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Orchids/growing tips on cattleya and bulbopyllum

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QUESTION: good day wayne...

got my first cattleya last week its a flowerless
cutting and i got it bare root, planted it in mixture
of hydrocorns and charcoal with little sphagnum. please
advise me about lighting, humidity, watering and feeding...
can they take on heavy rainfall?

ill be buying bulbophyllum inunctum tomorrow but i have no
idea at all on how to grow this beauty... need advise with lighting, media, humidity, watering feeding and propagation. do they like wet media?

can i use tap water?

thanks

Rocky M

ANSWER: Rocky, always glad to hear from a fellow orchid grower.  Most orchids, especially cattleyas, require a well drained potting mix.  Cattleyas need a fairly coarse potting mix.  Particle size should be such that water will flow through the mix.  The potting mix should not be exposed to standing water.I am not familiar with hydrocorn, but have used other expanded clay products in my potting mix.  I prefer the standard fir-bark based orchid potting mix. If you decide to use that, be sure to mix in perlite, charcoal, and/or tree fern fiber.  Sift out the small dustlike particles and those under 1/2 inch. Wet the resulting mix thoroughly before use. In their native environment cattleyas typically grow with their roots exposed and can tolerate heavy rains because they can dry out rapidly after the rain.  Avoid a stagnant environment such as when the potting mix remains wet or damp for days.  In nature, cattleya growth occurs with the rainy season and ceases during the dry season.  If a plant is in rest period and no new growth is present, it is best to keep the plant dry until you see new growth emerging.  This is because if moisture is present during a period when the plant is resting, it cannot use the moisture and rot could set in. When a plant needs to bee repotted It is best to repot a plant when new growth is emerging.  I prefer to use a clay pot for cattleyas because there is good movement of air and water through the pot walls.  Cattleyas should be tightly potted so choose a pot that will fit fairly tightly into the pot.  I like to use rhizome clips and/or stakes to steady the plant after repotting.


The common method for growing bulbophyllums is to pot them in a net pot in sphagnum moss.  Net pots can be hung with good exposure to air movement  Heavy rain should not be a problem due to good drainage and evaporation from the net pot.


Cattleyas and Bulbophyllums like semishaded locations.  As they adapt, light levels can be increased for enhanced flowering.

Both types can be grown indoor under lights but humidity must be maintained.

Propagation for both are similar.  When new growth is present,, remove three to four pseudobulbs from the parent plant plus at least one attached new growth.       

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks wayne.

what are the ideal growing conditions for these two? im guessing warm to intermediate.

ANSWER: Yes, Rocky.  Ideal temperatures for either should generally range from 60-85 degrees F.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: weeew helpful infos there.

last question, i also have aranda hybrid (arachnis x vanda cross)
need growing tips with lighting, watering, humidity, media,
feeding and air flow.

thanks again and have a nice day.

Answer
Vandaceous hybrids enjoy growing in a hanging basket with little to no potting mix where they get maximum air flow.  In this environment, they can be watered daily as with the open potting mix and free air movement, they can rapidly dry out.  When in active growth, use a weak solution of plant food (1/4 tsp per gallon of water) each time you water. Grow in a semishaded environment such as under a tree.  As the plant adapts to this semishaded environment you may gradually increase the light level for improved flowering.

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Wayne King

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Any question about orchid culture. I have thirty+ yrs of growing experience,president 2x of our local Orchid Growers Guild,held a position in most all other offices associated with the Guild at one time or another. Head of Orchid judging team for local club meetings and some shows. Member of two Orchid Socities and local Rep.for Mid America Orchid Congress for several yrs.I have in my collection about 800 Orchid plants of all types.

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