Various Cattleya dormancy

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Duck Slipper

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I mentioned this in another thread and thought it would be better off with its own thread.
How do growers handle dormancy periods for species? I have searched on ST, googled and have Chadwicks book with not much info. Warscewiczii, dowiana, Jenmani, Leudemannia, Mossiae. Interestingly enough, I have not found a lot of info. Watering...how much, some info says not at all or misting?
 

abax

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I used to grow and bloom Catts. and I did well with them in slotted clay pots with
very coarse bark, charcoal and perlite. Watered perhaps once a week, but I did
keep bamboo skewers in the pots to make sure they were reasonably dry. I
definitely wouldn't mist.
 

monocotman

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As I acquire more Catt species I am learning more about them and I am tending to keep the plants quite dry during dormancy.
I grow all the species you mention.
They only need water to stop the bulbs from shrivelling and if you use this as a measure, it is very little. For me this is maybe a little water once a month.
If I see root growth during this period then I will spray the compost as well.
Of course, it all depends on your local conditions, sun, humidity levels and potting mix etc etc.
David
 

Ray

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I could be wrong, as I have not been big on species catts for quite a while, but I believe in general that “rest” is more about no nitrogen than it is about no water.

In the wild, epiphytes primarily get fed when it rains. If the rain frequency is reduced, the feeding is, as well. That is further confirmed by Baker culture sheets, where one often sees a comment like “rain is generally decreased over the period, but fog and dew are plentiful” (or something like that).

Plus, people growing “rest-requiring” plants in semi-hydroponics that continue to water - but with plain water only - have just as good blooming as those that allow them to go dry, with the added benefit of not having to “replump” the growths.
 

Duck Slipper

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Interesting...seedling/young plants treated differently? I have a Dowiana and Jenmani that are maybe 8” Ls., have new growths, and have been watered very little. Makes me think they are breaking dormancy? Thanks for any and all comments.
 

DrLeslieEe

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In all the years that I have grown cattleya species, there is no one rule that applies to all of them. The general guide of reducing water in winter is because pots take longer to dry in less sun and cooler temperatures. So watering times are extended for this reason. Ray is also right in that less sun (and no active growth) means less feed. David is also right in that all variables must be taken into consideration in your grow area.

You have to watch each plant and know their cycles, which may differ even within the same species. This is especially if you grow them under constant lights (like me at 12 hours in winter). I water my plants throughout the year and never rest them. I just let them dry one or two days longer.

My general home growing guidelines are these:

1. plants that are in active growth requires feed and water, no matter what time of the year. Jenmanii and warneri grow through winter. Trianae, warscewicziis and lueddemaniana may start as early as late winter (Feb/March). So watch new growths and water accordingly. Good nitrogen is essential for strong growths and good light (even in winter).

2. when growths mature, there are two ways to treat them:

a) for winter growers, they usually flower straight away in early spring so must have constant water and feed to maintain flowers, rooting usually after flowering. They will usually rest through summer with regular watering and less feed (roots dry in between).

b) for summer growers like labiata, schroederae, maxima, dowiana, eldorado, bifoliates, violacea, percivaliana, mossiae, and trianae (second growths), water and feed well till fall, then pull back feed (to once a month) but regular watering (after they dry 1-2 days). They will trigger blooms themselves by the amount of light and darkness. Labiatas will flower in Sept, jenmanii in Oct, maxima in November, percivaliana in Dec, trianae in Jan, schroderae in Feb, etc.

3. Dowiana, walkeriana, nobilior and most bifoliates will flower as soon as growths are maturing in the middle of summer. These need a good drying period in winter (**very important to let dry 2-3 days if no active growth or roots will rot very very easily) and almost NO feed (until new growths start in early spring).

4. I spray my plants almost every day throughout the year, esp sunny days and early (before 12 noon) but they dry by nightfall. NEVER leave wet leaves on Cattleyas or they will rot the new growths (even if the water isn't visible on the new growths). Increase air circulation if you have to.

TIP: During spraying a thin mist is on the leaves and pot surface, but I spray a little water stream on the inside of the pots (trickle down the inside of the pots) so that the roots grow in to find the water.

Since most of my plants are on semi-water culture (little water tray under each pot), the roots look downwards to find the water instead of wandering outside (the occasional wandering roots are guided back into pot with a tag push from the sides).

TIP: You can put a little moss below the new growths to encourage roots to go into the pot (if you find them wandering way too much).

