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  #1  
Old 08-15-2018, 07:43 AM
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Cattleya jungle beau in very tight sphagnum moss
Default Cattleya jungle beau in very tight sphagnum moss

Hi everyone! I've just bought my first Cattleya (I've grown Epidendrums before though) from orchid garden UK and it looks like a terrifically happy little plant! Plump pseudobulbs, healthy roots, got its first bifoliate growth and maybe even a sheath coming? Also two new growths, no new roots from them yet though. However, it came potted in pure sphag, not broken down but very tightly packed, and the thought of a Cattleya trying to breathe and push new roots down into that is making me wince. Pictures are attached, I'm in two minds about whether to repot as soon as I see new roots on the new growths or wait until next year when it'll have a couple more mature psbs to fall back on - he's such a little guy! I don't want to mess up because I'm so excited to see blooms from this one, but although it has a seemingly mature growth with even signs of a sheath forming, it's no bigger than my hand and I've got small hands! I've heard bifoliate catts HATE repotting so I don't wanna mess up. What do people think? Repot sooner or later, and what into?
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  #2  
Old 08-15-2018, 09:13 AM
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Personally, I'd be slow and sparing of the watering in the current moss -moistening, not soaking it - until I saw roots emerging from at least the larger of the new growths, then repot immediately.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:30 PM
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Cattleya jungle beau in very tight sphagnum moss Male
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Ray is right about watering in tight sphagnum. The aim is never to soak all the moss. Just run some water over the top. It will diffuse throughout the moss, leaving it slightly moist, with good air spaces at the roots. Soaking the moss obliterates the air spaces, and it takes a long time for the water to wick away, or be used by the plant. In this time the roots may rot.

Epiphytic orchids can be grown very well in tightly packed sphagnum, but one must learn how to use it. Norman Fang lectures people should keep their orchids in moss separate from their orchids in bark. The two media require very different watering regimes, and incorrect watering can quickly kill orchids in moss.
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2018, 04:14 PM
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Thanks for the advice both! I'll water as you say until I see some roots, and then I think I'll stick it in bark with either seramis or a little sphag for moisture. Thoughts?
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:38 PM
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As long as Cattleya alliance plants have plenty of air at the roots, they are pretty easy to grow in most media.
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2018, 04:29 PM
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Update! So I watered sparingly and waited until I saw new roots. It's hard to see but there are three on the larger growth, which has grown a lot, and when I unpotted it I was pleased to discover the beginning of a root on the smaller one too! I seized the moment and repotted into 85% bark, 15% seramis, which I thought would be airy but hold a little more water than just bark, and am now anxiously awaiting the plant's verdict on my repotting technique. I have a zygo that threatened to die for 6 months after repotting before finally growing some new roots so I was extra careful about timing and gentle repotting this time. The pot I've put it into is slightly but not much larger than the previous one, with better drainage. Root system looked good, hopefully it won't all die before the new roots get established but there were hardly any dead ones for me to trim.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:27 AM
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Cattleya jungle beau in very tight sphagnum moss
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Thought I'd give another update! Little guy is doing great, loving the light where I've put him, some purple freckles on the most exposed leaves but no real burning. Both new growths have grown a lot and put down roots, and the larger has something inside the leaf! To early to tell yet if it's a second leaf or sheath. Thoughts?
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:41 PM
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Wow! Yes, I know this is a pretty old thread, but I have to commend you (and the Catt) for that beautiful root system! Very enviable!👍🏻
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:09 PM
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When you encounter an orchid in a clear plastic/rubber pot, with only spaghnum moss in the pot, it is a recent import from Taiwan.

However, it is perfectly OK to grow smaller Cattleyas in pure spaghnum - as long as you water accordingly.

I grow small Cattleyas (plugs, seedlings in 2" pots) in plastic pots, in a mix of 85% spaghnum and 15% seedling bark. I drench them twice a week, as small plants do not do well if allowed to dry out.

As they grow larger, they graduate into 4" clay pots, with a spaghnum/bark mix. In this size, I do allow them to dry out, but only just.

Next step is a clay pot (4.1/2" or larger) with a bark/charcoal/perlite mix.

With this this graduated approach, I can water all my Cattleyas at the same schedule (twice weekly in summer, weekly in winter).

By the way, my experience is that Cattleyas do not really need to dry out. When I grow mature Catts in clay pots with granular mix (66% charcoal, 17% charcoal & 17% perlite), I find that I get far better growth when 'overwatering', typically 2 new growths from each lead + 1 new growth from last years pseudobulb. I see up to 5 new growths from plants with 7-8 old pseudobulbs.
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Last edited by Fairorchids; 09-11-2019 at 09:15 PM..
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