Saturday, November 12, 2011

Phases of catasetum growth cycle

On and off i still encounter questions like "is my catasetums going into dormant phase?". "the spike just ended and bulbs looks mature, should i stop watering?",
"the bulbs are mature, leaves still attached, should i stop watering?" and the last but not all "i need some advice here, my catasetum is
shedding all the leaves, what have i done wrong?"
here i would like to show the multiple phases of catasetums growth cycle and most important to point out when catasetums is considered dormant.
the first two pics here showing the emergence of a new growth from a dormant bulb that i separated several months back (yes, sometimes it may take months for a new growth to appear, sometimes weeks only). it is not necessary to separate the bulbs while in dormant phase.

the subsequent picture is the new lead bulb is optimal growth phase, most of the catasetums begins to flower at this phase. here you can see that the normal fat pseudobulb shape has not taken place yet and during this phase, they grow very fast and hence they require heavy watering and feeding.

Here the shape of the pseudobulb is taking place but the bubs are elongated and thin and has not reach full maturity yet. i still give them heavy feeding at this phase.

bulb attaining full maturity, characterized by the fat bulb appearance from the base and also the silvery dry membranous sheath that is
covering the bulb. by time these sheaths will fully enveloped the entire bulb.
cut down watering at this phase and minimal fertilization is needed, depending on media it is planted in (mine is 100% for this plant) is still water once a day instead of twice. as more of the leaves is shed, the frequency of watering is reduced gradually.
beside the bulbs several pneumatophores roots are present.

this is the dormant phase of catasetums, all the leaves are shed (deciduous nature of catasetums) leaving the bulbs behind. as you can notice here i removed all the membranous sheath because i notice that ants or insects tends to nest inside and the also collect water during the intermittent watering. in addition to that, i have itchy hands!!! LOL
watering at this phase is kept minimal, usually the media is left dry most of the time and watering is done only when i notice the bulbs shrivel slightly. u will notice the smooth surface of the bulb begins to wrinkle and that is when i water them. usually i will also take this opportunity to treat the entire media in fungicide solution.
whether or not to divide its entirely up to individuals and some even uproot the entire plant and leave it sitting alone with the media.

and again, all these are my personal experience and cultivation practice may differ under different environment the plant is kept. i would also encourage one to share their opinion here. Good luck!!

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