Cattleya trianae, a four year journey

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Following on from Terry’s comments about keeping or throwing plants like his lovely clone of Arthos and needing patience and good culture to see full potential.
This arrived as a random eBay find from Germany four years ago.
I only bought it as the plant looked great.
The first bloom is very average.
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It made quite an improvement in the second year and in addition there are flammea markings.IMG_0798.jpeg
In the third year the plant went on its travels and spent four months in a cool Welsh farmhouse before flowering. This probably accounts for the drop in bloom quality.
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This season the plant has had a full growth cycle in the new grow room with high light LED’s, a higher overall temperature, humidity and some air movement. The improvement in flower quality is clear. The other lead has two more buds just breaking the sheath. Our local orchid society’s monthly meeting was last Sunday, just before it opened, but with trianae it may well still be looking good in January.
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Growth across the four years has been steady with no setbacks and the plant was repotted at the beginning of this growing season when new roots were evident. So the improvement in quality is down to a combination of maturity and culture.

David
 
Think of the patience it takes. it’s really a hobby for a young person. Like many human traits, our orchid results may be close to 50% nature and nurture. I have limited space (and years) to try with any plant. I think you did the “three flowering” trial because you had to discount your adventure in Wales. I am finally confident in my cultural practices so a healthy plant with a mediocre flower on its second bloom is probably going to move out for me.
 
Agreed Terry. If you’re confident of your culture then it’s possible to make a good assessment earlier than four years!
It’s been interesting to see the flowers across the four years span and correlate them to the quality of my culture. We’re always learning. The latest change is the pot after discussions on this forum.
The plant after the repot last spring was moved into a tiered (widest at the top) and grooved pot full of holes, so has excellent air circulation for the roots.
It sits in the larger pot. I leave a tiny bit of water in the larger pot after watering.
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What a nice journey you had with this plant. The improvement is impressive.

That’s why I always recommend a few reblooms with the 3rd time the best if all factors are stable.
 
Very nice flowers and great improvement, indeed. It is my experience, too, that several of labiata type catts show the similar thing: if plant is in good condition, flowers are much colorful with better shape and in many cases there can be seen plus flares or flamea like colouration.
Eg. my Mooreana improvement.
Screenshot_20231206_214949.jpgScreenshot_20231206_215011.jpg
 
Agreed Terry. If you’re confident of your culture then it’s possible to make a good assessment earlier than four years!
It’s been interesting to see the flowers across the four years span and correlate them to the quality of my culture. We’re always learning. The latest change is the pot after discussions on this forum.
The plant after the repot last spring was moved into a tiered (widest at the top) and grooved pot full of holes, so has excellent air circulation for the roots.
It sits in the larger pot. I leave a tiny bit of water in the larger pot after watering.
View attachment 44056
We agree that air at the root zone is key. Better to have maximum air and more frequent watering. The opaque outer put gives you increased pot stability and should block cyanobacteria growth on the walls of the real pot. What is it like when you try and take that root mass and divide/repot?
 
Very nice flowers and great improvement, indeed. It is my experience, too, that several of labiata type catts show the similar thing: if plant is in good condition, flowers are much colorful with better shape and in many cases there can be seen plus flares or flamea like colouration.
Eg. my Mooreana improvement.
View attachment 44057View attachment 44058
Istvan, how much of the change was your growing conditions through the year and how much was a difference in the conditions while the buds developed (e.g., cooler)? Was it a much larger plant? The difference is incredible.
 
Terry, they’re new pots for me in the past year. I haven’t repotted any of these yet. I wouldn’t be too worried about breaking off external roots When repotting at the right time. There are plenty in the pot already. It has vertical grooves on all its internal surfaces that direct the surface roots downwards.
 
This is a timely thread, during these winter months I invest a lot of time observing the plants and wrestling with these same questions as I try to map out the next steps for the upcoming spring repotting extravaganza :).

I’ve found that with cattleyas I have seen the most success with growth and roots using a larger round exterior transparent plastic pot with an upside net pot inside the bottom. I’ve read about this method before but never tried it until @southernbelle brought it up in another thread. It was one method I tried a year or two back with excellent results. Many of the roots stayed in the pot and the growths have been increasing in size.

Obviously, this method is limited by space, but the most important observation for me is my other method of a nested net pot in an aircone pot does not seem to be working as well for many cattleyas. The roots seem to walk out the top of the pot faster than I expected and the new growth so far has seemed limited by this. My path forward will be to flip a smaller net pot into the bottom of the aircone and see if this produces favorable results. Basically, invert the media and interior pot so the air pocket is centered and under the media.

David was smart to use thin slotted interior pots. I recently repotted one of these net pot cattleyas and it was extremely difficult to get the plant out without extensive root damage as the net pot slots are too large and allowed the roots to grow everywhere.

It’s one giant experiment always. The fun is in the growing.
 
Terry, the larger of the two blooms is 13cm but of course the petals fall forward quite a bit as in mossiae. It’s not at all flat.
Pete, indeed it’s too early for me to say whether the root damage during repotting will be too great. Most have only been in their pots for a year or less. My feeling is that I’ll be using the cheap net pots sold for aquatic plants more and more. These are cheap enough to chop up and destroy during repotting and allow more roots to be unharmed.
 
Think of the patience it takes. it’s really a hobby for a young person. Like many human traits, our orchid results may be close to 50% nature and nurture. I have limited space (and years) to try with any plant. I think you did the “three flowering” trial because you had to discount your adventure in Wales. I am finally confident in my cultural practices so a healthy plant with a mediocre flower on its second bloom is probably going to move out for me.
Terry, you know I think you’re the absolute best, but you sound like an old guy 😉. I know I’m considerably older than you as I don’t think you are retired yet, and I’m almost 10 years past that mark (well actually almost 8)! It’s not how many years I have left, as that is only for God to know, but I live the same… lest I discard an Arthos!! Sometimes you just gotta keep, keeping on! Then you can say you did your best! To me, that’s living.
 
Terry, you know I think you’re the absolute best, but you sound like an old guy 😉. I know I’m considerably older than you as I don’t think you are retired yet, and I’m almost 10 years past that mark (well actually almost 8)! It’s not how many years I have left, as that is only for God to know, but I live the same… lest I discard an Arthos!! Sometimes you just gotta keep, keeping on! Then you can say you did your best! To me, that’s living.
Sound like, and am! 75 years. I would still buy green bananas, but as a physician I am realistic about my future. The probability that I am still growing orchids in 10 years is low. With that time horizon, holding on to a mediocre flower for multiple years to see if it will get better isn’t as attractive as buying a clean, blooming-size mericlone of something that is already great. Time for me to enjoy great flowers and leave the gambling on new crosses and long experiments on growing conditions to Patrick and other young ones in our hobby.
 
Sound like, and am! 75 years. I would still buy green bananas, but as a physician I am realistic about my future. The probability that I am still growing orchids in 10 years is low. With that time horizon, holding on to a mediocre flower for multiple years to see if it will get better isn’t as attractive as buying a clean, blooming-size mericlone of something that is already great. Time for me to enjoy great flowers and leave the gambling on new crosses and long experiments on growing conditions to Patrick and other young ones in our hobby.
Ok, you had me fooled by your energy to keep working. I didn’t think you were retirement age!
 
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