Friday, July 31, 2009

Cattleya luteola - part 3

The largest division with two new growthsNow that I know what I have I can decide what to do with the divisions.

The first of the three pieces has 4 pseudobulbs, two new growths and some live root. I have mounted it on a 6 x 11 inch piece of cork bark and assigned it the same inventory number as the original plant. It is now my official "collection plant". It will do better mounted and I can place it in a higher light micro-climate mounted.

The other two Cattleya luteola divisionsFor the second division I selected a smaller piece of bark, 4 x 5 inches. The division has 5 pseudobulbs and some root, but only one new growth.

After one of the mounted pieces blooms next year I plan to sell this piece. I want it to fill the mount better than the one I am keeping for the collection.

These are tenative plans based on my expectations, subject to change based mostly on how well the plants do. That means I have to do better in the next year than I did during the first two years I had this plant.

The last piece is 5 pseudobulbs, no roots and no new growth. This is a backbulb division. Even if I eventually decide to mount it, I can't right now. I don't know where the new growth will come and that is important.

New roots come from the base of the new growth. On a mounted piece, it is important that the roots attach firmly to the wood and that happens most easily if they are growing right next to it. Also, the plant is more attractive growing close to the mount.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cattleya luteola - Getting root access

Cattleya luteola with medium removed and roots open

One of the three Cattleya luteola divisionsThe top of the plant looks good but for orchids how the top looks is much less important than the roots.

The first step in repotting is to open the roots and remove all of the old medium. They will often form a ball that can be very hard to work with. The key is to accept that it will take time and to use fingers only. No cutting.

The roots are better than they look in the picture, but they tell the tale of a year of rotted roots. The first year the plant grew roots in the summer and they rotted in the winter, followed by new roots this year.

New growth will produce new rootsAfter the dead root threads are removed (small scissors, one at a time) I can see the structure, how the pseudobulbs are connected to one another.

I tried to be careful but the rhizome on this plant is very short. I only made two cuts and I still damaged three pseudobulbs.

There were three divisions. There were two leads and one backbulb division. Both of the leads have active new growth. That's why I decided to divide the plant right now.

NOTE: The white stuff is calcium, not bugs.

Tomorrow, part three what I did with the divisions.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cattleya luteola - part one

Cattleya luteola - Plant photo by Richard LindbergPicture taken two years agoCattleya luteola grows in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, in lowland tropical rain forests. It needs a dry winter rest.

I got this miniature Cattleya almost exactly two years ago. (That is a 3-inch pot) I repotted into limestone pieces and a bit of pea gravel as top dressing and have done nothing else with it, moving it from place to place. I didn't give it the attention it deserved.

The plant has grown quite a bit and has beautiful deep green foliage. It has not bloomed.

If you are growing beautiful deep green foliage, all you will grow is beautiful deep green foliage.

I plan to unpot the plant then divide and mount the pieces. I will find a brighter, dryer place for the mounts. Details tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Maxillaria picta progress at 3 months

Maxillaria picta backbulbs after three months

Maxillaria picta - Flower photo by Richard LindbergMaxillaria picta - Plant photo by Richard LindbergMaxillaria picta grows in Brazil and Argentina. It is a high light cool to warm growing plant, blooming in winter and spring.

About 3 months ago I divided a very large, very overgrown Maxillaria picta and got a nice division for myself. That's it on the right.

Besides my collection plant I also got more than 60 small divisions and backbulbs. I have sold or traded 20 of them and I have the remaining 40 in Sonoma in bright, dry conditions.

They are about half sprouted and I have separated them. This is because the sprouted pots are growing and need to be watered. I also water the unsprouted pots, but much less. There are no roots to remove water from the bark.

In the world of backbulbs, 3 months is no time at all. Backbulbs take great patience. They may sit there and look at you for a year before sprouting. Decide on a sprouting method and stick with it even if it seems nothing is happening.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Laelia dayana 'Hartford' AM/AOS

Laelia dayana 'Hartford' AM/AOS - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Laelia (L) has about 60 species from Mexico through South America. They are highly varied.

Laelia dayana grows in Brazil near Rio de Janeiro in a fairly broad range or altitudes, 1500-6000 feet. It is cool to warm growing blooms in summer. It does well mounted and needs a dry winter rest.

