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Old 10-05-2007, 07:52 AM
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Wink Sick cattleya

Hi. I bought a cattleya in a bag from Loew's about a month ago. It was the only one left and it was ina 2 and1/4 inch pot. I followed the directions on the bag and it indicated that it should be potted in a three or four inch pot. It is now in a four inch orchid pot with crock at the bottom. The problem is that the plant came with wrinkled leaves and pseudobulbs and that its condition hasn't changed. I have it on a windowsill with no direct sun. The temperatures are running warm at 80 during the day and 60 at night. The humidity is at least 60% 95%of the time. Is there anything special I can do for it. I hate the thought of unpotting it but I will if this is what is advised. It is staying green and nothing has died on it since I got it. Any suggestions would be helpful. I know that this is the place to go for help.
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Old 10-05-2007, 11:01 AM
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If you are sure it had live roots when you repotted, there is nothing to do but wait. Sometimes the plants can take a few months to end a normal period of dormancy, so be patient. When repotting, you can tell if roots are alive or dead by gently squeezing them. If alive, they will be firm/succulent. If dead, they will collapse, and if soft, are probably recently deceased. If very firm but very black, which I see occasionally, that is a condition of being dead but petrified. If any of the roots are accessible, you may want to test them. And, if you can't find any live roots any other way, it may be worthwhile to remove the plant from the pot to inspect the roots. If all roots are dead, let us know, and we can give you further instructions of how to save the plant.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:20 PM
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Thank you so much for the reply. I think I will unpot it just to be sure. It had a new growth when it went into the bag, but this has fallen off. One surface root is waterlogged. I have a feeling that water was poured into the bag and it rotted the new growth. I'll feel better if I have a look-see to make sure it's not a pile of mush.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:39 AM
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I unpotted the cattleya and there were no viable roots. I put it in a plastic bag ditting on some moist spagnum moss. I was wondering how learge the zip-log bag has to be. The bag it is in is a sandwich bag. The largest leaf brushes the top. Is there any danger in keeping it this way? It doesn't want to stand up eiither. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:32 PM
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Nancy, I've lost roots on my cattleyas many times and as well, cut all the roots off after blooming when I repotted them, out of necessity because of entire root rot. Some growers deliberately remove all the roots with each new repotting and say it promotes new growth faster without ever skipping a season. Cattleyas are amazing because it takes more than losing or cutting off all their roots to kill them.

I've also bought a couple of catts that were pre-packaged as you described and I've found that the quality of these plants can more than sometimes be questionable. Two of them had developed rot but I think it was brewing before I ever took over their care.

You can keep your catt in a bag with some sphag. or you can put it in medium, potted up rootless. I've used the bag/sphag method on dendrobiums with success, never tried it with catts. Which ever you choose, make sure you first cut all the dead roots to stop the spread of rot, a suggested rooting hormone soak might help. Some disagree that a rooting hormone on a totally rootless catt is a good idea but I haven't experienced anything negative about it's use. Keep it out of direct sun and no watering for 2-3 weeks. After then, start watering it regularly and keep it in a sunny location. You should by then start to see a lot of growth activity, without having to unpot it.

I have a huge catt that I removed every single root from (this past June)after it's last blooming. The ps.bulbs became shriveled, the leaves did too. It wasn't until just a few weeks ago that the leaves smoothed out again. Patience is one thing required when having orchids.

Last edited by sandra; 10-09-2007 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandra View Post

