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  #1  
Old 11-13-2018, 11:56 PM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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Default Ansellia africana care questions

I bought a bare root Ansellia africana division from Santa Barbara Orchid Estate that doesn't seem to be very happy. It's about 6 inches tall with some root material attached. Everything I've found in terms of care so far said to treat it like a Cattleya.

Since it was marked temperature tolerant, I set it up like my temperature tolerant Cattleya and Laelia on an eastern fence where it gets morning sun. I potted it in a very small clay pot with coarse bark and watered it every morning; with this set up it's definitely dry by evening.

Its leaves started yellowing so I started bringing it into the garage at night to minimize exposure to temps below 40 and moved it to a location where it doesn't get any direct sun but still gets plenty of light. Is it just sulking or should I alter my care regime? The bare root Laelia and Cattleya that I bought with it haven't missed a beat out on the fence.

I do have a Laeliocattleya division that I bought last winter that slowly dropped all its leaves after purchase before pushing new growth this summer. I don't know if the Ansellia is going to do something similar or is in genuine distress. Maybe it could use a more moisture retentive media? Right now it's about one step up from bare root.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:18 PM
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Update:

So 3 of its 4 leaves are definitely on the way out, but the fourth has taken on a much healthier green color. Iím not sure if it was the shock of being divided from the parent, too much sun, too cold nights, or the change in culture that brought this on.

Iíll keep it potted as is for now, not give it any sun, and bring it in at night to minimize exposure to temperatures below 50. Hopefully this will work to get it established.
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Old 11-17-2018, 04:47 PM
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For what it's worth I grow these more or less like a Cymbidium but somewhat less light. Small bark. They do like to dry out a little bit between waterings (probably more than a Cym, but I don't fine-tune that much), but not really dry. Actually, I have found that they are especially happy in those tall-form Asian Cymbidium pots (the big ones, like #3 or #4 for my big plants, for yours the smaller sizes would be fine) so that the roots have room to stretch out but not a lot of soggy space in the middle. When they're happy, they pop their thin roots all over the place - out of the holes in the pot, and some pointing upwards (birds-nest style). I'm a little warmer than the central coast, but still get some winter nights in the mid 30's F and they totally don't seem to care. Now, these are mature plants, Seedlings may need a bit more protection. I have also found that they are happiest when they are hanging... which works well when the roots start going all over the place.

Also, some leaf loss is normal for this time of year. It will put out new growths, and keep those back bulbs (canes), firm but leafless, for several years. I have one that was pretty pathetic (like complete leafless) , that after a couple of years of getting more of what it wanted, is now growing and blooming as well as the others.
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Last edited by Roberta; 11-17-2018 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:05 PM
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Thanks! Maybe the slightly cooler nights here (opposed to Santa Barbara) triggered seasonal leaf loss? I couldnít find any information about leaf loss so thatís good to know. I do have it set up to hang, but based on what you said about moisture levels, I think Iíll repot to smaller bark (it is definitely completely drying by night fall in its current media).
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:13 PM
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Also, if it is a recent division without a lot of roots, the leaf loss is probably due to the plant seeking to preserve moisture levels. The canes hold plenty of reserves for the next round of growth, which should start soon - and will include new roots. I think keep damp (but not soggy) until those roots get going. This species is not fragile at all."Tough as nails" is more like it...
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:13 AM
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It does have decent root mass, but not tons, and it sounds like I've been much too conservative in terms of water availability. Reading up on it, everything seemed to indicate that these were hardy and I was somewhat alarmed by what looked to be a rapid decline, especially when all my more delicate acquisitions seemed to be settling in fine. It's one of the plants I was most excited about so I'd be bummed to lose it. I'm much more optimistic now!
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