Growing Cattleya Loddigessi on cork in Caracas

February 24, 2008

I have always liked Cattleya Loddigessi from Brazil. I find it very beautiful and delicate. However, the ones I had were not doing very well. Basically, the plants flowered erratically, did not have many roots and the leaves would dehydrate like in the picture below on the left. I had them potted in fir bark with charcoal like all my Cattleyas. This seemed to happen to other people in Caracas, so I decided to experiment and took a small plant and tied it to cork instead of having it in a pot with fir bark. The results were immediate and incredible. On the ight below, you can see the first plant that I did this to about a year and a half ago, which has four flowers. In fact, I ahve had four of the Cattleya Loddigessi flower in the last month. I never had such results with the plants in pots.

Below left, you can see the roots at the base of the plant and see how vigorous the plants have rooted on the cork. On the right you can see the whole plant and how the last five leads have grown two and three times the size of the original ones when I tied it to the cork. The leaves no longer dehydrate in te back and the one I show above was from a plant that was already in trouble. I have now moved all my plants to cork and they are thriving.

Above I show two close ups of the bug plant above, one (right) with the sun hitting from behind.You can see how delicate this flower is and how well shaped they are.

This is a different Cattleya Loddigessi, also on cork and doing very well. This is a much smaller plant that I placed on the cork after the initial experiment worked.

While some people say Brazilian species have this problem because they are not repotted at the right time, my feeling is that they do not have in Caracas the humidity they have in their natural habitat and they do not like having the roots wet. On the cork the roots dry fats and I have more humidity than usual in my orchid room than most people.

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