I have a huge catt that I removed every single root from (this past June)after it's last blooming. The ps.bulbs became shriveled, the leaves did too. It wasn't until just a few weeks ago that the leaves smoothed out again. Patience is one thing required when having orchids.
Sandra, that makes me feel better about my sad looking wrinkly catt. I'll keep being patient, and now I have some extra hope! Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:44 AM
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Nancy, you need to update your profile with your location. Sphag & Bag is fine any where, but potting up without roots I would only recommend for high humidity areas like Florida. The bag you have is fine. I usually hang my bags from the edge of my greenhouse bench. The hormone thing is fine for a rootless plant as it will act to start new growths, but you have to wash it off after the new growths start of it will act to delay rooting in the new growths . I know this sounds crazy, but rooting hormone on Sympodials, at least on the rhizome does not stimulate roots, just new growths. This from a year or so of experience in using a variety of rooting hormone brands on a ton of plants.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:27 AM
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I'm not sure how to update my information, but I live in Middle River, Maryland. I still have small roots on my catt. I left them on so that the plan can sit up on the moss and to rest its rhisome in a little trench left in the moss. I can't tell if the roots I've left are alive. They are thick and firm, but not green. I can try potting it again with a bag on top of it if this sounds like a good isea. All pb's have plumbed up but the leaves remain wrinkled. So the question is, should I cut the rest of the roots off and leave it in the bag, cut the roots and pot it rootless covering it with a bag, or pot it with roots as is. It seems very complicated but I really want it to live. Thank you all for the advice. Please keep it coming until I'm able to come to a conclusion.
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:36 AM
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If the plant 'may' have a tiny bit of root left, I think I would not want to leave the roots embedded in wet moss. If you have wrung out the moss pretty well before putting it in the bag, the roots can touch the moss and it will probably be OK. Live roots can be white or an off color, sort of light brown. If they are close to black, and especially if they are toward the back of the plant, I would assume they are dead. I don't think it is important to remove all the dead roots, so you can probably leave it as it is.
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:09 PM
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The roots are toward the front of the plant. They are a tan to grey color and have plumped up since they have been in the spagnum. No new growth yet but the little pb's are plumping up as well. Can all these inerventions work for a seedling? It only has four small pb's and is probably about four years from being blooming size. Thanks so much for the help. I will surveythings again when I get home from work.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:59 PM
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I too have purchased 9 cattleya orchids from Lowes as you have described in a very small pot. Some were in okay condition and others had very wrinkled leaves with barely any root systems. I first soaked all my little catts in water with superthrive for a couple of minutes to plump up any roots it may have then just potted them with sphag moss, bark, and perlite in a 4 inch clay pot with slits along the sides. I've been watering mine about once a week and they are in direct sunlight for at least 4-5 hours. I have had five of them for about 2.5 years and they have grown very large and look as if they might bloom in a few months (i hope) and the other three I purchased this past summer. My latest acquisiton was not doing too well, but bounced back after 2 months. Some put out only new roots and others have been putting out new roots and growths. I'm sure your cattleyas will be fine as well. I just can't wait until they finally bloom after all the time and work I have put into them.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:25 AM
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I know what I really need to practice is patience. You story has helped me a lot. Thanks.
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:02 AM
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The little cattleya is back in its pot with a rhisome clip to hold it in because all the roots are gone. I have a plastic bag over it and a humidity tray under it. Is there anything else I should do or can I relax for now? Thanks.
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:14 PM
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Looks like you have done what you can, so sitting back and relaxing sounds good. It's up to the plant now.
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:36 PM
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Time to sit back and relax and wait. Remember, patience is a virtue... hey, does that make orchid growers virtuous?
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:39 PM
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Keep an eye on those bulbs. If they start to shrivel again, I'd go back to sphag and bag. Using rooting hormone on the base of the newest growth might help to stimulate a new growth faster, but you need to be able to wash it off after a new growth starts, so you probably don't want a lot of hormone powder sitting in the bark where the rhizome rests, as this is not very washable.
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:09 AM
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What is the name of a rooting hormone? I used to buy Root-Tone, but I don't know if this is what you're recommending. I'm going to watch the little fellow closely, I can tell how badly he wants to live. I think maybe I should leave him alone for awhile and let him do his thing.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:11 PM
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Yes, root-tone is a rooting hormone. But I agree, sometimes leaving alone is best.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:50 PM
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Sometimes you just have to have faith in God that he will look over these beautiful plants he has created.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:38 PM
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Nancy,

I had the same problem as you did with the Catt purchased in a bag from Lowe's. After following all of the instructions, and after about 3 months there was still no change. I had pretty much given it up for dead, and continued enjoying my dendrobiums and the one mature cattleya that I had received as a gift. I continued to water and feed the little "Lowe's Catt" as recommended. One year later, it finally produced new growth. I was elated. Three years later, the Catt is still small, compared to my others, but it now as six very healthy bulbs. It still has not bloomed.

