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Cycnoches & Catasetum Culture

The following cultural advice for cycnoches and catasetum is taken from an article written by William E. Segars of Tampa, Florida. The key to success according to Mr. Segars is the use of a rich soil mix as follows:

  • 1/2 dairy manure
  • 1/6 coarse peat moss
  • 1/6 grit (turkey grit or gravel in feed stores)
  • 1/6 dirt, old osmunda, bark or treefern, or a mix of all four

"Use 6" clay pots. Break into a large drainage hole and fill up to 1/2 with potsherds or river gravel; take a single bulb (If plant has more than one bulb, make several plants of it, for it will break leads only on the newest bulb even if left together.) with the dead roots still on the plant, hold it in the center of the pot and pack the medium around it, not too tightly. The new roots should just touch the medium (potting lower encourages root rot). You may have to stake the bulb or perhaps clamp the old dead roots down with a pot clip. It is most important that the bottom of the bulb be placed at the top of the medium, which should be damp but not wet. Do not water for three or four days - then begin watering and fertilizing. Use either organic or inorganic fertilizer and lots of it. Fertilizing can be done as often as two to three times a week - however, only once a week is recommended. The growth is astounding. Preventative spraying during the summer months with a good miticide such as Pentac or Avid will reward you with lusty, beautiful leaves all the way into December. The plant will begin blooming in October and will bloom several times up to and through the Christmas season. In order to keep the plants healthy and to grow larger plants the next year, remove them from the pots after the second blooming.

Here the treatment is again different from that given to other orchids. After removing plants from the pots, wash the roots, then pull, do not cut, the bulbs apart, and set them upright on one of the benches. The bulbs can be leaned against an upside down pot. Sprinkle very lightly about once a week, just enough to keep the bulbs from shriveling. New leads and roots will begin forming in early spring. Do not hurry potting - late May is soon enough. The new lead should be at least four inches long and have abundant roots about two inches long before potting. Since each plant becomes two each year, it is evident that with a little patience one can have several plants in a short time."

Note: This guide is only applicable to Cycnoches & Catasetum. For other varieties, please click on one of these links:

Carter & Holmes Orchids PO Box 668 629 Mendenhall Rd. Newberry, SC 29108 USA

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