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Old 10-14-2013, 06:10 PM
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Catt. Rajah's Ruby "Sweartheart"

This Catt has been here since early 2012.

I am real close to giving up on all my Catts.

This one is following suit of all the others. I did not take good care of my orchids last winter. They got thirsty, really thirsty, but I have fessed up to all that this year.

When I took the orchids outside in July for the summer they did really well. I took good care, watching, watering, moving to a more agreeable spot on the porch.

But here we are again. Those darn catts that had been repotted did well for a while, but now look less than perfect under my new grow light. Yes some of them are getting too much light, so I move them about and hide some smaller ones under my Brassias.

This Catt had a gorgeous new growth this summer, it's 5 1/2 inches tall had a nice round pbulb, the roots look so so, not as many roots grew as other catts did this summer. Last week this orchids new growth was nice green plump and today is yellowed, the top leaf is covering the newest leaf that is black and I am fed up with the damn thing.

I can't find out what it is that is making it turn black. The new growth grew well with pretty healthy leaves. Then did an about face in the space of a meare 5 days.

It would be nice if I could bloom a Catt! There has to be someone out there who blooms Catts in my same climate, right?

From the picture what is your opinion. Shall I do surgery and cut off the black closed leaves, the entire pbulb, it is the only growth this Catt has had? I have done this in the past. Then ended up throwing the thing away.

Help

I am seeing the medium, large chunk bark mix is packed in there pretty tight. When I repot I hold the plants at an angle and tap the pot to get the bark mix down into the roots. Maybe it's too tight, but when I water I am pretty good at making sure the bark gets good and wet. And no I did not overwater. It's been a almost a week under my grow light T5HVO, gets hot under there.
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Last edited by Ladyofthelakes; 10-14-2013 at 06:14 PM. Reason: info
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:38 PM
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I am new to orchids and am growing catts. I water mine every ten days, soaking them for a half an hour and letting them drain out. I am using medium coconut bark, charcoal and perilite potting media. I do not see too many threads on catts. Thanks for posting, I hope to watch your success.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:31 AM
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I am thinking that most who have Catts are in warmer climates. I know one geek up in Maine had some catts. (Sunshine, are you there? )

Who else grows Catts?
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:50 AM
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Lady -- unless you are either not heating your house or you are heating it to LESS THAN 50 degrees then your trouble w/growing catts has absolultely nothing to do with your climate.

I grow mostly Catts...in Ohio...w/Winters that are very cold (just like in MI)...but my house is heated so it has no bearing on my orchids. Hell, we even keep our house cooler than most people...my furnace doesn't kick on at night until the temp drops back to 58. I used to have it set at 55 degrees but I started growing a few more warm growers so I thought it best to increase it closer to that 60 degree ideal. So, no, whatever is going on has nothing to do w/the fact that you live in Michigan or that it's cold outside your house.

Ok...so...your plant...can you get a pic that shows the end of the new growth better? A bit closer perhaps? I think what you're calling a yellow leaf is actually a drying sheath. But, I'm not 100% sure. I also don't see any black. Better pics please and perhaps we can help you get to the bottom of this situation.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:57 AM
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Here are some more pics, I included pics of the roots and bark mix. This orchid was watered yesterday with all the others.
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Old 10-15-2013, 01:00 PM
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Hi Vivienne

Roots visible on surface & medium look good. Is it possible water got into the crown of that new growth?

The Ca and Mg I mentioned on another post seems to help with resisting rot. My Catts seem happiest with relatively dry feet between watering, high quality water, bright but
indirect light, weak fertilizer occasionally.
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Old 10-15-2013, 03:55 PM
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Ok...so, yeah, that's a leaf and not a sheath. Looks to be a couple of them actually. These pics are much better...thank you.

Alright...let's back up for a minute here. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to grow catts and grow them well. Especially now that you have sufficient light. So...let's go through this and see if we can figure it out.

Walk me through how you're growing your catts...
1) how long are the lights on?
2) what temps are you keeping the house during the day and during the night?
3) what is your average humidity? Doesn't have to be exact...just a ballpark will help.
4)how often are watering
5) when you water are you watering heavily or just a little bit? Does water run out the bottom?
6) I can see your mix is chunky but what exactly is in it...what do you use?
7) what kind of fert and how much and how often are you using it


8) Lastly, when you pot up your catts are you using a pot that is just big enough to hold the existing roots and a little extra for some new growth? Or you treating it more like reg houseplants and giving it some good space to grow in to?

Let's start w/that info and see if we can figure this out.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katrina View Post
Ok...so, yeah, that's a leaf and not a sheath. Looks to be a couple of them actually. These pics are much better...thank you.

Alright...let's back up for a minute here. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to grow catts and grow them well. Especially now that you have sufficient light. So...let's go through this and see if we can figure it out.

Walk me through how you're growing your catts...
1) how long are the lights on?
2) what temps are you keeping the house during the day and during the night?
3) what is your average humidity? Doesn't have to be exact...just a ballpark will help.
4)how often are watering
5) when you water are you watering heavily or just a little bit? Does water run out the bottom?
6) I can see your mix is chunky but what exactly is in it...what do you use?
7) what kind of fert and how much and how often are you using it


8) Lastly, when you pot up your catts are you using a pot that is just big enough to hold the existing roots and a little extra for some new growth? Or you treating it more like reg houseplants and giving it some good space to grow in to?

Let's start w/that info and see if we can figure this out.