I believe the Lowe's Catts are produced from mass divisions, and may explain why they take so long to begin new, healthy growth. I've also read somewhere that a divided Catt can take up to 5 years to produce its first bloom (someone correct this if I am incorrect), given ideal conditions. The main thing I learned: patience. I took up knitting while waiting for my orchids to grow. Enjoy!

Scott
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:14 PM
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Catts are very seasonal, with most only having one growth per year. If something upsets a Catt at the critical time to start a growth so that it doesn't start it, BINGO, you have a year to wait. If one re-pots/divides a Catt without doing damage to the roots, or does so at the exact right time, with new growth just starting new roots, then a division of 3 or more full sized bulbs should bloom in the very next season. Back in the days when they used osmunda fiber for Catts, the process of packing the fiber into the pot ruined all the roots, so the standard then was that the plants were expected to miss blooming the following season.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:12 AM
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In the case of my little catt, it had started growing it's new growth, which was well on it's way when it rotted off due to water soaking into the sheath. I guess I have to wait a year for it to grow another one. The little guy is doing fine. Ps's are firm and there's no new wrinkling. The leaves are still slightly wrinkled but are standing straight up. I really believe it wants to live.
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:54 PM
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I have checked on the little catt. I misted the roots because the stumps seemed plump. They turned green when I wet them. I was wondering if it may be time to expose it to more light. There's no new growth. Thanks for giving me so much help. I need you all again.
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:16 PM
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If the rotted growth left a stump behind, it may have been able to produce roots on that, and the more roots, the better. If it has some good roots, you can probably give it medium light, direct but shaded 60 to 70%, but watch for any shriveling.
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Old 10-26-2007, 01:17 PM
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Should I continue to leave the plastic bag on it as I expose it to a little more light. I'd also like to ask, I have another cattleya that is very shrivelled, except for the newest growth. This growth is in the process of growing roots. Is there anything I can do to help the root growth along, and should I have this one in the brightest light or should I find a spot with less light?
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Old 10-26-2007, 08:24 PM
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Plastic bags are always OK, as long as you let an air exchange take place.

I would leave that rooting orchid alone. It is doing just what it should and any well meaning change may not be for the better.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:42 AM
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It's hard not to want to do something when I see the plant struggling so. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 10-29-2007, 10:37 PM
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Nancy

I have one I got from Home Depot several years ago. It also had no roots. I soaked it in a root stimilator that is put out by Organica. It took about 6 months but it started to grow roots and has added a couple of new growths since I bought it. It hasn't bloomed yet but I am guessing that it has another year or two before its ready to bloom. Tony M.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:01 AM
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I was wondering, since it has live root stubs, can I offer it a little fertilizer? It is still very wrinkled but seems to be holding its own. I will make sure it is a very mild dose.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:05 PM
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You probably should add whatever mix is necessary to have it at the base of the new growth so that the roots are going into the mix directly, and can get moisture from the mix. You can be fertilizing the plant normally with diluted fert or orchid fert that is already labeled to give a diluted mixture. You can water the plant's mix well, then pour a cup of the fert mix in afterward, and be sure to pour it around the area of the roots, as fert else where in the mix, where there are no roots isn't helping much.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:52 PM
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Thank you. I feel like my little catt is making progress. It's my favorite color, too. It's PURPLE!
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Old 11-01-2007, 07:06 AM
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Another in the long saga of why not to buy plants in big box stores.

A friend is the grower, who supplies Lowes and WalMart here in SW Florida, and is constantly complaining that they refuse to water the plants in the bags. Not that they neglect them but refuse to allow an employee to waste their time watering them. He hates to see the healthy plants he sends fall apart so fast.

Watering bags is difficult because the moisture will rot the plant easily. It works as a sales technique but is terrible for the orchid.