This is the third plant I got from Steve Christoffersen. All three are exciting but this is the one I am looking forward to blooming.

The division came with a good quantity of roots, but they are in-the-pot roots which don't always make the transition to mounting well. The good news is there is a new growth just starting and that will produce a nice crop of mount adapted roots.

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   • Cattleya intermedia re-mount   •   •   •   •

Cattleya intermedia orlata 'Sendai' SM/JOGA - Plant photo by Richard LindbergYesterday when I looked at the job I did on the mount I could see that I had broken one of the most important rules for working with orchids.


Whether it is re-potting, watering or any greenhouse task, haste makes waste.

The positioning here is only slightly higher than before and right in the center of the mount. Looks much better and the next new growth will likely go straight up the mount. With the short rhizome there is space for at least five years growth.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cattleya intermedia orlata 'Sendai' SM/JOGA

Cattleya intermedia orlata 'Sendai' SM/JOGA - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Cattleya (C) contains 53 species from tropical South America. They do best in a medium that has good drainage and dry between watering. Give them a sort dryer rest after blooming.

Cattleya intermedia grows from Sao Paulo Brazil to Uruguay and Argentina near the ocean or streams. It is fragrant, cool to warm growing and needs bright light and blooms in summer.

This is the second of the plants from Steve Christoffersen. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I mounted it like that. It hasn't started to attach so it will not be a problem to redo the mount.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Homalopetalum pumilio

Homalopetalum pumilio - Flower photo by Richard LindbergHomalopetalum pumilio - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Homalopetalum (Homal) contains 8 miniature species growing in Jamaica, Central America and northern South America.

Homalopetalum pumilio grows from Mexico to Peru in low elevation forests on mossy trunks and rocks. It is cool to warm growing and is fragrant at night.

This is one of three new plants from Steve Christoffersen. He has had it in his collection for 30 years. He has it mounted, sort of. It is in a shallow basket turned sideways and filled with sphagnum. You can see the basket in the flower picture.

It will be a good orchid for my greenhouse as wet as it is in summer and dryer in winter. I am going to mount it on cork in the next day or two.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ascocenda Salaya Sunset in bloom

Ascocenda Salaya Sunset - Flower photo by Richard LindbergAscocenda Salaya Sunset - Plant photo by Richard LindbergAscocenda (Ascda) is a very popular vandaceous hybrid. It is easier to grow than Vanda and has larger flowers than Ascocentrum.

I got this just after moving into the greenhouse and it produced spikes soon after I got it. It has bloomed every year.

After working in Lillian's greenhouse this past year, I have come to the realization that, yes, it IS possible to over water Vandas. I have a water cooled greenhouse and the foggers are up high near the Vandas. There is algae on the baskets and the roots are short.

I suppose I could consider short roots to be a good thing. They certainly take up less space. I am going to take all the vandaceous plants to Sonoma where they have more space and less water.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brassavola nodosa in bloom

Lillian's Brassavola nodosa plant

Brassavola nodosa - Flower photo by Richard LindbergBrassavola nodosa - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Brassavola (B) contains 18 species which grow in all the tropical lowlands of the New World. They are fragrant, mostly at night with a citrus fragrance.

Brassavola nodosa grows just about anywhere in the Brassavola range that is wet and hot. It needs bright light and blooms spring and fall.

At the beginning of the year I took a cutting from Lillian's Brassavola nodosa plant and mounted it. My piece is growing well but it is still attaching to the mount and generally adapting to the greenhouse.

I have never had good results with Brassavola nodosa. I think now, seeing Lillian's plant, that I have not had it in bright enough light.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stanhopea embreei in bloom

Stanhopea embreei - Flower photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Stanhopea (Stan) contains 55 species growing from Mexico, through Central America and South America.

Stanhopea embreei grows in western Ecuador in shaded cloud forests. It is cold to warm growing, fragrant, and blooms in spring and early summer.

I got a small plant off of a raffle table four years ago. I was just starting my "I bet I could mount that" phase and it was growing in a single direction. I placed it on a piece of bark and I was amazed when it bloomed the first year.

