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  #1  
Old 11-15-2020, 10:47 AM
MisterGuy MisterGuy is offline
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Length of spikes/size of plants
Default Length of spikes/size of plants

I have a bunch of rescue discount orchids, and I have a few small orchids that were ordered as grab bag baby plants. Other than the couple that were bought in bloom, I don't really know much about what size they are supposed to be. I have kind of assumed for my bulb type orchids, they ought to be about however big the bulb is that has a flowering stem.

My orchids seem to be growing into roughly small, medium and large plants.

Here's the thing, literally all the plants I bought flowering are sorta the same size bulbs, but none of the ones I bought little seem to be getting significantly larger. Some of the flowering larger plants I have, have old bulbs that are sort of the size of the medium bulbs from the 2ish year olds. I can upload some pictures, if pictures are necessary, but I really wanted to ask the general question of what primarily controls how big a given orchid gets. Or put another way, how do I know if I'm stunting them with my culture/environment or if it's supposed to be that size, for noids?

What prompted this question was noticing how short the flower spikes I'm currently growing are. They aren't really growing up, they are just getting a few inches above the crown of the plant and trying to go right to flowers. I'm kind of thinking that must be connected to smaller bulbs.

I was trying to make this a general question about what controls size, primarily, but I am not sure I succeeded and may need to just upload a bunch of pictures.
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  #2  
Old 11-15-2020, 11:11 AM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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I think that it should all be ok if the orchids have nice green leaves, and their bulbs aren't shrivelled, and their roots are looking ok.

What can possibly determine their size is age, DNA (genes), and growing conditions - including watering method and fertiliser/mag-cal, lighting level and lighting duration, temperature and temperature range etc.
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  #3  
Old 11-15-2020, 11:17 AM
MisterGuy MisterGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by SouthPark View Post
I think that it should all be ok if the orchids have nice green leaves, and their bulbs aren't shrivelled, and their roots are looking ok.

What can possibly determine their size is age, DNA (genes), and growing conditions - including watering method and fertiliser/mag-cal, lighting level and lighting duration, temperature and temperature range etc.
My worry is that I both gave them unsufficient light AND insufficient nutrients, so they are sorta healthy, but in a sloooooow growing small way.
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:24 AM
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My worry is that I both gave them unsufficient light AND insufficient nutrients, so they are sorta healthy, but in a sloooooow growing small way.
It's all relative hehe. Relatively slow growing.

If the light levels are relatively low, then one thing to try if possible is to provide a little higher level of lighting. To be done gradually. Not a significant increase in level in the one hit ------ sun-hardening of orchids ---- is gradually get them adapted to higher lighting levels.

You could later show us pics (including close-up shots) of the growing area, and the pots, media, etc. That will come in handy for assessing the conditions.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:26 PM
MisterGuy MisterGuy is offline
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It's all relative hehe. Relatively slow growing.

If the light levels are relatively low, then one thing to try if possible is to provide a little higher level of lighting. To be done gradually. Not a significant increase in level in the one hit ------ sun-hardening of orchids ---- is gradually get them adapted to higher lighting levels.

You could later show us pics (including close-up shots) of the growing area, and the pots, media, etc. That will come in handy for assessing the conditions.
How about we start with the beauty shots of the orchids that I've been working on

I closed down my photography business before moving, and decided this week to go through my gear and make sure I know what's working and what should have been trash, so I've been taking beauty shots of the orchids.

K1B_6720.jpg - Google Drive
K1B_6721.jpg - Google Drive


Here's an example of a baby Cattlya I bought at Lowes, that has remained very very tiny. It's supposed to be a Ctt. Tutankamen 'Pop', which doesn't look particularly tiny in pictures I can find:

K1B_6708.jpg - Google Drive

Linking to google drive isn't the most helpful, I'll see about a better solution later.


I hate to compare the size of my spikes to someone else's but this is the Shary Berry I just bought already in spike, not yet repotted to S/H:

K1B_6718.jpg - Google Drive
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2020, 01:40 PM
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Those orchids look quite ok! The leaves look pretty good. The oncidium does have a couple of wrinkled leaves ----- such as the one on the biggest bulb. But other leaves look just fine.

When orchid's roots are doing fine, and the orchid is getting adequate water into them ------- then all ok.

Juvenile orchids can take a while to 'take off' with their growing.

If the leaves are looking dark green in colour, then you could put the orchids into a brighter spot - get some more energy into them from the brighter light.

The juvenile cattleya is getting larger and larger bulbs as it is growing, right? (For every new bulb that is ----- larger than previous one). If that's the case, then everything is good there.
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Old 11-15-2020, 01:56 PM
MisterGuy MisterGuy is offline
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Those orchids look quite ok! The leaves look pretty good. The oncidium does have a couple of wrinkled leaves ----- such as the one on the biggest bulb. But other leaves look just fine.