A 2 1/2 inch pot should flower in as little as 6 months not several years. I potted several hundred in April that were smaller than 2 inch (plug trays) and they are flowering heavily now.

I bought one at Home Depot as a test one year and after three years without flowers it went in the burn pile. The same species that had never been abused bloomed 4 times a year during that time.
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Old 11-06-2007, 09:36 AM
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I expect my cattleya to put forth a growth in the Spring. For now it's probably living on its reserves and I don't think I'll see new growth for quite awhile. I just wish I could figure out how to get the wrinkles out of the leaves.
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:14 AM
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Well, I was wrong. I looked at the Cattleya and lo and behold, there is a growth coming! It's about half an inch tall. One thing, though. It started from a point below the point of the other growths, probably because the first one was aborted. I now have to figure out how to keep the roots covered but not cover the new growth too deeply. Any suggestions? One last comment. IT'S ALIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:06 PM
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Scoop out around the new growth so it is at the level of the mix where it is. After the growth gets up a ways, it won't hurt to have a little mix over its base.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:18 PM
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Great job, Nancy. Your heart must be swelling with pride at being able to save a catt. All that sweat and worrying paid off.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:24 PM
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Thank you both. I always like to see new growth on purple cattleyas because it's that beautiful purplish green color.
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:33 AM
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Hi. I thought I'd give you an update on my little cattleya and ask for help, as well. It does not appear to doing so well. The pb's are very thin and wrinkly and the leaves continue to be wrinkly, as well. the back leave is turning brown and will be falling off the plant soon. They new growth continues to grow but is very small. Ihave the plant with the rest of my cats on a chilly windowsill. Is there anything I should be doing for it now? It's fought so hard up to this point. Should I cover it with a plastic bag again? thanks in advance. I know I can count on you.
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:45 PM
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Don't worry about the leaf you are loosing. Since the plant went thru a rootless time, and a lot of shriveling took place, it may have shortened the life span of that leaf. The important thing is the health of the new growth. Its size is not terribly important, since with all its troubles up to this point, I would expect a small growth. What you want is a stable growth, not rotting off, and good roots from this growth, so that the entire plant that is left can function fully. If the new growth hangs in and produces roots, you will find that each succeeding years growth will get larger, tho the very next one may be the same size, as often I find plants are just happy to get another growth started before real progress begins. The baggy is only important when the plant is shy of roots. I'll leave it to you to judge the amount of current roots in operation.
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Old 12-18-2007, 03:01 PM
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Thank you so much for the answer. It doesn't look like there are any roots in operation even though the few stumps it has are still green. This little growth is growing almost horizontal to the potting mix. Its leaf is just starting to come out. Is there anything I can do to straighten it up? It shows no evidence of rotting. I have the plant turned so that as it reaches for the light it will have change its direction more verticall to reach it. Maybe this is all I can do for now. Thank you so much for the encouragement.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:33 PM
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The direction it grows is what you let it do. I train all my growths to be upright. Take a long piece of twist tie, or twist a few shorter ones together, tie it at the top of a convenient bulb, and bring the other end down to your new growth. Start by lifting the growth a little, and add a little more bend every few days. Just don't put a lot of stress on the growth all at once. Since it is still growing and forming, it should be easily redirected. And if you have only a few short stubs of roots, I would go with the bag over the plant, and open at the bottom. The new growth will, at some point, start its own roots. Then you will have plenty of roots.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:36 PM
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I placed a bag over the plant and it appears to be standing up more upright than it was. I will try to train my little growth. It's back on the windowsill because that's where it seems like it does the best. It's the saddest looking thing you ever saw. It's still alive, though. Thanks so much for the help,. I'll keep you updated on its progress.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:37 PM
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I just wanted to give you an update on my poor little catt. It has lost its back leaf and the one nest to it will be gone in a day or two. It also turned brown. The poor baby has been attacked by mealy bugs. I'been swabbing it faithfully with alcohol and I think I've got these under control. On the plus side. The little growth continues to grow and it has sprouted the greenish, most beautiful root I think I have ever seen. I'm going to keep praying for it. Thank you all for all your help and kindness.
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:19 PM
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That little root is worth its weight in gold. Good going, Nancy. I should post a picture of my set backs that are being nursed along. I have a Rhyncholaelia (Brassavola) digbyana 'Mrs. Chase' AM/AOS that had several magnificent blooms on it, until it was hit by my dreaded fusarium problem. I was able to save a small new shoot, so what I have now it a tiny single bulb and leaf with a few roots and the whole thing is about an inch and a half tall. It has been dormant for about 6 months, and am waiting for signs of life and a new growth to start. Sure, I could go out and buy another for probably $40 or $50 (not my style), but I am not really in a hurry to have it. Got lots of other plants to entertain me in the mean time.
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:26 PM
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I think it would be very inspiring to see pictures of some setbacks. Your plant sounds like it's gone through hell and back and came back swinging. I admire you not replacing it. I can only imagine how much that plant means to you. Good growing, too!
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:17 AM
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That is the spirit Nancy. Never give up easily. Great job. I just had a few Catts & I hope I do not face the same problem as you. AND if I do encounter it, I know who to ask.

