Originally Posted by gngrhill
...the other was bare root when I got it and I potted it in a small plastic pot. It has a tiny new growth started, but just does not look thrifty.
ES, days are around 70 F right now until it gets warmer outside. Heater is set at 70. I will move it under the lights....
...I don't know if I want to try again . Apparently I don't have the right conditions or I'm doing something wrong.
It's kind of up the same alley as my mini purple which I know you have had good luck with. I've had mine for three years now and it is also struggling. New growth, but leaves look stressed and doesn't look like it wants to bloom any time soon. I am apparently missing something with these little Catts.
I wish you could go experience what their habitat is like. That really helps understanding what they like. I was in C. nobilior habitat in the winter without knowing it at the time - I was there to see cacti and succulents.
In their winter the trees they grow on drop their leaves. They get a lot more sun in the winter than in the summer. Their winter nights might be near 60 F / 15.5C, but days are a lot warmer - usually into the 80s F / 26-32C, and most winter days are cloudless.
Your 70 F / 21C - by - day - for - weeks - on - end - winter is pushing it. Yes, home growers keep them alive like that, but it isn't ideal. These are warm-growing orchids. Again, people will write to say theirs do OK on the windowsill in the winter, but 70 F is not keeping them happy - just alive. Any additional insult can push them over the edge, even something a healthy and happy plant would tolerate without problems.
The take home would be, can you put some of your warm-growing orchids onto a heating mat for the winter? And I would put C. walkeriana into the brightest winter spot you have.
In the summer they get rained on almost every day. It is very hot, often 120 F / 49C or higher! It is suffocatingly humid. It does not cool down much at night. They grow in bright shade under tree canopies. The climate is like New Orleans in the summer, but even hotter.
Although they get wet all the time, their roots are on branches, so they are exposed to the air.
Go back to read what catwalker wrote here on Orchid Board about C. walkeriana. (Think about that username and where it came from?) Almost everybody with a problem got told to water more during the summer.
If it's in a pot, and the insides stay soggy wet, this is a real problem. This is why people like to grow them mounted, or a basket with no or next to no medium. But then you really do have to water every day.
I goofed up with my C. walkeriana coerulea this winter. The photo of the plant when it was happy is here
It had dozens of growths in a 3" / 8cm pot. I intended to mount it last fall but didn't get around to it. I was super busy at work one warm week and didn't water it enough. Then it got relatively cold here. The plant began dying back pseudobulb by pseudobulb during cold weather. I didn't want to water it much, and it kept shriveling. I watered during a warmer spell and it died back even more. I decided what I was doing was killing it, so I went to mount it. We had had a few nice warm days and the sunroom was up into the 80s F. I saw a small growth making new roots.
I took the plant apart. There was one tiny pseudobulb left alive out of those dozens. I mounted it onto a piece of mesquite with some sphagnum moss as a pad. I would not have used the sphagnum with a healthy larger plant; they don't grow into moss in habitat. But I have to work, and I can't always water when I want to.
We've been warm for a while, and my sunroom has had 40%-50% humidity. That tiny pseudobulb is already putting out two new growths. I think there's a good chance it's going to survive.
The moral: LOTS of water during warm weather; warm winters; not much water when it's cool; mounting really is better than in a pot for many people.
My other C. walkeriana in S/H is doing well. I've read people have had trouble with them in S/H. I'm guessing it's not enough warmth.
Now that I look at the photo of my plant on a mount, the undersides of the leaves appear to have spider mite damage. This is an artifact from a cheap phone camera. Those blemishes are permanent wrinkling from leaves that got too dry for too long, not spider mite damage.