It has bloomed every year. It is growing slowly adding only one new growth a year. I don't really know if that is normal growth or slower than normal, but works well from my point of view. It will still be a few years before it outgrows the mount.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vanda roots - 'Going commando'

5-foot vanda rootsAs the roots absorb water they begin to turn greenThe genus Vanda (V) contains 70 species from all over Asia and Southeast Asia. Vandas prefer bright light and even watering and fertilizer year round. They do best in wooden slat baskets with little or no medium around the roots.

There are people who report that they grow vandaceous orchids successfully in pots. I can't, and I have never un-potted one that had good roots in a pot.

Orchid roots have a thin hair in the center that is the actual root covered by velamen, a thick sponge-like coating that collects and holds water. As they absorb water, live roots will turn green.

Some people feed plants by adding fertilizer to the water. I prefer to do it as a separate step. There are two reasons; first, the roots don't absorb any fertilizer until they get wet, and second, lots of fertilizer gets wasted. Using a pump sprayer directs the fert where it is needed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sphagnum moss

moist sphagnum moss in a plastic potSphagnum moss is a water plant that floats on the surface of a bog. There are about 300 species of sphagnum. When the plants die and pieces sink to the bottom of the water in the pool, it becomes peatmoss.

One of the characteristics I want in sphagnum moss is long strands. That makes it easier to work with because I am able to hold quite a bit all at once. The type available to me is the New Zealand sphagnum moss, which may be a mix of species but is perfectly fine to work with.

I chanced upon a neat trick for working with sphagnum moss. I had been using a bucket to wet the sphagnum moss but the problem with that method was that the bottom got sopping wet and stayed that way. One day my usual bucket was otherwise occupied and I grabbed a plastic pot. It had drain holes but they were not very large and I had no problem getting the moss moist.

As I used the moss and got toward the bottom I found that the moss was perfectly moist all the way through. As the water had settled it had gone out the drain holes instead of pooling at the bottom.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Anacheilium crassilabium in bloom

Anacheilium crassilabium - Flower photo by Richard LindbergAnacheilium crassilabium - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Anacheilium (Ahl) contains 59 species growing from Mexico through northern South America. These are the cockleshell orchids. They were separated from Encyclia as a part of the naming wars that actually makes sense.

Anacheilium crassilabium grows in the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America. It is a medium sized epiphyte, growing cool to warm. You would not believe how many different names this species has had.

Auliza wilsoni Gale' 1938; Aulizeum variegatum [Hkr.] Lindley ex Stein 1892; Encyclia christii (Rchb. f.) Dodson 1994; Encyclia crassilabia (Poepp. & Endl.) Lemee' 1955; Encyclia crassilabia (Poepp. & Endl.) Dressler 1961; Encyclia feddeana (Kraenzl.) ined ?; Encyclia leopardina [Rchb.f] Dod. & Hags. 1994; Encyclia longipes (Rchb. f.) Dodson ?; Encyclia vespa (Vell.) Dressler 1971; Epidendrum baculibulbum Schltr. 1923; Epidendrum christii Rchb. f. 1877; Epidendrum coriaceum H. Focke 1853; Epidendrum coriaceum Parker ex Hkr. 1837; *Epidendrum crassilabium Poepp. & Endl. 1838; Epidendrum feddeanum Kraenzl. 1905; Epidendrum fuertesii Cogn. 1912; Epidendrum longipes Rchb. f. 1878; Epidendrum rhabdobulbon Schltr. 1920; Epidendrum rhopalobulbon Schltr. 1924; Epidendrum saccharatum Kraenzl. 1908; Epidendrum variegatum Hook. 1832; Epidendrum variegatum var. angustipetalum Hoehne 1947 ; Epidendrum variegatum var. coriaceum [Parker ex Hkr.] Lindl. 1853 ; Epidendrum variegatum var. crassilabium (Poepp. & Endl.) Lindl. 1853; Epidendrum variegatum var. leopardianum Lindl. 1853; Epidendrum variegatum var. virens Lindl. 1853; Hormidium baculibulbum (Schltr.) Brieger 1960; Hormidium coriaceum [Parker] Brieger 1960; Hormidium lineatum [Rchb.f] Brieger 1977; Hormidium variegatum [Hkr.] Breiger 1960; Hormidium virens [Lindl.] Brieger 1961; Prosthechea christii (Rchb. f.) Dodson & Hágsater 1999; Prosthechea crassilabia [Poepp. & Endl.] Carnevali & Ramierez 2003; Prosthechea leopardina (Rchb. f.) Dodson & Hágsater 1999; Prosthechea vespa (Vell.) W.E. Higgins 1997; Prosthechea vespa subsp. triandra (Dod) Nir 2000Synonyms

