Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I love Cattleya walkeriana

I picked up this Cattleya walkeriana semi-alba 'Carmela' as a bag baby at a local Lowe's. Yeah, there are gems to be found in those prepackaged orchids.

I know there's always a lot of discussion on forums about whether it's good or bad to buy orchids from grocery stores and home improvement centers. Every time it gets brought up people tend to fall on the side of them being great, or some turn up their noses because they're from a large scale production company. Sun-Bulb/Better-Gro is actually a very reputable company if you've read anything from or about the growers, or their operation. I watched this exact clone go for $50 on eBay a few weeks ago, there's another one on there now, $65. I got this one for $13 and change, blooming sized, straight off the truck, (no chance for the Lowe's employees to kill it or sit around long enough to acquire a scale infestation.) So go ahead and turn up your noses at this, I'll still go through the bag babies to see if there's anything good when I'm at Lowe's.

I had read that Cattleya walkeriana is considered a more difficult species than most to grow. Until I made a decision about how I wanted to try and grow mine, I just left it in the pot. I took the majority of decaying bark out, left the charcoal and Sponge Rock, then watered it every few days after reading that most people had lost theirs due to rot issues. It has been growing, but it wasn't until buds suddenly appeared from somewhere unexpected that I decided to look into Cattleya walkeriana a bit more.

C. walkerina buds
C. walkeriana is one of only two species of Cattleya that grows it's flower spikes from an independent growth coming from the base of a mature rhizome, not from the top of the pseudobulb. A new pseudobulb or a flower spike will start off looking exactly the same. Until either a leaf or buds grows out the top it's hard to tell which one it's going to be.

In this picture, the short/stubby growth in the middle was a previous bloom.
Here's a 2nd new growth, not sure if it will be another pseudobulb, or a flower spike yet

The whole orchid
It actually opened up it's flowers on my birthday of all days. I took it to a local orchid society meeting earlier this week and it actually placed 3rd in the Cattleya group judging. I was surprised, I almost didn't take it at all because the plant looks so beat up. Really, the group just has a great photographer who takes pictures of all the entries and I wanted a really nice photo of it on the internet. I am terrible at taking pictures. I was offered a copy of the photo, so I'll update with it, or link to the OS page because I have a hard time getting the color right on this bloom.

Once I start to see the fresh roots getting longer I'm going to try this one in a wood slat basket or maybe clay with a lot of holes and some bark, as I've had more than enough issues with rot this summer. Learning to grow in this heat and humidity has been a bit of an adjustment for me and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. If this species is rot prone in culture and instead of rotting it, I've got flowers. This is all the excuse I need to get some of the other good color variations. C. walkeriana is naturally a solid pink color, then there's the many beautiful semi-alba variations like 'Carmela', coerulea or "blue" colored flowers, perola (rose blushes on the petals or petals and sepals), aquinii (a peloric bloom, some coloration at the tips of the petals similar to the color of the lip), and flammea (petals that have coloration getting stronger/more saturated towards the edges) types as well. For more color variations and types than you can handle, check out this guy's website: C. Walkeriana

Friday, November 1, 2013

Some Carnivorous Plant Pictures

Hope you had a Happy Halloween all!

Nepenthes rafflesiana, Left: AG3 clone, Right:  EP (q) squat x var. alata seed grown.

Nepenthes globosa ("Viking"), finally making larger pitchers, but I read that until they hang over the side they won't make that "Viking" shape.

Some VFT 'B52' lunch

Sarracenia leucophylla 'Tarnok' looking better as fall approaches