5. If in doubt to water, DON'T! Better to wait a day or two. They can tolerate dryness in medium than too wet.

This is my method. Hope it may help shed some insight.
 

tomp

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as an aside to dormancy,

Cattleya (and most other) can tolerate MUCH colder temps if kept dry.
 

PeteM

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In all the years that I have grown cattleya species, there is no one rule that applies to all of them. The general guide of reducing water in winter is because pots take longer to dry in less sun and cooler temperatures. So watering times are extended for this reason. Ray is also right in that less sun (and no active growth) means less feed. David is also right in that all variables must be taken into consideration in your grow area.

You have to watch each plant and know their cycles, which may differ even within the same species. This is especially if you grow them under constant lights (like me at 12 hours in winter). I water my plants throughout the year and never rest them. I just let them dry one or two days longer.

My general home growing guidelines are these:

1. plants that are in active growth requires feed and water, no matter what time of the year. Jenmanii and warneri grow through winter. Trianae, warscewicziis and lueddemaniana may start as early as late winter (Feb/March). So watch new growths and water accordingly. Good nitrogen is essential for strong growths and good light (even in winter).

2. when growths mature, there are two ways to treat them:

a) for winter growers, they usually flower straight away in early spring so must have constant water and feed to maintain flowers, rooting usually after flowering. They will usually rest through summer with regular watering and less feed (roots dry in between).

b) for summer growers like labiata, schroederae, maxima, dowiana, eldorado, bifoliates, violacea, percivaliana, mossiae, and trianae (second growths), water and feed well till fall, then pull back feed (to once a month) but regular watering (after they dry 1-2 days). They will trigger blooms themselves by the amount of light and darkness. Labiatas will flower in Sept, jenmanii in Oct, maxima in November, percivaliana in Dec, trianae in Jan, schroderae in Feb, etc.

3. Dowiana, walkeriana, nobilior and most bifoliates will flower as soon as growths are maturing in the middle of summer. These need a good drying period in winter (**very important to let dry 2-3 days if no active growth or roots will rot very very easily) and almost NO feed (until new growths start in early spring).

4. I spray my plants almost every day throughout the year, esp sunny days and early (before 12 noon) but they dry by nightfall. NEVER leave wet leaves on Cattleyas or they will rot the new growths (even if the water isn't visible on the new growths). Increase air circulation if you have to.

TIP: During spraying a thin mist is on the leaves and pot surface, but I spray a little water stream on the inside of the pots (trickle down the inside of the pots) so that the roots grow in to find the water.

Since most of my plants are on semi-water culture (little water tray under each pot), the roots look downwards to find the water instead of wandering outside (the occasional wandering roots are guided back into pot with a tag push from the sides).

TIP: You can put a little moss below the new growths to encourage roots to go into the pot (if you find them wandering way too much).

5. If in doubt to water, DON'T! Better to wait a day or two. They can tolerate dryness in medium than too wet.

This is my method. Hope it may help shed some insight.
I need to start printing your threads out.. or maybe you should write a book! Great advice for every level of grower.
 

DrLeslieEe

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Thanks Pete. These are just my experiences. The Bible is still the Chadwick book, which I (swear) have read 500 times. I had memorized it by now lol.
 

PeteM

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Thanks Pete. These are just my experiences. The Bible is still the Chadwick book, which I (swear) have read 500 times. I had memorized it by now lol.
I got mine in the mail a week ago and have been in deep review. Still, it’s so much info that it will take me years to memorize. I would also highly recommend Dr. Motes book, which also just came out.. his second edition of Vanda growing goes into detail on many fronts, all which can be applied across the board.. this book reads so well and is full of basic tips that are often overlooked by the best growers.. like how to water, what to aim for when you position plants .. included a page so others get a sense of what a joy it is to read.

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DrLeslieEe

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Yes I've had the cattleya book for almost 10 years and have had time to memorize everything by now. You will too eventually. (Also memorized the cattleya books of Guido, Fowlei, Aulisii, Menezes, Withner, Tolumonde et al)

I have Motes book on Vanda hybridization and Grove's Vanda species book too. Memorized as well lol.

An addition, all the paphs books of Cribb, Braeme, Koopowitz, Gruss et al. committed to my memory cell archives.

Despite the negative review of the Frizzen's 'Paphiopedilum Secrets Revealed' I ordered it to peruse. Got damp on shipping from Europe so will start when fully dried. Luckily the water didn't smudge the color or print.

