Catasetums and Cycnoches can produce three different types of flowers depending on the growing conditions of the plants. Female (longer lasting), male, and hermaphroditic flowers can be produces by the same plant . The main factor influencing the sex of the flower seems to be light.
The Catasetum orchid genus has unisexual flowers, either male or female (they look different); which type appears is controlled by the lighting.The plants have large, thick pseudobulbs about a foot long or somewhat longer, with a fan of thin, veined leaves. Each year's pseudobulb will be bigger than the previous one.
Flower stems emerge from the side of the pseudobulb above one of the leaves. One or two flower stems is most typical, with one to a couple dozen flowers each, depending on species.
The Catasetum group can be grown under a wide variety of lighting conditions. In general, the brighter the light the more likely it is that the plant will bloom female, and the lower the light the more likely the plant will bloom male. With Catasetums the male flower is usually the more desirable and with Cycnoches the female is the more preferred.
While Catasetinae are in active growth they like to be watered frequently. The exact frequency will depend on the type of media used to grow the plants. In general they should be treated like Phaleanopsis and not allowed to become completely dry for more than a day. Grown in sphagnum they should be kept slightly moist. Plants will usually drop their leaves and become dormant in the winter. During this time watering must be suspended. * see note under potting.
Once a plants has started its seasonal growth it can be feed heavily, as with Vandas, until it has completed it growth for the year. Feed weekly with any general purpose water soluble fertilizer in place of a watering. Once growth has finished for the year fertilizing is no longer necessary.
Plants of 3" pot size and larger should be repotted every year. It is advisable to bare root the plant at the beginning of it dormant period (if it has gone through it blooming cycle), and cut off all roots,placing the bulbs in an empty clay pot during it's dormancy. If left this way the plants can be watered along with other orchids in the collection and will not rot.
When new growth sprouts and has produced roots about an inch long, the plants should be repotted into a pot no more than an inch larger than last year's. Use a seedling mix of equal parts fine (pea size) Aliflor and extra fine charcoal, with 20% cocoanut peat added. This allows very rapid growth and lets seedlings mature in a minimum amount of time. For large plants, 6" pots and larger, use a coarser mixture of fine charcoal and coarse Aliflor plus to 20% cocoanut peat.
During the dormant period when the plants are being bare rooted, plants can be divided into 2-3 bulb growths. Back bulbs will usually take a little longer to sprout, but if healthy, should produce viable plants easily. On Cycnoches it is often best to divide to two bulbs, as the third or fourth bulb back will usually die off.
The major pest problem for Catasetinae is spider mites. These usually attack in the heat of the summer, and if allowed to colonize will do tremendous damage to the leaves. A couple good miticides should be used weekly on an alternating schedule every three weeks to control this problem. On the bright side, any damage done to the leaves will disappear when the leaves drop in the winter.
Catasetinae are most suseptible to rot type diseases at the beginning of their growth season and when they go dormant. Care must be taken not to overwater plants during these periods. If rot sets in, it is best to cut the rotted portion of the bulb away, even if it is the base of the mature bulb. Do not throw away the good portion of the bulb, seal it with funguside and allow it to sit dry for several weeks. In most cases a dormant eye will sprout and the plant can be saved. It is good a practice to use fungusides on these plants as a proventative measure. Kocide, Aliette, and Physan 20 or RD-20 are very effective on this group.
Woody smells and sweet fragrance these are really fragrant orchids, as they are different from any other orchid and have fabulous flowers. Their lack of popularity could be due to the flowers typically only lasting a couple of weeks or to the unknown culture requirements. Most female flowers look remarkably similar from species to species. These plants are incredibly interesting.
Catasetums have a growing season and a dormant season. While growing, your Catasetum will carry around six leaves from its pseudobulb and the bloom spike will emerge from the base or occasionally higher up the side. The pseudobulb will be plump and the plant full of vigor.
After flowering the plant will start to lose its leaves from the flowered pseudobulb and this is a sign that tthe plant is deciding to go into its rest/dormant stage. After the last leave falls, water sparingly, maybe only once every three weeks. No fertilizer. Water enough so that the pseudobulb does not shrivel up, but not so much water that it starts to rot. The roots cannot utilize very much water at this time.
Ctsm Naso X Ctsm Penang
Ctsm. Rebecca Northern X Mormodes pranaenis
Ctsm. pileatum X Ctsm macrocarpum
Ctsm. Grace Dunn X Ctsm. tenebrosum
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Ctsm. Grace Dunn 'Charter Ford' AM/AOS
Ctsm. Rebecca Northern Mikkabi
Normally Blooming plants age from 12 month to 18 month or can be more based on the plant type. A blooming plant is a show piece by itself and can be used to decor gardens, patios, receptions or office or hospitality industry needs and they serve to live more longer in interior environments. Most classic example is the once used in airports, lounges and hotel lobbies.