For others who have help to revive Nancy's Catts through their generous input, you are just great especially Cynthia who never fail to reply to every Nancy's post.



BTW Nancy, my wife & I simply love purple colored orchids.
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:28 AM
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Purple is my favorite color, and I've decided that this will be the only purple catt I buy. You're very right about Cynthia. God Bless Her. She has always been there when I need her.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:23 PM
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Just a small update. The little growth continues to grow, though it has slowed down. The root has stopped growing and is still very short. I believe the little guy is taking a breather after going through so much. I've taken the bag off and am treating as I do with the rest of my catts. I think we're going to be okay.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:29 AM
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Well done Nancy. It just shows that with a little patience, determination & a bit of luck, you will succeed.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:20 AM
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Cynthia, I was wondering if it is a natural thing for a cattleya to stop in mid growth? The root has stopped growing, as well and has partially covered up the tip. There are no new roots coming. The plant is down to one green leaf, which appears to be in pretty good shape although the pb is wrinkled and the half grown new growth. I was wondering if there is anything special I should do with it now?
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:40 PM
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I normally don't expect orchids to be constantly in growth, so I generally chalk it up to the plant taking time out. This is not to say there isn't a reason that could be gotten around, just don't know how, or if one should even try. Just make sure that the plant gets some water to that root on a regular basis, and probably it is still bag covering time. My little pip of a Brassavola digbyana has just started a new growth after what seemed forever. I must have much more than the average patience, even for orchid growers, tho it helps to have a lot of orchids to keep your mind off the slow pokes.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:01 AM
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Thanks, Cynthia. I'll rebag it. Do you think just misting the top of the potting mix, where the root is sitting on a daily basis will provide adequate hydration for it?
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Old 01-31-2008, 05:35 PM
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May I ask why your catts are on a chilly windowsill? Catts don't like to be kept cool. If your little plant is getting chilled it would certainly stall. You might try giving it more warmth.
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Old 01-31-2008, 10:35 PM
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If there are no roots in the pot, don't worry about the fact that the mix might not dry out if you mist the root at the top. Mist it a couple of times a day if you have the time, once if not. The alternative, and something I am doing a lot of with some iffy plants is to put them into a clay with sphagnum moss around the root, and let the moss get mostly dry before misting/watering again. But I am doing this in 1.5 to 3 inch clay pots that dry pretty fast. This serves to give me a little more time before having to do something if misting everyday gets tiring.