I got this as a backbulb four years ago. It bloomed after two years and when I repotted I took another backbulb. There are ten flowers this year and I was thinking that the plant was not doing well. On closer reading of the reference material I find that the species puts out from five to fifteen flowers. The plant is doing fine.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Maxillaria picta

Maxillaria picta - Flower photo by Richard LindbergMaxillaria picta - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe other half of the trade is this Maxillaria picta. It is a piece of a huge plant I bought this spring. It will be shipped on Monday. USPS Priority mail is very reliable and it should get to its destination on Thursday.

Maxillaria picta grows in Brazil and Argentina. It is a high light cool to warm growing plant, blooming in winter and spring.

The challenge with dividing a plant that size is to end up with the maximum amount of roots. The roots are all intertwined and it takes a great deal of patience.

New growth and new rootsAnother goal in dividing plants is to avoid single-pseudobulb divisions. It is important to the recovery of the plant to have at least three pseudobulbs in a group.

This division has four pseudobulbs but when it was potted it had no roots. And I am pretty sure that it is a backbulb division. I can see that I guessed wrong where the new growth would start.

I gently moved a little of the bark to show the roots. The plant is off to a good start but will need to be re-potted in a year to get the next new growth more to the center of the pot.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Myrmecophila tibicinis 'H&R' x 'Jean'

Myrmecophila tibicinis 'H&R' x 'Jean' - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Myrmecophila contains 8 species that are a subset of Schomburgkia and were separated because of the hollow pseudobulbs. They are found in tropical areas of the new world.

Myrmecophila tibicinis grows from Mexico through northern South America. It is warm to hot growing, wants full sun and is fragrant. The plant is big and the spike can be as much as 15 feet long.

I just got this nice division in the mail as part of a trade. There are no live roots but the pseudobulbs, particularly the youngest, are hydrated and there are two eyes that are set to activate. I am sure that there will be no problem getting it started.

Active eye at the base of the yougest pseudobulbI cannot always see an eye at the base of every pseudobulb but there are multiple potential eyes there. That's why backbulb culture works.

In the normal development of the plant it starts new growth from the newest pseudobulb and that eye develops when the pseudobulb matures. It looks like a little tab and can easily be broken off, so handle pseudobulbs carefully.

I am glad that I have the Sonoma greenhouse. The Napa greenhouse is too small. There is plenty of room for the plant in sonoma, even a 15-foot spike, and the light is quite bright.

Reference material mentions that the plant does better mounted because it doesn't like to have the roots disturbed. That is the kind of detail I have learned to pick up on. I have some large cork pieces to place it on.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Laelia anceps varieties

Laelia anceps 'Boulder Valley' HCC/AOS - Flower photo by Richard LindbergLaelia anceps victoriana 'Santa Barbara Blue' - Flower photo by Richard Lindberg
Laelia anceps sanderiana - Flower photo by Richard LindbergLaelia anceps lineata 'Mendenhall' - Flower photo by Richard Lindberg
Laelia anceps striata type - Flower photo by Richard LindbergLaelia anceps ashworthiana - Flower photo by Richard Lindberg

I am running out of time to divide Laelia anceps for this year. During summer they need to devote their evergy to growing new roots and building strength, not adjusting to a new pot.

While I was updating the inventory I realized that my plant list was not in alphabetical order. The order was genus and species. That is fine for most of the list, but for Laelia anceps it didn't work.

Once that was fixed I could see what I had. I knew I had several varieties but it was still a surprise to see that there were 12 of them. If I had nothing else I would have a nice orchid collection of a single species!

There have been three new varieties added this year so I haven't seen them bloom. All the rest have bloomed, so I have little excuse for not having a nice flower picture for all of those. During the winter blooming season I will take care of that.