Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cattleya dowiana var. aurea, the second plant that has bloomed for me.


The flowers, when freshly opened

This Cattleya has a reputation for being difficult to grow and bloom.  In my personal experience I can attest this plant is indeed a bit finicky.  All the plants I have grown have reacted in different ways to my care.  My first plant grew well and bloomed, only to die from rot during the rainy season.  It rotted with such startling speed, there was nothing I could do to save it.  The second plant I adquired, has been growing slowly and indifferently for a number of years and has yet to produce a blooming size pseudobulb.  The third plant has been growing well and was the one that bloomed on its first fully adult size pseudobulb.  The plant has been grown under saran cloth, watered very thoroughly once a week and fertilized every week but only when it was producing new growths.  It is growing in a mix of medium bark and limestone.  The temperatures where this plant is being grown are 85F/30C during the day most of the year, and 75F/24C at night.  In winter temperatures dip slightly being 75F/24C day and 65F/18C at night in the coldest part of the year.

The flowers lasted in perfection for five days.  In the fifth day the oldest flower collapsed, the other two flowers became limp during the next two days.  This confirms this plant reputation for relatively short lived flowers for a Cattleya.  The fragrance of the flowers was quite powerful and to my senses resembled certain types of fragrant soaps.

My experience growing this plant makes me think that you might want to try plants from a variety of sources before giving up on this species, as different plants seem to differ in their tolerance of the various environmental and climatic conditions.  

In Puerto Rico flowering size plants of this species are not common in orchid collections, although it is not rare to see seedlings from time to time. I have noted that it is rarely exhibited, althought this might have more to do with the flowers being short lived rather than with how common the plant is under cultivation

The flowers, just before they started collapsing, note that they look yellower
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1 comment:

Elisabete Delfini said...

Ela é muito linda. Parabéns
abraços