Catasetums: A quick cultural guide
Catasetums are among the easiest of all Orchid genera to grow and
bloom, a fact that has long escaped the hobby. The 3 main attractions
of the genera are the variability of the blooms, the normally fragrant
flowers as well as the ease with which they are cultured in a wide
variety of conditions. The flowers on a given plant will be either male
or female, with the female flowers arising from plants grown in bright
or very bright conditions, and male blooms from plants cultured in shady
or bright/shady conditions. This means that specimens can be
successfully grown and bloomed in light levels as low as 1500
foot-candles, with your Phals and Paphs, or in light as high as 4500-
5000+ foot-candles. Intermediate to warm temps are required.
Culture is very easy, though there is good culture and better culture.
All members of the genus require a well drained medium, so repotting
is probably best done annually and only when new growth is evident.
The best culture will be accomplished with heavy feeding and heavy
watering. This may make the difference between a single spike once
per year and 3-4 spikes 2-3 times per year. The plants require a semi
rest from fall thru spring. Give very little water once the foliage has
dropped. If the foliage has not dropped by northern hemisphere
November, stop watering and force the plant to drop it's leaves.
Most Catasetums will be fully mature by the time they reach 4" pot size
and they may be kept at this size by discarding or giving away the old
pseudobulbs after each repotting. Keep at least 3 pseudobulbs in the
pot at all times. Old growth can be propagated even after 2-3 years
though at some point they will disintegrate and be useless.
Our own experience shows that first year old growth will propagate with
about an 80% success rate. Second year old growth about 50%, third
year old growth about 25%.
This Document may be distributed with permission of Venger's Orchids.