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  #1  
Unread 06-24-2009, 10:26 AM
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Default pseduo bulbs shrinking/withering - advice

Hi everyone,

I have a cattleya slc. Best Friend 'Cleopatra' orchid that I moved from a more shaded shelf near a west window to a sunny east window. I had heard it was good to move these outside in summer, but being scared to do that in case it was knocked over, I moved it to a sunnier location.

However, out of habit I was checking to see if it needed water on its former schedule...and now I notice that the pseudobulbs, instead of being plump, are the same thickness as the stem and look withered, with some thicker "veins" running along them.

Is there a good way to water now to get the plant back up to full water storage? I don't want to water it so much that the roots have problems, but I do want to get those pseudobulbs full again!

Also, I noticed a new growth attached to the base of one of the old stems. The orcid bloomed about 3 months ago or so.

It is in a clay pot with side vents, with bark/charcoal as a medium. Usually I run sink water through it for a while, and then let it sit in a bowl of water for a couple hours. Should I fertilize, too, with the new growth?

Thank you!
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  #2  
Unread 06-24-2009, 01:52 PM
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How often did you water?

How often do you water now?

Letting the pot sit in water for extended periods of time can cause root damage to the roots that are lower in the pot.
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  #3  
Unread 06-24-2009, 03:31 PM
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First of all, from 1st hand experience of burning a cattleyea almost to death, I'd like to warn you to be careful about moving orchids to a location of lots of sun. Gradually introduce the sun so it isn't such a shock and you don't burn the plant. You didn't mention the leaves, so I assume it is okay and adjusting?
Cattleyeas only need to fill up with water. You can tell when the roots turn a nice green. Perhaps about 10 minutes tops of sitting in water will do the trick. Then not water again until you see the roots turn white. Or, with a clay pot, notice the weight before and after. When the pot is light again, time to water.
Catts really prefer to be dry than wet, so I caution you on overwatering.
Sometimes if the medium has broken down, the roots can't take in the water, and it will begin to suffer. How old is the medium?
I would definitely fertilize your plant. I never stop fertilizing mine, only I cut back some after the blooms are gone.
Have you ever looked at the roots of this one? Is all okay underneath?
I hope I've given you some things to look at, but without pics, it's hard to say for sure what is happening. Good luck!
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  #4  
Unread 06-24-2009, 03:33 PM
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Before, in the shadier location, I was averaging once every 10 days to 2 weeks, depending on the weight of the pot. I was doing the same for about a month in the sunny location.

For the past couple weeks I've been watering every few days.

I'll start to just let it soak for 10 minutes now. I'm wondering if I should up the frequency to rebuild the pseudobulbs. But you bring up a good point to look at the roots...it might also be that the longer soaking has hurt the roots and that's why water is not uptaking as much? Or it could be the sun...

The medium is just a couple months old...still looks similar to when it started. But I'll double check this when I double check the roots.

The leaves look ok (the Pittsburgh weather is often overcast...so I should say "sunnier" location). I can post pictures. I think I have a "before" photo that I can compare with what it looks like now.

Thanks!

Last edited by SamandAnne; 06-24-2009 at 03:38 PM..
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  #5  
Unread 06-24-2009, 05:58 PM
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The older shriveled pbulbs may not plump up with increased watering - I have some that once they shrivel they stay that way - but new growth looks plump - so be careful with watering more often. Water when the media is dry or very near dry - using a skewer is very helpful
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  #6  
Unread 06-26-2009, 01:11 AM
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Ok, good to know that they might not plump up but the plant might still be ok. I was trying to err on the side of dry for the cattleya, but I guess it went a little too dry.

I still have to check out the roots and post photos (things got a little busy). Thanks for the skewer idea...hadn't heard that one, but it sounds like something helpful.
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  #7  
Unread 06-26-2009, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamandAnne View Post
Ok, good to know that they might not plump up but the plant might still be ok. I was trying to err on the side of dry for the cattleya, but I guess it went a little too dry.

I still have to check out the roots and post photos (things got a little busy). Thanks for the skewer idea...hadn't heard that one, but it sounds like something helpful.
Yeah I looooove skewers!
It is extremely helpful to me - I have them in all my plants - even the mounted ones!
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  #8  
Unread 06-26-2009, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteRabbit View Post
Yeah I looooove skewers!
It is extremely helpful to me - I have them in all my plants - even the mounted ones!
Yeah, I think I need a little extra help than just the weight of the pot...though that's helpful too. Once I moved my phal to a clear pot I felt so much more confident in when to water and when not to! Since the cattleya is in a clay pot (recommended to me so it has more air to the roots) I'm still iffy on when to water...I'll try the skewers!
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  #9  
Unread 06-26-2009, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamandAnne View Post
Yeah, I think I need a little extra help than just the weight of the pot...though that's helpful too. Once I moved my phal to a clear pot I felt so much more confident in when to water and when not to! Since the cattleya is in a clay pot (recommended to me so it has more air to the roots) I'm still iffy on when to water...I'll try the skewers!
Yeah I too have been growing catts in clay pots and of course have the same issue - tho even in clear plastic pots i like the skewers because I think the temp and relative humidity can affect if you see moisture in pot or not - cos I know I have looked and it looked dry - but skewer was still damp. Maybe depends on climate where you live - idk

Anyway - good luck with your plant! I'm sure with help from all the people on OB you will do just fine
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  #10  
Unread 07-09-2009, 10:41 PM
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Default roots dried - help?

I just took my cattleya out of the pot to check the roots. They all seem dry/brittle. The plant is putting out a new stem, though. Here are the pictures, before and now.

Seeing that the roots were dry, I put TakeRoot rooting hormone on them before I put my orchid back in the pot. Then, I logged on and saw this thread, which says it's too strong for orchids: Root growth hormone

Any advice on caring for this orchid now? Seems like I need to water more frequently. Anything to help it recover? Move to a shadier location, anything?

Thank you! I really want to keep this one going, it was bought together after a fun day at an orchid show!
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