Growing cattleyas at me

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Keeping cattleyas is a complex matter. On the one hand, it is easy because they are adaptable plants with good regeneration properties, but there are also difficulties.
I keep the larger labiatas and large double-leaved cattleyas in coarse-grained bark, the smaller species and the seedlings in the slipper medium I use (small bark, seramis, small pumice, 1:1:1). I never over-water the pots, they always only get as much water with a hand shower as it moistens the surface of the medium. Roots rot easily deep in the pot if can't dry out and rot spreads to rhizome, this happening is fatal for the plant.From spring to autumn, every morning in warm, sunny weather, every 2-3 days in rainy, overcast periods. Each time with fertilizer, full EC 300 uS/cm, with Peters Excel CalMag salt dissolved in rainwater. Last winter I kept them at 18 C degrees but many of them started to grow so this year I am planning only 14 degrees. In winter, they receive water without fertilizer once a week, similarly only as a shallow shower.
Difficulties:
the roots tend to climb out of the pot. I try to plant in such a way that the root trunk is below the level of the pot approx. by 2 cm.
The new shoots often lie down, grow obliquely, not straight up.
In winter, there is little air movement and light, when a new shoot starts, it is prone to bacterial rot. For this reason, I am planning a colder one this year, to see if they don't start driving.
They tolerate the heat well in summer, although the plant is not damaged in the heat, but it drops the bud.
I have a high preassure fogger in my GH, I set it between 65 - 70 percent humidity. It acts as cooler well, too.
 
Nice description, Istvan. Are the temperatures you list of 18 C and 14 C the low temperatures, the average temperatures, or even the steady temperatures for winter?
It is steady temp, yes.I have two panels with thermostat, i can adjust the correct temp. That is true just when outer temp is lower, of course.
 
I must admit Istvan, you have encouraged me to try a few more Cattleyas underlights! And it feels great!!
In your image of the dowiana in bloom, it seems to be potted deeply to me. But if it works for you. I try to keep the rhizome half covered by media.
So far I have acquired a coerulea leopoldii, a nice tigrina, a walkeriana, forbesii and two semi-alba hybrids. I am going to try met pots in an attempt to keep the roots drier and cooler. My biggest issue is mealybugs but I think I have found a way to keep them off of, and out of the Catts.!!
Oh, I have a purpurata too.
 
I must admit Istvan, you have encouraged me to try a few more Cattleyas underlights! And it feels great!!
In your image of the dowiana in bloom, it seems to be potted deeply to me. But if it works for you. I try to keep the rhizome half covered by media.
So far I have acquired a coerulea leopoldii, a nice tigrina, a walkeriana, forbesii and two semi-alba hybrids. I am going to try met pots in an attempt to keep the roots drier and cooler. My biggest issue is mealybugs but I think I have found a way to keep them off of, and out of the Catts.!!
Oh, I have a purpurata too.
big923cattleya, what is your way to keep mealy bugs off Catts?
 
big923cattleya, what is your way to keep mealy bugs off Catts?
Kill'em little bastards! 😈

I add 15-20 ml paraffin oil (lighter fluids) + 15 ml (1 tbs) uncoloured dishwashing liquid to 1 ltr lukewarm water. Shake it well and spray it on the leaves of infested plant(s). It's important to keep shaking quite ofte, while spraying. Kills off quite effectively mites too. To be repeated once a week (every 5-7 days, depending on the hatching cycle of the vermin you want to exterminate!

It's a very cheap and efficient remedy, if you keep a few things in mind. To avoid leaves being scorched because of the oil, don't place the plants in direct sun light, during the treatment periode and a while after (maybe when 100% sure that the pest is gone wipe the leaves with a damp cloth, before again placing the plant back in more direct sun light).
Have worked well for me in treating Phals, Paphs and Cattleyas - got the tip from a lady specializing in Neofineta falcata (100+ clones). I probably would avoid using this treatment strategy for plants with more delicate leavage, though.
 
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I meticulously trim off old sheaths and sarongs, those paper like things on the pseudobulbs. I visually inspect each plant twice a month paying very close attention to the point where the leaf attaches to the bulb. I watch the base of the bulb where the vegetative eyes are. Those seem to be the common points of attack.
Minor infestations I spritz with 50% alcohol and rinse after a few minutes. The alcohol kills on contact.
I also spray once a month with Neem oil. I spent 9 years in Florida where black rot was a huge problem. Neem controls both insects and diseases. Both bacterial and fungal issues.
Neem is a systemic and takes care of fungal, bacterial, insect issues. I spray the Neem oil throughout my collection on the first weekend of a month. After spraying for 4-6 months, the plants are able to fight off problems due to the Neem being in the plant tissues.
But I have to say that under lights I grow on the dry side. My plants are outdoors but will be coming in soon. I also should mention that my 3 light carts are in one room. A 16” oscillating fan is on in that room 24/7. It helps to dry things out.
So many of these beasties, mealies in particular live in the media. I hope that using plastic net pots will help me to spot those nasty buggers!! I know this is confusing and a lot of work but it is even more work once those guys get established. Diligence is the key.
No insecticides at all.
 
big923cattleya, what is your way to keep mealy bugs off Catts?
I use Vertimec Pro, systemic insecticide.Oil or any mechanic way is good as just an adjuvant therapy.Rhizome is very often affected, invisible but it leads to the death of the plants.
 
