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.