheeth that is a bit puffed up but seems a little wrinkly. I do not have a lot of experience with cattleya so do these still have the chance to bloom? Thanks
Most Cattleyas do bloom from a sheath. It is a sign of maturity, being a precursor to blooming.
Some bloom from a brown sheath, some from a green one. But a sheath is not a guarantee of flowers but it is a good sign.
I myself remove brown sheaths. It is a delicate process. First make sure by gently feeling the sheath with two fingers from the side, you can tell if buds are inside. If I am not feeling buds ready to erupt through the sheath, I take a small tiny piece off of the top of the brown sheath using tiny floral scissors.
I then make a tiny incision down vertically into the sheath. You can now carefully pull the two sheath pieces apart and look for buds. However some people just leave any sheath, green or brown, alone. You could easily destroy buds if you are not EXTREMELY CAREFUL.
Green sheaths I leave alone. You could let bright light shine through the green sheath to “candle” it looking to see any signs of buds.
Cattleya guttata blooms from a dried sheath, Cattleya tigrina blooms from a green sheath. Tigrina use to be Leopoldii.
Cattleya loddigesii blooms from a dried sheath, Cattleya harrisoniana blooms from a green sheath.
Oh Theodore, I should have added this but my raggidity old brain forgot.
I am largely a product of older orchid knowledge. A lot of what I initially learned comes from the 70’s and 80’s. Once I had children, I got away from a lot of reading and research. Instead I relied on my observations.

When I started with orchids in 1974, many people removed dried sheaths because they felt that tender buds might get caught up within those sheaths causing the buds to abort by being stuck inside. I found that that idea seemed to make sense. I also saw first hand that a strong, well grown Cattleya spike can push through that dried sheath.

I had a couple of Cattleya hybrids heavily influenced by Cattleya aurantiaca produce dried sheaths and buds died. I guess I kind of go by habit, I made it a habit to slice open dried sheaths. I want to give the buds a chance to develop unencumbered by the dry sheath. It is not so much about proof or anything but I do it to make me feel better.

Such hybrids like C. Bob Betts, C. Bow Bells, and C. Horace grow like they are made of steel! Their buds seemingly could push through concrete!