Most of these species and their hybrids are easy to grow
and bloom. The "trick" to growing them is understanding
their growing cycle and your ability to listen to what your
plant(s) are telling you.
Most of the plants in these genus, have a dormant or rest
period. When your plants decide to rest, their leaves will
turn yellow and drop off. When this happens, stop
watering. Set the plant aside and wait for new growth to
begin at the base of the pseudobulb.
The rest period can be as long as 3 months or more or only
a week or less! Let your plants tell you how long they want
to rest! Hybrids have less of tendency to need a rest,
while species are true to their natural habitats - when they
normally would go dormant during the dry season.
When new growth begins, re-pot your plant in a pot that
will comfortably hold they root system and allow for one
new pseudobulb. Since these plants tend to be top-heavy,
you can use a clay pot. A glazed ceramic pot works as
well. Plastic pots can be inserted into decorative pots or
clay pots to help with stability.
DO NOT WATER until new root growth enters the new
potting mix. There should be plenty of moisture, nutrients
and energy in the back-bulbs to support the new growth
until it's time to start watering again.
The type of potting mix you use is dependant on how often
you will be watering. Once your plants have established be
able to keep the mix moist but not wet. While the roots are
growing and making their way down into the pot, you'll
want to water sparingly. Plants in 3-inch pots or smaller,
we use sphagnum moss fiber. Larger plants, we use a
standard bark mix for medium size cattleyas.
Once new growth begins, place your plants back into
bright light with lots of air movement. This group of plants
need to dry off quickly when watered. Droplets left on the
leaves or pseudobulbs will cause spotting and/or rotting.
Therefore, good air circulation is very important.
We grow our plants in a variety of light conditions. We
grow some of our plants in the bright, indirect light of a
window. Others we grow under 1000W HID lights. We
even grow some in the greenhouse, but we have to be
careful they dry off right away after watering. These we
have hanging in front of the fan that sets over the heater in
the winter or over the vent in the summer.
Once your plants are growing good, you can start a steady
fertilization of a well balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 or
20-20-20. Use the fertilizer at 1/4 strength every time you
Some species and hybrids will bloom before they start their
new growth. Others will bloom towards the end of their
growth cycle. Mormodes have a tendency to bloom just
before or right after they've lost their leaves. You'll have to
get to know your individual plants to know when they will
flower, but it's easy to listen to them when they tell you
what they want.
If you listen, they will grow and bloom for you!