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*****    Catasetum & Relatives    *****

   Including Cycnoches and Mormodes

These unusual orchids offer fascinating, often waxy flowers
that have the peculiar habit of discharging their pollen masses
(pollinia) onto pollinators. Almost always deciduous, the
pseudobulbous plants have strict growing and resting periods.

LIGHT should be strong, especially near the end of the growth
period. Early in the annual growth cycle, plants will tolerate
less light - from 1,500 to 3,000 foot-candles. Plants grow best
with light levels of 3,000 to 6,000 foot-candles, or 1/4 to 3/4
full sun. As pseudobulbs mature, harden them by giving slightly
more light.

TEMPERATURE. These orchids are native to hot tropical areas and
grow during rainy summer months. During this growing period,
day temperatures of 80 to 100 degrees F and night temperaturesof 
60 to 65 degrees F are beneficial. After growths mature,
temperatures should be reduced to 55 degrees F at night, with
day temperatures of 70 to 85 degrees F.

WATER is critical for producing large pseudobulbs and strong
flowerings. Since these plants only grow for a short period, a
great quantity of water must be stored by the plant. Water
heavily as new leaves are forming. After the pseudobulb is
mature, gradually reduce watering frequency. The leaves will
yellow and start to fall. At this time watering should be
stopped completely until new growth begins again. Water during
this dormant period only if the plant shrivels severely;
overwatering may cause the pseudobulbs to rot and die.

FERTILIZING is very important for producing strong pseudobulbs.
Use a high-nitrogen formulation (30-10-10) while plants are in
active growth, slowly tapering off as pseudobulbs form. Bloom
booster formulation (10-30-20) should be used in the fall
except for plants that normally bloom in the spring.

POTTING is best timed to coincide with the start of new growth
(s), usually in the spring. New roots will be produced quickly
at that time, and plants will not experience any setback. These
plants have vigorous root systems and like to have a rich and
moist potting medium during their growing months. Many growers
remove the plants from the growing medium during the resting
period to ensure dryness during that time. Fine-grade orchid
bark is common for smaller pots; medium-grade bark is used only
on large plants. Sphagnum moss is used successfully for plants
in many areas, as it provides tremendous water- and fertilizer-
holding capacities. Some plants may be grown on slabs of
treefern or other material, which makes it easier to keep them
dry during dormancy; however, it is harder to keep them moist
while growing. When well grown, these orchids can be divided
down to one mature bulb and then bloom on the next mature

Spider mites are a common pest of these orchids when in leaf;
control by keeping humidity high and/or spraying with
recommended miticides.

Prepared by: Education Committee, American Orchid Society, 6000
S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33405 (407) 585-8666.

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