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  #1  
Old 09-14-2020, 05:16 PM
MJG MJG is offline
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Twisted Cattleya - what now? Female
Default Twisted Cattleya - what now?

This is Cattleya walkeriana frm. coerulea. The Board helped me save this plant earlier this year. Now I am back for more advice...please.

When I bought the plant this spring it was in a plastic pot and the leaves looked really dessicated. I think I made it worse by overwatering. Then with lots of advice, I stuck it in a clay pot half-full of leca, with the roots just sitting on top of the leca. I watered it every 1-2 days after that. Allowing it to dries out quickly seems to have saved it.

It's put out new roots and growth. The newest p'bulb is growing out of the pot. I'm thinking about how to repot it now. That's where I've run into a problem.

The new p'bulbs, roots and leaves are by far the healthiest part of the plant, but they're turned at a completely different angle from the rest of the plant. I can find no way to get this all into a pot. I'm afraid that if I don't do something now, future new growth will make it harder to deal with.

Here's how it's sitting in its pot now.



Another view:



This is what the roots and plant looks like out of the pots.



Any ideas about how to wrangle this thing into a pot?
Or something? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2020, 07:19 PM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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My first thought when a plant is going in odd directions is to mount it... lit it go wherever it wants. However, if managing mounted plants doesn't work for you, I would look at the next best approach - a shallower pot with larger diameter. I like bulb pans a lot... being shallow, you don't have a lot of volume to deal with , but have the space for the plant to spread out. In a year or two, the old part of the plant will probably die off once there is more new growth, then it'll be easier to coax into the direction that you want to go. Catts do tend to climb out of pots... clearly, give their choice, they'd prefer not to be in one. But if you are using inorganic medium like LECA, it will be acting pretty much like a mounted plant anyway (or large bark... those roots just love air)
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  #3  
Old 09-14-2020, 07:58 PM
MJG MJG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
My first thought when a plant is going in odd directions is to mount it... lit it go wherever it wants.
Oh, to have a greenhouse. This orchid would love to be mounted. I'm just not set up to keep a mounted plant alive here in my house at 30-40 RH in the wintertime.

Your bulb pan idea might be just the thing. This cattleya is compact. Working with leca and the large diameter pot, I might be able to coax the next p'bulbs to cooperate with direction of the newest one here.

Thanks for the idea!
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:05 PM
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Also working in your favor is the fact that C. walkeriana likes to be on the drier side in winter. It will be quite happy in a bright, relatively cool area (like near a window). So it will tolerate low humidity better than most orchids.
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Old 09-26-2020, 12:10 PM
thefish1337 thefish1337 is offline
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I am about a year growing into C walkeriana and I have various plants at different stages of growth. After reading the famous catwalker post on here (Harry of H&R nursuries) and talking to Harry in person I think your plant is growing weird because it's not getting enough water. These plants need lots of air to the roots, but they also need lots of water. Based on hearing that coerulea forms were easier, I bought an established division. About 1 month in I got root rot in my conditions... with a bark mix in plastic pot, it was taking over a week to completely dry. I overcompensated and switched it to a leca dominant mix in a shallow clay pot. Well... the plant has produced skinny and short new bulbs and just doesn't look that good.

A big reason for that is that my plant really needs to be watered every day maybe twice a day in warm temps, something that I don't have the time to easily do. Since that plant was my learning plant I applied my learnings from my failures to the new plants. I am judging my success by new root growth, and pseudobulb size. Bulbs should be plump and increase in size as the plant matures. In order to achieve that you need a solid foundation of roots adapted and established in the media/pot that best fits your conditions. Your plant isn't getting too soggy anymore with the potting change, but it might not be able to get as much water as it needs. If that isn't possible under your care regime, maybe add some more moisture retentive components to keep moisture at the roots while also allowing ample airflow. The trick to growing these plants well seems to be able to give them a lot of light and a lot of water without rotting their roots, a tricky feat in our home conditions. Take my answer with a grain of salt because I am not an expert but these are my experiences growing these plants over the past year.

---------- Post added at 09:10 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:14 AM ----------

I thought some pictures of my plants with commentary would also be cool to share and also be an example of how to judge C. walkeriana culture.

C. walkeriana coerulea #3


My starter division. You can see that the bulbs have not acheived the original mature size of the division, the leaves are not very turgid. This is due to inadequate root system (I rotted it) and being much drier than it wants since I put it in LECA in a pot. The roots are okay now, but the annoying thing is that it won't be really "established" until its outside of the pot. Growth habit is definitely a downside to this species.


C. walkeriana semi alba 'Tokyo No. 1' x tipo 'Goias'

I bought this division shortly after the coerulea because I had walkeriana fever. I had this in its original pot while I waited for new root growth until I could repot to the media and pot combo that fit my conditions. After my failures with the first division I knew that bark in plastic was no good, and leca in clay was also no good for me. I split the difference and applied an course mix in clay with inorganic aerating components. You can see the new growth was slightly under watered (curled leaf) but its basically the same size as previous growths and the leaf and bulb are turgid.


