Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cattleya guttata

This species is very closely related to leopoldii.  I have a seedling I've been growing for two years.  These get very tall - taller than leopoldii, generally.  I thought I might get some flowers - you can see the sheath on the newest growth - but it looks like I will have to wait until next year. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Basket to pot

I decided to move one of my C. labiatas from a wooden basket to a pot.  The plant was doing OK but not great, the basket was falling apart and the plant was near the edge.  So, into an aircone pot.  I got out a screwdriver, wire cutters and pliers.   After getting the plant out of the basket I carefully removed as many dead roots and as much old media as possible before potting.  Here is the result. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Brassavola nodosa

I have killed two of these.  I am trying one more time, this one on a mount.  This is a seedling from a cross of two excellent parents.  We'll see...

Friday, July 27, 2012

New mount

A number of years ago I bought a C. Brabantiae (loddigesii x aclandiae) from Sunset Valley Orchids and put it in a basket.  This seemed appropriate given the aclandiae heritage - that species hates wet roots.  It has languished for years, up, down, no stable display of vigor.  One possibility is that it is simply a weak clone (it was made with coerulea parents...).  Alternatively, perhaps it doesn't like my growing conditions - I really can't change the fact that winter growing temps are lower than they should be.  Finally, it could be that it didn't "like" being in a basket (I had CHC with a bit of sphagnum mixed in).  Well, one thing I've learned about growing these plants is that if they languish for a year or more, you have nothing to lose by trying a change.  In my experience, plants doing poorly almost never take off if conditions are not changed.  So, I am trying a mount.  Here it is.  I damaged the first root tip while fastening it, but others are following.  We'll see what happens.  If a plant is doing poorly for over a year, try something new.  Obviously this does not apply to newly established plants with no roots - they usually need a year just to get back on their feet.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

C. Callistoglossa flower

Here is a flower from one of the weaker growths.  The color of the lip true. I hope the shape of the lip is better on stronger growths.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cattleya leopoldii buds

My big leopoldii is set to bloom on five spikes soon.  Four of them can be seen on this side of the plant, which is in a large basket.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cattleya skinneri

I have one C. skinneri - the 'Heiti Jacobs' clone.  Seems like many people grow this species in a basket, mounted or in a shallow pot with fast draining medium.  My plant was in a basket filled with coconut husk chips and topped with a bit of sphagnum, but it declined this year.  Weak growths, no flowers.  I decided to move it to a pot.  I killed a very strong plant of this species a few years ago when I re-potted at the wrong time.  So my experience is that this species will absolutely not tolerate a re-pot at any time other than when new root growth first initiates.  I noticed root tips this week, so the weekend was the target.  After removing the plant from the basket I could tell the roots were not doing well.  Perhaps the basket was too big or filled too much, but I'm guessing the CHC retained too much moisture in the center of the basket and that's all she wrote.  If I had a greenhouse I would mount this plant.  As it stands, I'm trying to move plants from baskets to pots.  Anyway, in the pictures below you can see the new root growth, four divisions (two lead, two backbulb) and the Aircone pot I used to re-pot.  I like clear plastic so you can tell how much moisture is in the pot and can see the roots.  Aircones have a little cone at the bottom that projects into the media in the center of the pot - this is supposed to keep the media "airier" and reduce rot - so we'll give the skinneri a shot in these pots.  I potted up the two leads; two backbulbs are just hanging around.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cattleya C.G Roebling

Another plant I got from Cal-Orchid is this primary hybrid between purpurata and gaskelliana. 

There are a couple of coerulea mericlones out there.  This is not a mericlone and it is the tipo form.  Here is an example of a sibling.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cattleya Callistoglossa

One of the plants I recently acquired from my trip to Cal-Orchid was an Lc. Callistoglossa.  This is a primary hybrid between Laelia purpurata and Cattleya warscewiczii (thus, Lc.).  However given that Laelia purpurata is actually a Cattleya (see Chadwick's article, which is supported by recent DNA evidence), I am calling it Cattleya Callistoglossa.  This is a tipo form that was just finishing blooming when I bought it - even at this stage with the flowers senescing the scent was amazing.  I also have an alba form of this, also from Cal-Orchid.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New C. purpurata

One of the plants I just acquired from Cal-Orchid is a Cattleya purpurata - probably a striata given the parents.  This plant was originally from Aranda Orchids in Brazil according to the tag.  I noticed last week that some of the old roots had new growing root tips emerging, even though there was no new root growth from the developing pseudobulb.  So, this told me the new growth was going to start putting out roots soon and that if I wanted to get the plant re-potted and allow for the new tips from old roots to develop without damaging them during the re-potting, I was going to have to re-pot right away.  When I took the plant out I saw that all the older roots (from the older pseudobulbs) had rotted.  I trimmed off those dead roots and then re-potted in a clear plastic pot with some rocks in the bottom for ballast, #5A orchiata bark, and a topping of a thin layer of sphagnum.  Finished off with a sprinkle of slow release orchid food on top.
See the new root tips on the old roots?

There is lots of air in the pot because I had trouble getting the orchiata down there.

Finished product.

Sunday NY Times article on hybridizing

Trip to Cal-Orchid

Two weeks ago I was passing through Santa Barbara and made a stop at Cal-Orchid, owned by James and Lauris Rose.  It was Sunday, but luckily for me, James was around.  The Cal-Orchid greenhouses are amazing.  I have never seen so many incredibly well grown plants.  In fact, seeing plants like this makes me realize how mediocre my plants are.

James is a super nice guy and we strolled around the greenhouses talking for almost two hours.  I ended up buying six plants.  All very high quality and at a ridiculously reasonable price.  If you ever have the chance to go to Cal-Orchid, do it!

So, Cal-Orchid is known for many things including superior Laelia anceps crosses.  I mentioned to James that I shouldn't leave his place without an anceps or two and he proceeded to take me to a greenhouse with several long benches filled with anceps.  As I have some nice tipo and pink anceps already, I told him I was interested in a very light one (or even alba) one and a dark (so called, "Mendenhall") one.  We looked over the benches and spotted this plant below which I grabbed immediately.  It is an offspring of two well known parents, Marble Queen and Figment.  Richard over at Backbulbs posted a photo of a sib earlier this year.  Two spiking growths on this baby, and look at those roots!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Cattleya leopoldii

A week and half ago I went to the Cal-Orchid greenhouses in Santa Barbara.  James Rose, the owner, grows great orchids.  More on the trip later.   One of the benches was full of C. leopoldii seedlings, many in bud.  James had grown them all from seed.  He was planning on blooming them all to pick the best ones for breeding but he parted with one that I took home - one of six plants I bought.  Here it is in bud.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Encyclia alata

This is a tough plant.  I have been growing it (poorly) for most of the six(!) years I've had it - this is the first blooming.  Hopefully I have the hang of this one now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sedirea japonica

Blooming about two months later than the last couple of years.  It got badly burned at some point this Spring but looks like it will survive.