Catasetum Flower Spike Development
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  #1  
Old 08-18-2021, 03:00 PM
mopwr mopwr is offline
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Catasetum Flower Spike Development
Default Catasetum Flower Spike Development

I searched this topic, both on Google and here and haven't found anything really difinitive. Some of my catasetums have started spiking and everything still has just about every leaf on them. Some of the lower leaves have dropped, but honestly I think it has less to do with dormancy and more to do with the plant literally sprouting roots through the bases of the leaves - essentially ripping them away from the bulbs and poking them full of holes at the base.

My question is: Now that the spikes are deveoping, I'd like to keep them as compact and "neat" as possible, so I haven't moved them from their current location / orientation. What is the affect, if any, on the flower spikes?

Does more light mean more compact spikes? Will changing their orientation to light result in a twisting spike chasing the light - similar to what I've seen with Phalaenopsis types?

I guess, I didn't put too much thought into this earlier because I thought all of these plants spiked during dormancy and I wasn't as concerned with their placement / orientation. I left the plants in my, now terribly overcrowded, terrarium setup and for the time being they are fine. I'm evn good if the flower spikes grow downward below the pot as I have it on a shelf 10" shelf and the spikes are currently about 6-7" up from the base of the pot - so unless they drop down near 18", I think I could keep it where it is without moving it, but we'll see.
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2021, 03:43 PM
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Compact and neat? Not going to happen. They do what they want. When I have spikes going in directions that are problematic, I move or rotate the plant so that it can continue to develop. I haven't noticed a problem with twisty spikes from moving them. It is more important to make sure that they don't run into anything - which certainly CAN distort or even destroy them. Phal spikes develop slowly. Catasetum spikes erupt and do their thing much more quickly. Just make sure that they have a clear path, move them as needed.

Catasetinae have all sorts of timing for blooming... some bloom while new growth is still pretty small... and then may bloom again later. Some bloom toward the end of the growing season. Some bloom after they lose leaves. Clowesia can bloom while still dormant well before new growth even starts. So... blooming happens when blooming happens... enjoy whenever that is.
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Old 08-18-2021, 05:32 PM
mopwr mopwr is offline
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Compact and neat? Not going to happen. They do what they want.
Ha, ok, I guess I'll just have to adapt. I've seen specimens of the same exact named cultivars, some with relatively neat, closely-packed flowers and others with super long spikes with spaced out flowers. I assumed that, if nothing else, it may be a factor of light.

If it was in any way something I could control, then I'd aim for that. On one plant, I have three spikes from one bulb, that - so far - seem to be growing in the same direction, at roughly the same height from the ground; if I could keep them all trained to keep going that way and keep them on the compact side, that would be great for my (relatively) tiny growspace. If they decide to go wild, I'm really going to be in a tough spot. Next year, I'm definitely building an outdoor space for these - just need more time to sort out where to put it and a little time to actually build it.
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Old 08-18-2021, 06:01 PM
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Your plants are just letting you know who is in charge...
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Old 08-18-2021, 11:12 PM
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I've actually found a lot of buds will abort with a change in light orientation, especially early on in bud development. Some types (Cycnoches) being more touchy than others.
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Old 08-18-2021, 11:15 PM
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When I move them, it's typically not by much... just to keep them from running into their neighbors. So I guess that I have dodged the bullet so far. Also, I'm growing them outside, so most of the light is coming from above, they probably don't notice a significant change of direction when I rotate them just a little bit.
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Old 08-22-2021, 08:30 PM
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Quick update:. They are still growing towards the light, so far managing to avoid other plants. They're a little wiggly which is odd to me since the light position has not changed once since the spikes started developing.

They clearly seek the light in some way, kind of confused because I thought this variety cascaded it's flowers and so far, they're still growing up.

(Apologies about the photo rotation - doing this from my phone)
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Old 08-22-2021, 11:10 PM
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The spikes will drop as the buds develop and get heavier.
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Old 08-26-2021, 11:57 AM
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The spikes will drop as the buds develop and get heavier.
So far, it looks like this guy is still intent on climbing. The buds are developing nicely, about a1/4" right now and still climbing up, not sure if it will continue to push new buds at the tips of the spikes, but it looks like it will; looks to be around 12-15-ish per spike as things stand now. Once loaded with flowers, I'm sure they'll drop a good bit, but as they're now about 8" tall, so unless they stretch out and drop hard, I don't think they'll be cascading like I've seen on some plants - time will tell though... Either way, I'm documenting it with photos so I can see the progression over time.

I was thinking, now that the buds are just barely starting to get a little bit of color - does the temperature at time of flowering impact the color intensity for catasetums? I know with Phalaenopsis, especially the warm growing polychilos types, color can vary a fair bit depending on the temperature that the buds were developing at - generally favoring lower color intensities at warmer temperatures. Are cataetums similar in this regard?

It'll be interesting to see as I have one 'SVO Black Pearl' that, while big and absolutely flowering size, looks like it's intent on flowering once completely dormant. Some leaves are yellowing and there's no flower spikes in sight. The difference between these two is that one of them I got locally and was no doubt already acclimatized to PA / NJ growing seasons, and the other was bought from a Florida grower with a head start on growth.
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Old 08-26-2021, 12:14 PM
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I have not noticed much color difference year-over-year on my Catasetinae so I don't think that temperature has much to do with it. Bloom times are highly variable, though.
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