Orchid126 has a point about warmth. I am about to bring the last of my marginal survivors into my bathroom that is the warmest room in the house by far, and put them under the lights I have from my previous terrarium experiments. I think a minimum of 70 at night may help them to actually get over the hump so to say. Will probably bring them in tomorrow, but because of the low humidity in the house with central heat, I am going to bag all of them but leave an opening. Will be interesting to see if it makes a difference.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:33 AM
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I tried the little catt in a number of places, and it did not start growing the root until it was placed on the window sill. I was guessing it liked it there but I will move it to a warmer spot if you think that is best. I feel very emotionally tied to this plant for some reason and have been trying very hard to do the right thing with it. Sometimes it feels like a puzzle that can never be solved. I'll let you all know if any changes happen with the new treatment. Wish me luck and as always, thank you much.
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:18 PM
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Anyone got a Cattley from Lowes with this flower description?...

I got this Cattleya from Lowes on the 1/2 price shelves, so it didn't come with a label. The flower is very large and pink. All 2ndary petals are wide with slightly wavy on the edeges. The lip is purple and wavy with yellow being on the center on the lip. It would be nice to know its name. I went from websites to websites but couldn't not find any identification. I you have the same kind from Lowes, please let me know. Thank you. Oh, I bought it at Lowes in Long Beach, Los Angeles, CA.
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Old 06-28-2008, 01:11 AM
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Hi Ucifall2000, and :welcome to the forum

It is very difficult to determine the I.D. of a tagless orchid. Pics would be very nice though in case some one bought a similar orchid at a Lowes. The only suggestion that I have is to go back to the store and look for the orchids like it and find the tag in those pots for the name. If the exact plant is gone then get the vendor name off of the tag and contact them directly.

It will also be of great help if you could update your personal profile location. As members here are from around the world, advice can vary from place to place, country to country.

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:26 PM
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Hi also Ucifall 2000. I am a frequent shoper at Lowes and I now have three noid Cattleyas. I emailed the Sun Bulb Company but have not received a reply. If you come up with a way to find out the hybrid based on the flowering, please let me know. The good thing is that the name doesn't really matter when you've got a beautiful new orchid. Oh, and it's really hard, at least for me, to keep those little bagged cattleyas alive. I lost the one I brought up in this post. I learned a lot, though. This is a great forum to belong to and I'd like to say thanks to all my friends here.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:27 PM
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Hi also Ucifall 2000. I am a frequent shoper at Lowes and I now have three noid Cattleyas. I emailed the Sun Bulb Company but have not received a reply. If you come up with a way to find out the hybrid based on the flowering, please let me know. The good thing is that the name doesn't really matter when you've got a beautiful new orchid. Oh, and it's really hard, at least for me, to keep those little bagged cattleyas alive. I lost the one I brought up in this post. I learned a lot, though. This is a great forum to belong to and I'd like to say thanks to all my friends here.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:33 PM
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Hey Nancy, I too have a problematic catt. It really should be dead actually, but I'm not sure how it kept holding on. Before I got lights it was going down hill. However, it kept growing new shoots like crazy! They'd die off eventually, but the darn thing was so stubborn and kept growing more shoots. It was living off of roots that were less than 1/2 a cm...pretty nuts. When I got my lights a few months ago, I thought it be interesting to see if it would do anything. Thus far, its grown a ton of new roots that are a lot more healthy and plump AND growing a new shoot. So, in my case, light was the issue.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:39 PM
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If you tried the catt in different places and it didn't start growing until you placed it on this "cool" window, I then have to ask what do you mean by cool? How cool is it? Catts down't like to go much cooler than 50-55 degrees. Is it warmer than that?
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:28 PM
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Bad Lowe's Catt experience here too. I bought a BLc Toshie Aoki 'Pizazz' that I nursed along for two years before it finally succumbed to rot an I threw it out. I that time it only put out one small growth, never bloomed and never produced much in the way of roots. In the same time I had beautiful growth from all my other orchids. Don't know why they should be so stunted.
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:53 AM
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I make it a point to always save the sales receipts so that I can take the Cattleyas back if they don't survive. In fact, I've bought so many from them that if I purchase one with no live roots it immediately goes back to the store. Although the plants are only $5.95 I should still get a plant with at least half a chance. I now have eight Lowes bags tucked away, each with sales slips, original pots, netting and wire, which is everything that came with the plant. I'm not going to give up on them, though, because you can get many awarded plants there for good prices.
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