Calanthe vestita late season growth question
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  #1  
Old 09-05-2019, 09:07 AM
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Calanthe vestita late season growth question Female
Default Calanthe vestita late season growth question

I’m hoping someone has experience with this species/genus can help me out. I have a blooming size Calanthe vestita that has been in my care since early spring so this is still a very new orchid for me. The spring growth it put out has been growning well (despite my high temps), is fattening up nicely, but I don’t know if it will bloom (because of my high temps...). However, last month it put out another new growth, from an old bulb, that is now about 10” tall overall. I was planning on backing off on the water and fertilizer over the next month or two as that first growth finishes growing and starts to go dormant. Now I don’t know if I should wait on reducing water and fertilizer to let that other new growth develop. It’s grown in sphagnum with a handful of time release fertilizer.

If I hold off on dormancy care am I running the risk of rotting this plant? Should I just follow the largest growth for winter care and if the smallest one stops growing or dies back- oh well?
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:29 PM
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I don't dry out my Calanthes at all when they go dormant. (I cut back watering of everything in the winter because things stay wetter longer) Note from the Baker culture sheet (I have found these quite reliable), "Rainfall in the habitat is very low in winter and early spring, but some moisture is available from heavy dew and late night mist". So I don't think this wants to go completely dry anyway... as long as there is growth, it wants water. It's a long way from winter yet. Go by the plant, not the calendar. I am learning that quite a few terrestrials that go dormant in winter do need a bit of water... those come from areas that never completely dry out even if they don't get rain.

For what it's worth, I picked up this insight wandering around the Andy's Orchids greenhouses and shadehouses... the Calanthes are in areas that get watered with everything else and seem to thrive. (There is only one small greenhouse that gets significant drying in winter, and that's not where this genus lives)

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Old 09-06-2019, 10:26 AM
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Interesting. Ok, I had seen that they did get a bit of moisture in dormancy but I had taken that as more of a ‘let dry out for several days between light waterings’ or just‘slightly moisten just the top part of media’. Guess I need to rethink that. I think I’m nervous because this is grown in sphag. I received it that way and just potted on with more sphag since it was bursting out of its pot and had already been in active root growth. Most of my orchids in sphagnum that get watered year round are warm growers and I was planning on keeping this more intermediate over the winter, 50°-55° night lows. Damp sphag at those temp makes me nervous, maybe I have nothing to be worried about... So do you just let yours approach dryness? What sort of temps does yours see over the winter?
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:39 AM
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I use small bark, but they stay pretty damp. I figure that if Andy gets away with it, I can. (with around 700,000 plants, things don't get moved around seasonally over there) I have seen Cynorkis gibbosa pots with sphag and sopping wet, outside, no plant visible, and on the next trip some months later, leaves and buds like crazy.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
I use small bark, but they stay pretty damp. I figure that if Andy gets away with it, I can. (with around 700,000 plants, things don't get moved around seasonally over there) I have seen Cynorkis gibbosa pots with sphag and sopping wet, outside, no plant visible, and on the next trip some months later, leaves and buds like crazy.
I would really like to get to Andy’s one of these days for an open house just to see how everything is set up. I was planning on putting this in a bark mix next year if I can get it through this winter but I will certainly try keep it a bit hydrated throughout its dormancy. Thanks!
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Old 09-07-2019, 03:44 PM
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[QUOTE=SaraJean;901439So do you just let yours approach dryness? What sort of temps does yours see over the winter?[/QUOTE]

They get watered with everything else that the automatic sprinklers hit, so they may stay pretty wet.(In winter they run every 3 days unless there is rain, summer every day) Winter lows are typically in the mid 40's F, but may occasionally get down into the 30's F When I moved those, and other things like Cynorkis into areas where I could keep them drier (just hand-watering when I thought about it) they did not do nearly as well. So about the only thing I move to where I can control watering are some deciduous and semi-deciduous Dens (and not all of those... does include the nobiles) Everybody else gets watered.

My climate is very similar to what occurs at Andy's, so that's where I take my cue. The important factors seem to be mostly temperature (binary for me, either GH or outside) and light. (At Andy's light is managed by height, there are at least 3 levels of racks above the benches, in a few places 4... so things that need more light go on the higher levels... in my yard, shadecloth areas and a few trees) The only things that really do stay dry in winter are the Catasetinae, and those move into the GH for the temperature)
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:25 PM
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Calanthes are terrestrials. I have seen them grown in pure spaghnum, but I (and my dad before me) use a purely terrestrial mix, consisting of:
2 parts garden soil
1 part composted manure
2 parts chunky peat
1 part perlite
If available, mix in some leaf mulch too.

Water and feed well during spring & summer, while in active growth.
Reduce a little while leaves are fading, but keep watering through blooming season.
When spike fades, you can stop watering till the new growths appear and reach about 2" height.
Repot in fresh mix, and start over.
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