C. walkeriana tipo

I got this in the spring, I waited until root growth to repot into a clay pot with an airy bark mix. You can see that this seedling put out a huge, plump, fat new growth this year and some nice roots. I got the potting transition, and the watering, and air to the roots right and was rewarded for it. It's now pushing out another growth (or maybe a spike?!).

C. walkeriana albescens

There isn't much special here and the only new things that this plant has had since I got it are the two new roots it produced. I do want to show that not losing the root system is really important to these plants. I did not unpot, I simply slid the mesh pot it was in into the new pot and mix. The new growth is sending out new roots into the mix and establishing, but the old roots are still intact and somewhat healthy. If you compare this plant to the first plant I showed, you'll notice that the back bulbs are slightly desiccated but not in an extreme way. That's the difference between re-potting with an intact root system and without.

Another thing that I have picked up from Steven here on the board and on youtube is adding an inorganic layer at the bottom of the pot to increase air where the plant is likely to have the most stale moistness.
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  #6  
Old 09-26-2020, 04:16 PM
MJG MJG is offline
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thefish, thank you for your very instructive post with the pictures. It couldn't have come at a better time. I have the heat and light dialed in on my walkeriana now. I also moved it into a terra cotta bulb pot as Roberta suggested. That should allow me to deal with the strange angles of this particular plant's p'bulbs and leaves. I do continue to struggle with the balance between giving it enough water and letting the roots dry out in between. You ideas and examples are a great help.

I also have found and read some of the older posts on the Board that are goldmines of information. I've been binge-watching Stephen's videos about walkerianas and nobiliors. I think I've been bitten with the walkeriana/nobilior bug too. I just bought a nobilior with an interesting situation. It's a little off topic but I'll post a picture in a bit just for kicks. Thanks again.

---------- Post added at 04:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:27 PM ----------

Alright, here is the nobilior that I referred to. It's an amaliae. It arrived a few days ago. I don't know if you can see from the pic, but it's potted in a round 3" plastic pot. They dropped that into a 4" square green pot. When I set it down it just topples over because it has grown so far out. I'm going to have to deal with this one. It would be great it these were clay pots, and I could just put it in a bigger one. I'm not so in love with the plastic pots...again back to the whole wet/dry issue.

20200926_153437 by

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Last edited by MJG; 09-26-2020 at 10:51 PM..
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:57 PM
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isurus79 isurus79 is offline
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Oh wow, I wish I'd seen this thread earlier!

I love thefish's post above. Rarely do we get to see a grower get better and better with a tricky species in a single post!

MJG- I'm glad my videos are useful! Let me know if you have more questions. Also useful for you, check out these two videos from an indoor NYC grower that I know who has been growing Cattleyas for a loooong time!

Walkeriana Indoors

Part I- How I Grow Bloom Cattleya walkeriana - YouTube
Part II- More How I Grow Bloom Cattleya walkeriana - YouTube
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Old 09-26-2020, 10:59 PM
MJG MJG is offline
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Stephen, thanks for the encouragement and the additional resources.

Also, I have to say, I have read and reread and reread thefish's post. I get more out of it every time I go back through. Very cool of you to record your process like this, thefish.
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Old 09-26-2020, 11:55 PM
thefish1337 thefish1337 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isurus79 View Post
Oh wow, I wish I'd seen this thread earlier!

I love thefish's post above. Rarely do we get to see a grower get better and better with a tricky species in a single post!

MJG- I'm glad my videos are useful! Let me know if you have more questions. Also useful for you, check out these two videos from an indoor NYC grower that I know who has been growing Cattleyas for a loooong time!

Walkeriana Indoors

Part I- How I Grow Bloom Cattleya walkeriana - YouTube
Part II- More How I Grow Bloom Cattleya walkeriana - YouTube
Rafael's videos inspired me to grow C. walkeriana indoors. The one thing I can't do indoors is keep temps high- which really helps the plants dry out and keep their transpiration rates high.

My biggest mistake early on was learning on divisions. Since divisions and larger plants's roots often die off with environmental change ESPECIALLY if you are learning or being a dense idiot. I ended up with a lot of plant mass and not enough roots to support my first division properly. I narrowly avoided disaster on the second. Every root is precious. I should have bought some medium sized seedlings so that they could establish their root systems in my culture. Pretty much every professional grower I've bought these plants from has their own "system" for growing these plants in their horticultural conditions. Some of these plants are so far from what will work in my grow space it's just going to be a trainwreck to transition them to the media I need to grow them in. I've seen ebay listings with medium sized walkeriana in sphagnum... I just don't even know how that's possible.
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