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  #1  
Old 07-19-2021, 11:05 PM
greyblackfish greyblackfish is offline
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Default Need help with watering cattleya seedlings

I've got three cattleya seedlings a month ago. I'm going out of town for at least 4 days and I'm worried about them.

I'm really afraid to really wet the moss medium as much as I do with my other seedlings. They are potted very loosely in sphagnum and a bit of bark so the pot doesn't retain that much water. I've killed a cattleya seedling not long ago from rot and it's made me very paranoid about watering. I do a weekly watering which always worries me. Then it takes 2-3 days for the medium to dry out. By the fourth day the moss is crispy so I give them just a little bit of water every other day until it's time to water again.

I'll be gone for a while. It's been hot here. Got any suggestions for time away? And any suggestions for a better watering system than the one I have? Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2021, 11:14 PM
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I would water as normal until you leave. Reduce light if possible, and just let them dry out. Cattleya seedlings can handle several bone-dry days with zero problems, in my experience. They are water management experts.
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  #3  
Old 07-20-2021, 12:10 AM
greyblackfish greyblackfish is offline
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Hi there, wow actually I watched your video with Stephen about the cattleya seedlings which was very helpful especially with the potting medium. Maybe once I keep these alive for over a year I'll pursue the ultimate dream of obtaining a c. rex flask lol.

Well that's very reassuring to know that they'll be okay for a few days. It's confusing to me on how to water them. I'm always worried that they are too wet once I fully water.

Anyway thanks for the help and the videos.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:41 AM
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hey greyblackfish, find a spot that never gets any sunlight, not too hot. Greenpets advice is right, you are also right that it is easy to water too much in moss.

So have you considered weighing the pot? Give yourself 10 grams of water weight to work with.

So if the pot weighs 50 grams once you have let it dry for a few days then you add 10g to 60 grams. Then you weigh it to know exactly when it reaches 50 grams and when it is time to water it again. You can then even adjust it if you are not happy with how long 10 grams lasts but for such a pot I wouldn't water more than 10 grams at a time.

Hope that helps.

I can relate to worrying about overwatering but I can guarantee that one will be absolutely fine for 4 days even if you forget to give it a few ml before you leave.

Moss holds moisture for a few days longer once it looks dry an orchids can tolerate drying for a couple days.

It won't even feel it and could probably go longer.

Last edited by Shadeflower; 07-20-2021 at 05:43 AM..
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:29 AM
greyblackfish greyblackfish is offline
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That's good input, Shadeflower. I do use those squeeze bottles for watering so this is a very doable method.

For now I'm gonna just water them as usual and let them dry out without worrying too much until the traveling is over.

But this is reassuring info since I'm trying to make this orchid thing work for me without checking too often. I've got oncidiums, cymbidiums, and dendrobiums but I definitely have had the most challlenge with cattleya seedlings so far but just with the watering. It's probably all in my head.

Thanks a lot for the advice!!

---------- Post added at 09:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:06 AM ----------

Oh I just understood what the weighing means as I watered them. It would have been ineffective to measure the water with all the run off. I gotcha.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:51 AM
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Also, with sphagnum, you're better off setting them in a shallow tray of water, rather than watering from overhead.

That way the moss will be moistened by wicking, without compressing it, which is what leads to root suffocation and death.
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Old 07-20-2021, 12:53 PM
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I had good results, when using moss, by misting heavily so that the moss can absorb water without messing with it.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:03 PM
greyblackfish greyblackfish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
Also, with sphagnum, you're better off setting them in a shallow tray of water, rather than watering from overhead.

That way the moss will be moistened by wicking, without compressing it, which is what leads to root suffocation and death.
Just getting the hang of the features of this board. I don't know why I haven't thought of this method before. I was going to start using cups but it seemed overkill. I'm now guilty of directly rinsing some of my dendrobium seedlings over the faucet.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:17 PM
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Watering is a balance between ambient temperature, humidity and how much the gardener waters.

In warm temperatures Cattleya seedlings grow rapidly (for something that small) and water evaporates faster from the medium. Under these circumstances Catt seedling can use a large amount of water. With temperatures in the 80s F / upper 30s C I can completely soak the sphagnum around my seedlings and know they will use it rapidly. I struggled with Cattleya seedlings in medium to large bark because they would suffer badly when I missed one day of watering.

As ambient temperatures cool such seedlings use less water. The gardener needs to pay attention to the seedlings. I have observed healthy Cattleya seedlings in warm conditions use more water than other kinds of orchids use.
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:47 PM
greyblackfish greyblackfish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
Watering is a balance between ambient temperature, humidity and how much the gardener waters.

In warm temperatures Cattleya seedlings grow rapidly (for something that small) and water evaporates faster from the medium. Under these circumstances Catt seedling can use a large amount of water. With temperatures in the 80s F / upper 30s C I can completely soak the sphagnum around my seedlings and know they will use it rapidly. I struggled with Cattleya seedlings in medium to large bark because they would suffer badly when I missed one day of watering.

As ambient temperatures cool such seedlings use less water. The gardener needs to pay attention to the seedlings. I have observed healthy Cattleya seedlings in warm conditions use more water than other kinds of orchids use.
That's very insightful. I live in zone 9a and I have noticed that mine are all growing fairly quickly. I was thinking of switching them to all bark which I'm very glad I didn't do. In comparison my dendrobium seedlings haven't shown any signs of growth in the past two months.

---------- Post added at 05:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:41 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
I had good results, when using moss, by misting heavily so that the moss can absorb water without messing with it.
I was using a sprayer before but I'm not sure how to do that without getting water on the leaves which is something I've never seen the benefit of.
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