It is not my orchid! My friend Rieka asked me to repot some of her orchids again this year. One of them is Cattleya Blc. Ballandean ‘Bette’ x Blc. Prophecy ‘Montere’. I knew nothing about growing cattleyas as I had never grown them before. The plant was in a terrible state with a lot of dead bulbs and rhizomes. The few remaining leaves also look stressed. So before doing anything to it, I had to find out about Cattleya growing requirements in Melbourne area. For the very first time I learned that cattleyas have rhizomes similar to Iris plants.
- Temperate to Tropical climates: 9 deg. C in winter and up to 35 deg C in summer. Mature plants can be kept outside all year around with around 70 % sunlight (30% shade), never under direct sunlight. During very hot weather around summer time, keep it under 50 % shade. Young plants are better to keep indoor during very cold winter months.
- If the leaves are too green, it means that the plant needs more sunlight. If the leaves are kind of yellow it means too much sunlight. The good leaves are supposed to be thick and stiff (not floppy).
- Can flower all year around if winter is milder.
- Watering is done when the medium has started to feel dry (by poking a finger under the surface of the potting medium).
- Half strength liquid fertilizer weekly or every watering time during hot weather.
- Mist the area if humidity less than 50 %.
- Planting medium consists of large bark chips, pieces of charcoals, a bit of perlite.
- Repot when plant has become overcrowded.
To repot Cattleyas generally similar to re-potting other orchids, by getting rid of dead materials. As the cattleya that I repotted had a lot of dead roots, rhizomes and bulbs, I cut all of them off before I replanted it. I also got rid all of the growing media. Position the plant with the new growths (where the plant likely to grow) more towards the middle of the pot. I used a slightly smaller pot than before, a pot that is too large will make the medium too wet and cause root problems.
I never knew before that Cattleya orchids were supposed to be kept outdoor under the shade. I thought they had to be kept indoor (in temperate weather) like Phalaenopsis. Maybe I will try to get a couple for myself to try. The plants are small and do not take so much space like Cymbidiums, and the flowers are really beautiful.
December 21, 2013
Another Rieka’s orchid, very overgrown Cymbidium in a large pot. It was so very heavy, I could not take the plant out myself and my husband had to help me and eventually we ended up in cutting the plastic pot open.
I had never seen any Cymbidium grown in such a large pot and so over grown. Many leaves were damaged from fungal problems and sunburnt. More than half of the bulbs were without leaves and many of the foliage looked like they had been shredded on the tip. It was a surprise to see that the roots were quite healthy and plump. The small bark chips had almost completely disintegrated leaving only a compact ball of roots. I managed to divide the large plant into two section and each has three back bulbs. I saved the rest of the healthy back bulbs with roots to grow later. After I tidied them up, they look quite ok.
Another orchid belongs to Rieka, I am not sure but I think it is another miniature Dendrobium. How odd, I just got one from Vivi but with reddish bulbs/stems. Rieka’s small orchid was also had a lot of grass growing and with most of the leaves were dry or eaten by snails (?). It was in a deep and large pot, so I repotted them into two smaller squat pots. I think miniature Dendrobium like to be pot bound.