My timer turns lights on at 5 a.m. and off at 7:30 The day temp in the house is 67 night 64. Basement grow room ranges from 67-68 with the auto heat coming on at 60-61. I now have an oscillating fan 6 feet from the table and turned on low 24/7, with the ceiling fan on low 24/7

Humidity reads 67 -72

I water the orchids 1 time a week, which seems to keep most orchids happy, except the seedlings, unhealthy ones, Brassias, Milts, and probably the Epidendrums and one Epicattlyea, The Phals hanging under a regular T8 are happy, growing root/spikes Yes, I have always let water run out the bottoms

The bark mix is mostly Schultz mix from Lowes, but I do have other purchased bark, regular and medium, sometime I mix those with my pearlite, charcoal.that awful dried up moss that comes in a block from one of the vendors. I say awful cause it looks like firestarter.

I use Hausermann's fert. 1 capful to a gallon, but not every watering. My orchids don't usually have the salt buildup, but flush them anyway. I have not re-used fert water that has run in a bucket for a couple 3 years.

When I repot catts I do remember advice from here that Catts like their feet crowded. Now I do that in a 2.5 plastic pot but when I move up to a 3 or 4" pot then there could be more room than a years growth, but not on all of them.

This Catt was repotted this past spring from a square 4 inch to this 5" round one.

Whoee, thanks for all your time and energy, I hate being the "troublemaker in class" but if I can grow a catt as you say, better do it.

Seriously, my 55 or 59 plants now are more work than I want, going into other things to broaden my horizon. Getting the answers will be good or trashcan here they come.
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:51 AM
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OK...so thanks for the run down. Two things jumped out at me...

1) watering once a week. Under those lights I think you might need more watering but not growing in your space I could be wrong. However, with some of your smaller ones...and under those hot/drying lights...I'd bet they need more water. Have you tried the using a skewer in the pots to detect moisture? If not, I'd say give it a go...you might find you need to increase your watering frequency.

2) the Shultz mix. Nothing against that company but I used to use that stuff and I found a LOT of small particulates that tended to clog the pots. I would highly recommend you soak it and let the sediment and whatnot drop to the bottom of the bucket/tub...and then sift out the bigger stuff...throwing out that sediment. My first Summer growing orchids I had a lot of rot problems and when I started unpotting those plants I found a mess in the bottom of the pots...a clogged mess.
I also started putting foam p'nuts or some other large chunky bits in the bottom of all my pots after this happened. This not only ensures better drainage but if there is any small stuff it'll usually rinse out w/the chunky bits in the bottom. Less likely to get clogged up.

Everything else looks like really good parameters. You probably don't need to run your lights quite that long...so if you'd like to save a bit of electricity...12hrs would be sufficient w/those high powered lights. You could even reduce it a bit down from there if you'd like but it won't hurt them to stay at 12. I started reducing mine shortly after bringing them inside...and I'll have it dialed back to 10hrs going into Dec and it'll stay there until April. I find the higher powered lights don't need as much run time and w/all that I have...it saves me a few bucks vs running them for 12+hrs/day all Winter.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:00 AM
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Thanks so much for your time and expertise.

The bark mix makes sense, I have just started with the styro peanuts this fall, this Catt was repotted last spring with no styro and only 4 small drain holes. I am going to repot this morning. It comes to my mind how "clumpy" the mix has been in the past when I took a look at other orchids
That new light is wonderful, but you have to know how to use it. It heats up the whole room from 60 to up to 68-69.

I agree on the water, every orchid is dry in a week. I have done the skewer in the past but now I can tell by weight, so I should have done better.

Lordy, I hope some of the newbies are learning from my mistakes!!!
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:58 AM
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I grow a number of Catt's, and I am not a newbie, but this has been an informative thread! So far I have been good at growing roots and leaves but not so successful at blooms! Hopefully all in good time.
Like already mentioned, it does look like water has gotten trapped in the new growth and that has lead to the leaf rotting. Looking forward to seeing blooms in your future too
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:20 PM
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Here is the picture of the bark mix, I just dumped the mix out and the powerful explosion of mold/musty air filled my lungs. I already have a bronchial infection this week

I stop the repotting to soak the plant in Physan while I disinfected the counter, dumped the wastebasket in the burn barrel and lit on fire, then washed/bleached tools, brush, and wastebasket in soap/bleach. What a stinking mess.

Every bit, every stone was covered in fuzzy grey mold. I am surprised the plant didn't keel over instead of the new growth. Yikes, what a mess!

As Katrina mentioned her thoughts on the brand of mix, I will mix my own mix with large bark, charcoal,pearlite, and a bit of moss thrown in? I have this habit of shaking and tapping the heck out of the pots to be sure to get every nook and cranny filled with bark mixture. Guess that is the wrong thing to do. Everything was packed tight in this pot.

Live and hopefully learn, sometimes I feel like the poster child for things
"Not to Do" in this hobby.

In the process of ridding the plant of old bark mix, (just from this spring/summer, several healthy roots were stripped of the velum and exposed green roots. As you can see in some of the pics.
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Old 10-17-2013, 02:23 PM
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Yeeeeaaaahhhhh...I was worried you might find that in the pot. Same thing happened to me! The good news is that now you know what the problem has been and from here on out it can be avoided.

You still have some decent roots on that plant so it should be able to recover from this. Pot it up in a small...VERY small...pot w/some of your planned chunky mix...water thoroughly and then let it dry out before watering again.


BTW - we've all been the "poster child" for don't do it in some area of this hobby. Learning curves...we've all had them. Personally, I learn best from my mistakes so I don't let them get me down.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:00 PM
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Do not despair, Vivienne. We have all made our share of mistakes. This is good news, now you know what the problem is!
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:48 PM
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thank you Katrina and Reg for the encouragement.

BTW what is this mess called, just plain old moldy mix caused from packed to tight, no room to breath............?
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladyofthelakes View Post

BTW what is this mess called, just plain old moldy mix caused from packed to tight, no room to breath............?
That's a good moniker...or, the one I like..."death gunk".
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