Friday, December 16, 2011

Cattleya warscewiczii

Cattleya warscewiczii is not the easiest plant to grow, but it is spectacular when grown well.  I am going to give it a try.  This bareroot division arrived yesterday.  I think it will start throwing off new roots soon and then I'll have to decide how to pot it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baby it's cold outside...

OK, not really.  But it is cold for Cattleyas.  Temps have been getting to low 30s at night which means my half-baked "greenhouse" heating set-up results in temps in the low 40s.  Too cold, but at least the plants won't freeze to death.  One day I'll have a proper greenhouse and maintain temps in low to mid 50s at night.  I'm sure the collection will be much happier.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Primary hybrids

A primary hybrid is the result of cross between two species.  A secondary hybrid is the result of a cross between two primary hybrids (typically when none of the parents of the primaries are shared - i.e., there are four species represented in a secondary hybrid, each contributing 25% of the genes). 

Modern Cattleya hybrids usually are very complex but obviously in the early days of hybridization it was all primary hybrids.  People are fond of primary hybrids because they retain much of the charm of species but tend to be more vigorous.  Many of these plants were lovely (to read the descriptions from the old gardening literature) but are now lost.  They would have to re-created.

Here is a web site listing several primary hybrids.  You will not recognize most of the names.

Of course, Arthur Chadwick's articles regularly mention primaries that are currently unavailable.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

C. labiata

Last year this plant was about to bloom when all the buds blasted. That will not happen this year.  There are 10 buds on four growths.  Not great but considering it is a first bloom, pretty good.  Good, well grown clones can have 5 flowers per inflorescence.  This plant is from Tropical Orchid Farm.

As usual for this time of year, I feel that almost the entire collection is on the razor's edge between over and underwatering.  Obviously in winter one wants to err towards the latter.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

C. labiata semi-alba buds

Last year I had a Cal-Orchid seedling bloom for the first time.  I was impressed - four, big, nice flowers.  This year it was growing from two leads, both of which had a sheath.  However, one sheath has no obvious buds and the other has only two.  I am wondering if it is because it used so much energy making the two growths this year.  In any case, I expect good things from this plant in the future.  This a bit late blooming - many of my plants seem to be.  If this is true, I wonder if hot summers and cold winters just slow things down relative to bloom times under better conditions.

The plant to the left is different C. labiata semi-alba seedling also from Cal-Orchid that I expect will bloom for the first time in about a year.  The eagle-eyed among you might see what is the tip of an L. anceps spike in the lower left area of the photo. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

C. labiata amesiana x self

I got this plant from Miranda Orchids a few years ago.  Last year the single bud blasted and the year before I had one measly flower.  This year again, just one bud. 

This plant is not thriving.  I've learned that rather than being stubborn, the best thing to do if a plant is not doing well is to change and hope for better performance.  I went through a period when I potted lots of seedlings in 4" wood baskets and in retrospect that appears to have been a mistake.  It is hot and dry here in summer, which I suspect is a problem with small baskets.  If I were growing in a greenhouse in moderate, humid conditions it probably would have been fine.  This year this plant and several other will be moved to pots with orchiata bark and then we'll see what happens.  It could also be the case this is just a weak plant and that it could only thrive in optimal conditions.  We shall see.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cattleya Gene's Dream 'Mendenhall'

This Carter and Holmes mericlone looks like a very nice plant and only three species in there (C. lueddemanniana x C. mossiae) x C. percivaliana!  But alas, it is not fragant (I'm surprised...) and so won't go onto my list.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winter home

I got my 10 x 10 King Canopy temporary greenhouse up last weekend and just in time -cold and wet this weekend.  Still have a lot of organizing to do in here.  Can you see the Plumeria cutting I started this summer?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cattleya labiata

First labiata bloom of the season.  This is a first bloom seedling resulting from the cross of two rubra forms from SVO Orchids.  Not bad for a first bloom.  The color is darker and more saturated in real life.  I'm not capturing it well here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cattleya maxima

I have four maximas blooming or about to bloom.  Here is the first.  Some clones of this type have over 20 flowers.  I would love to get one of those...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

L. anceps spiking

A couple of anceps are spiking.  Here is a youngish plant that is starting to take off.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Neofinetias

Finally pulled the trigger on a species I've been thinking about for a while, Neofinetia falcata.  The good folks at Cal-Orchid have a nice deal, three for $60 and James Rose threw in 2 smaller seedlings for free.  I thought about basket or mount but in the end decided to re-pot in a airy orchiata bark/perlite mix in a slotted plastic pot. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

C. maxima buds

Still alive out here, though work and life have resulted in few posts.