So as you can see, I'm a walking encyclopedia lol.
 

tomp

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Regarding reference works on Cattleya culture I can also recommend:

Orchid Digest Vol 68 (4). The whole supplement is good however The article by William P Rogerson “Cattleya Species and their Culture “ pp 196-219 is excellent with species by species specifics.

The St Augustine Orchid Society has an archive of articles by Sue Bottom (she is a national treasure in my opinion) one of which summarizes the repot/bloom schedule month by month for most all of the Cattleya species all on one page.
 

PeteM

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Yes I've had the cattleya book for almost 10 years and have had time to memorize everything by now. You will too eventually. (Also memorized the cattleya books of Guido, Fowlei, Aulisii, Menezes, Withner, Tolumonde et al)

I have Motes book on Vanda hybridization and Grove's Vanda species book too. Memorized as well lol.

An addition, all the paphs books of Cribb, Braeme, Koopowitz, Gruss et al. committed to my memory cell archives.

Despite the negative review of the Frizzen's 'Paphiopedilum Secrets Revealed' I ordered it to peruse. Got damp on shipping from Europe so will start when fully dried. Luckily the water didn't smudge the color or print.

So as you can see, I'm a walking encyclopedia lol.
I do have a few of the Withner books. I will need to look into the others, thanks for posting . I really enjoy the books that are heavy on cultivation. History is fantastic but I’m the one that always ( even with the classic Cattleya book) skips directly to the culture page to find out what I’m doing wrong :)
 

Duck Slipper

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I do have a few of the Withner books. I will need to look into the others, thanks for posting . I really enjoy the books that are heavy on cultivation. History is fantastic but I’m the one that always ( even with the classic Cattleya book) skips directly to the culture page to find out what I’m doing wrong :)
I enjoy the history also, but the culture is the reason I purchased.
 

DrLeslieEe

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Unless you do a lot of taxonomic research and genus review like me, the sections on history and plant morphology are much less important than culture sections.

Learning the origins, habitats and growing tips are very important to grow them successfully.

Like you all I refer to cultural section a lot when my plants are not thriving.

Thats why we salivate over insitu pics and study them thoroughly lol. Its great to see these pics from other members here. Please keep them coming!
 

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Looks like I'm very late to the party but enjoyed reading all this input, thanks gentlemen. Pete the page you uploaded from the Motes book is great—"like a special sort of cactus"—no joke. I have been focused on Cattleya rex for the past few years and have lost multiple to root and bulb rot, almost always around this time of year. I cut fertilizing down to almost nothing in November, but still water almost daily. Since they're potted in granite rocks, they are usually bone dry after one day, but there are some in plastic pots that hold little pools of water at the bottom of the pot, so I have to double check these are dry. I have even had a plant rot that was in bark/perlite in a net basket, because the core of the medium stayed too wet.
 

southernbelle

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Yes I've had the cattleya book for almost 10 years and have had time to memorize everything by now. You will too eventually. (Also memorized the cattleya books of Guido, Fowlei, Aulisii, Menezes, Withner, Tolumonde et al)

I have Motes book on Vanda hybridization and Grove's Vanda species book too. Memorized as well lol.

An addition, all the paphs books of Cribb, Braeme, Koopowitz, Gruss et al. committed to my memory cell archives.

So as you can see, I'm a walking encyclopedia lol.
Boy would I love to have your memory!! I feel like all I do is try to learn what I should already know over again!! I have all the books you mention except the last one. I should not have to ask so many questions, I fear. I think I tried to learn these things too early in my growing (officially under controlled conditions, as nothing but phals would bloom on windowsills for me), and all the info blended together as I had no real basis. Time to take one type at a time...
This thread has been extremely helpful. I’ve printed the whole thing!!
 

PeteM

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Boy would I love to have your memory!! I feel like all I do is try to learn what I should already know over again!! I have all the books you mention except the last one. I should not have to ask so many questions, I fear. I think I tried to learn these things too early in my growing (officially under controlled conditions, as nothing but phals would bloom on windowsills for me), and all the info blended together as I had no real basis. Time to take one type at a time...
This thread has been extremely helpful. I’ve printed the whole thing!!
You are always so on top of it! Parsing all the info. I too have no long term storage.. and need to reread the cultivation again and again so as not to jumble the data.
 

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