When orchid's roots are doing fine, and the orchid is getting adequate water into them ------- then all ok.

Juvenile orchids can take a while to 'take off' with their growing.

If the leaves are looking dark green in colour, then you could put the orchids into a brighter spot - get some more energy into them from the brighter light.

The juvenile cattleya is getting larger and larger bulbs as it is growing, right? (For every new bulb that is ----- larger than previous one). If that's the case, then everything is good there.
There's definitely been cycles of neglect leading to horizontal water wrinkles. I *think* I'm passed the danger areas there.

This Max. Ten. really went through some cycles of abuse but seems more or less okay right at the moment. I'd love to see some new growth out of it.

K1B_6671.jpg - Google Drive

It's VERY tough to tell if the Cattleya is bigger or not. It dropped leaves off the smaller stalks, and the new bulbs are roughly the same size as the largest older bulbs.
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Old 11-15-2020, 02:59 PM
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You've shown different kinds with different requirements. But in general, each new growth should be larger than the previous one, until mature size is reached.

It's hard to compare color in photos, but I think the plants you have shown here and the other thread are very dark green, meaning insufficient light. That definitely stunts Cattleya seedling growth. Don't go to the far extreme too fast and sunburn them. Cattleyas should be very light, or even yellowish green. Oncidiums should be very light green. It takes less light to make an Oncidium happy than a Cattleya. People in the Midwest and the California coast grow Max. tenuifolia in full sun. Inland LA where it's hotter, I'm not sure.

If your temperatures are nice and high, with good light, Cattleya seedlings and Oncidiums can grow through the year. If it's fairly cool they slow down. Max. tend to have a fairly strong spring-summer growth pattern.

Water is important too. One spell of insufficient water can stunt growth. Oncidiums, Cattleya seedlings and Maxillarias should not dry out completely. Catt seedlings are not like adult Catts. Many people stand Maxillaria pots in dishes of water during the growing season.

The plant with a spike is just small, and you said it was in poor shape recently. As it grows it will get bigger spikes.

Another consideration is fertilizing. In warm conditions like your summers Catts, Oncs and Max can use more fertilizer than when growing in cooler conditions. Go to Sunset Valley Orchids and read how Fred Clarke recommends growing Cattleya seedlings. He uses a lot more fertilizer than some other people recommend. I have warm conditions and I switched to his recommendations. Many of my small Catt seedlings routinely break 2 leads at a time.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2020, 03:31 PM
MisterGuy MisterGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
You've shown different kinds with different requirements. But in general, each new growth should be larger than the previous one, until mature size is reached.

It's hard to compare color in photos, but I think the plants you have shown here and the other thread are very dark green, meaning insufficient light. That definitely stunts Cattleya seedling growth. Don't go to the far extreme too fast and sunburn them. Cattleyas should be very light, or even yellowish green. Oncidiums should be very light green. It takes less light to make an Oncidium happy than a Cattleya. People in the Midwest and the California coast grow Max. tenuifolia in full sun. Inland LA where it's hotter, I'm not sure.

If your temperatures are nice and high, with good light, Cattleya seedlings and Oncidiums can grow through the year. If it's fairly cool they slow down. Max. tend to have a fairly strong spring-summer growth pattern.

Water is important too. One spell of insufficient water can stunt growth. Oncidiums, Cattleya seedlings and Maxillarias should not dry out completely. Catt seedlings are not like adult Catts. Many people stand Maxillaria pots in dishes of water during the growing season.

The plant with a spike is just small, and you said it was in poor shape recently. As it grows it will get bigger spikes.

Another consideration is fertilizing. In warm conditions like your summers Catts, Oncs and Max can use more fertilizer than when growing in cooler conditions. Go to Sunset Valley Orchids and read how Fred Clarke recommends growing Cattleya seedlings. He uses a lot more fertilizer than some other people recommend. I have warm conditions and I switched to his recommendations. Many of my small Catt seedlings routinely break 2 leads at a time.

They've been growing in fairly dense shade outside in my new living arrangement, and only recently come window space for the winter. Their colors range from dark hunter green, such as the phals, to a couple of the oncidium looking times that are more of a light pea soup yellowish green. The new growth on my little cats and most of the little oncidiums are right around "kelly green #4CBB17".

The bigger oncidiums I put under LED spotlights that I had laying around that are NOT color tuned, but are putting out quite a bit of light, and are sitting where they get direct (slightly diffused by curtain) light for a couple hours in the morning.

The rest of the smaller plants are being supplemented by high wattage CFLs that are Daylight tuned and sitting on a table in front a southern exposure window, or sitting on the window sill.
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:37 PM
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The new growth on my little cats and most of the little oncidiums are right around "kelly green #4CBB17".
That color seems good for Oncidiums but for Catts they might like a little bit more light, just a little more.
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