Here is the maxima that I showed last year.  The plant is getting well established and flower count looks to improve.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Brassavola David Sander

First blooming of this primary hybrid between Brassavola cucullata and Brassavola digbyana.  The digbyana parent has since been re-named Rhyncholaelia digbyana, but we'll still call the hybrid a Brassavola.  I sent two siblings of this plant over to Richard at Backbulbs Blog.  I suspect they will look a lot like this plant.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Epidendrum nocturnum

A reliable bloomer, which blooms from both old and new growths.  Nice evening fragrance.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stanhopea jenischiana update

About three months ago I noticed my S. jenischiana spiking.  Turns out there are two spikes.  The more mature one look set to open flowers next week.  I'm amazed at the resources the plant puts into the flowers.  Looking forward to the (brief) show.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cattleya Hardyana

This is a first bloom seedling of the semi-alba form of this famous primary hybrid between C. warscewiczii and C. dowiana.  Chadwick's article on this plant is very informative.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

C. purpurata carnea

Here is another carnea blooming.  A while back I sent a couple of backbulbs to Richard, telling him I wasn't sure if there were two different plants.  I am now positive that there are two different plants.  This one has a much darker lip and more color.  I prefer this one.  It should get better next year, now that it is getting established in a new basket.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cattleya purpurata carnea

A reliable bloomer.  Moved to a basket last year, so not quite as nice as it can be.  This plant seems more attractive to thrips than most of my other plants.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Oncidium leucochilum seedlings

Oncidium leucochilum is a nice species.  I picked up two seedlings for a good price.  When I was re-potting them, a third small seedling was discovered and put in a third pot.  Look at all those new roots!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Maxillaria tenuifolia

This is a nice species, well known for the coconut fragrance it emits.  Last year this plant had two measly blooms; this year there are about 20.  No idea why.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Two Encyclia cordigera

The alba and semi-alba forms.  The alba form is distinct in a few ways - I wonder if it is a different species.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


My Stanhopea jenischiana is spiking.  I got this in spike two years ago from Oak Hill Gardens but the spike broke off during shipping.  This will be my first Stanhopea flowering.  The spikes grow downward through the media, which is why most people grow them in baskets, often wire rather than wood.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cattleya compots (community pots)

Well, a while back I mentioned my low success rate with flasks and the fact that despite that, I bought another flask - C. labiata.  The flask came about two months ago, and things are going much better this time.

In previous attempts I potted seedlings into compots and put them in my regular grow area.  They received a bit of extra attention, but no special conditions.  This time I did a few things differently.

First, I bought a small T5 grow light and retrieved an old fish tank from the garage - this was the grow chamber.  Second, I potted the seedlings in seedling bark or seedling bark + sphagnum instead of straight sphagnum (my earlier attempts).  Finally, and now I believe, very importantly, I dramatically boosted humidity by placing the compots in large bags.  These were not sealed, but even so, the humidity in each bag was pretty high.  The seedlings have been doing very well with hardly any mortality.

By the way, it makes no economic sense for me to do this, and if the seedlings continue to thrive, I'll have real space problems...but it is fun.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Encyclia patens

A very fragrant Encyclia from Brazil.  I have had this for two years, I think, and it is just starting to grow well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cattleya mendelii

The color is very nice.  This plant produced four new growths but only one bloomed, and only two flowers.  It isn't so surprising - all that vegetative growth came at a cost for reproduction.  Next year will likely be much better.  That is C. Stonehouse in the background.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cattleya mossiae semi-alba

This plant is the result of the cross Blanca x Aurora.  The six flowers each have about a 7 inch spread, petals about 3 inches wide.  This was one of the first Cattleya species plants I acquired.  The fact that it is still with us despite the early shoddy treatment it received is a testament to its vigor.

The 2011 blooming is very much like the 2010 blooming, with two exceptions.  First, the flowers are about a month later than last year (similar to the C. Stonehouse blooming).  Second, there is more color in the lip this year than there was last year.  I would guess these two factors are correlated with something else - reduced temperature?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Florists' Manual (1906) - Orchids

Found a free version of this impressive old work, which was intended for commercial growers  There is a neat section on orchids with some old photos.  Naturally, Cattleya figures prominently.  Make sure you click on through the links at the bottom of each page to see all parts of the book relating to orchids.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011