Thanks for the culture tips.

The only difference culturally in mine is that I don’t have the GH capability to maintain the 60-70% humidity indoors. That might be my issue with dowiana success. Tried S/H but that’s only good for younger plants.
 
I meticulously trim off old sheaths and sarongs, those paper like things on the pseudobulbs. I visually inspect each plant twice a month paying very close attention to the point where the leaf attaches to the bulb. I watch the base of the bulb where the vegetative eyes are. Those seem to be the common points of attack.
Minor infestations I spritz with 50% alcohol and rinse after a few minutes. The alcohol kills on contact.
I also spray once a month with Neem oil. I spent 9 years in Florida where black rot was a huge problem. Neem controls both insects and diseases. Both bacterial and fungal issues.
Neem is a systemic and takes care of fungal, bacterial, insect issues. I spray the Neem oil throughout my collection on the first weekend of a month. After spraying for 4-6 months, the plants are able to fight off problems due to the Neem being in the plant tissues.
But I have to say that under lights I grow on the dry side. My plants are outdoors but will be coming in soon. I also should mention that my 3 light carts are in one room. A 16” oscillating fan is on in that room 24/7. It helps to dry things out.
So many of these beasties, mealies in particular live in the media. I hope that using plastic net pots will help me to spot those nasty buggers!! I know this is confusing and a lot of work but it is even more work once those guys get established. Diligence is the key.
No insecticides at all.
Thank you for the tip about the Neem oil - both what pertains its systemic propensities and its broad spectered effect! I'll look out for where to buy it this side of the Atlantic!
Any precautions one should take in using it, e.g. oil vs direct sunlight (if you used it in Florida, I kind of guess this can't be a major problem with regards to the leaves being scorched!)?
 
Oh yes, that is true. I would spray early in the day but I preferred late afternoon. The way my property was orientated, the morning sun would rise over my one-story house roof as early as 7:30, give or take. It possibly was not strong enough to burn but why take chances?
Spraying late in the afternoon gave my plants a chance to dry off over night. My growing area was shaded after three o’clock or so.
But then again, not many orchid hobbyists will experience that intense sun exposure that SW Florida provides. Where I lived in Cape Coral, the summer solstice placed the sun at an angle of 87 degrees, almost vertically overhead. Very little shade was available. I grew everything under 50 or 60% woven shade cloth. And I never experienced any burning of plant tissue due to the sun but then again, I played it very safe.
 
@dodidoki
You mentioned that you use Peters CalMag fertilizer. When this fertilizer is dissolved in rainwater, have you noticed that it causes a significant drop in the pH of the solution? At the beginning of this year I experimented with this fertilizer and had to add tap water (10%) to bring the pH up to around 6.1. Here in Belgium, we have very hard tap water (40°F - 22° dH). You write that the conductivity of your solution is 300 µS with this value your nitrogen concentration would be well below 50 ppm N. Unless you distribute your fertilizer several times a week, in my experience you wouldn't be able to get a mature plant in a year.
Here are my questions:
Do you adjust the pH of your fertilizer solution?
Do you distribute your fertilizer solution several times a week?
How do you calibrate your conductivity meter? Here it's with KCL 0.005 molar (=718 µS).
 
@dodidoki
You mentioned that you use Peters CalMag fertilizer. When this fertilizer is dissolved in rainwater, have you noticed that it causes a significant drop in the pH of the solution? At the beginning of this year I experimented with this fertilizer and had to add tap water (10%) to bring the pH up to around 6.1. Here in Belgium, we have very hard tap water (40°F - 22° dH). You write that the conductivity of your solution is 300 µS with this value your nitrogen concentration would be well below 50 ppm N. Unless you distribute your fertilizer several times a week, in my experience you wouldn't be able to get a mature plant in a year.
Here are my questions:
Do you adjust the pH of your fertilizer solution?
Do you distribute your fertilizer solution several times a week?
How do you calibrate your conductivity meter? Here it's with KCL 0.005 molar (=718 µS).
Thank you for questions.
I don t use tap water only collected rain water. EC of rain water here between cca. 20-45 uS/cm.
I have no ph meter, I never measured the ph of fertilizer solution but i have not bad experience with Peters at all. I use CalMag formula, because rain water does not contain these important elements at all.
Yes, 300 uS fertilizer is less than 50 ppm N, but i give it every day in the growing period as foliar feeding as i mentioned above. It is more natural way of feeding than if i would give a much higer cc. fertilizer and nothing for many days after.Roots can damage easily if get any osmotic shock.
Calibrating solution is attached. I use 2.0 Beta value, because this fertilizer contains only inorganic salts( urea free).Screenshot_20230825_172134.jpg
 
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BTW. I tried to give my catts higher cc. fertilizer periodically last year. I had next experiences: bigger growth, but less in number, faster growing , maybe a little more flowers, but decreased resistance against bacterial and fungal disease. ( so called grown on steroids plants). The last fact because of i decided to change to more frequent feeding with less concentrated solution.
 
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