Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cattleya walkeriana alba

After promising myself that I would not add additional orchids after the last mentioned order, and especially from the grocery store, I walked past the orchid display at Trader Joes yesterday at lunch, saw the usual suspects, nothing jumped out at me. Then this one. Very nice in the store. I lost skepticism for about 15 minutes and bought it. Based on multiple web pics, it's Cattleya walkeriana alba, a Brazilian species, not a hybrid. Small size, wanders across the pot rather than being vertical. Likes the dry side.

Immediately on getting home, I unpotted. What a mess. There were actually 2 plants, but one with tiny pseudobulbs, and one small broken leaf. The other with the flower. There was a small vestige of original bark medium, but mostly soggy sphagnum, and about half of the roots were rotted.

I removed the old bark and sphagnum, trimmed off the rotted roots. I dipped the roots in a diluted solution of Dip'n'grow, a plant hormone that is used for rooting cuttings. That is a practice that some growers use for plants that need stimulation of rooting. I don't know if it will help. Then repotted in the same commercial medium that I've been using.

Then I noticed this leaf. I hope this is just an old leaf, and bad growing practices. And I hope it's not a sign of virus infestation. I looked at many web pictures of virus infestation, and most don't look like this.

I sprayed with neem, and this morning sprayed with a foliar feeding of dilute orchid food, same as the weakly weekly food. We'll see how they do, and I'll avoid using tools or containers for other plants, which is a good practice anyway

It's a nice little plant, and the flower is very nice as well, white with a pale green center. Interesting citrus fragrance. I hope it survives, grows, reblooms, and doesn't turn out to have virus. And it will be nice if the 2nd tiny plant grows, so I have one to share (You know who you are!).

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