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.

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