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(Catasetum tenebrosum 'Ed#2' AM/AOS  x  Catasetum Double Down 'BPYL')


This type of breeding has been in the planning for many years.  I have always wanted to breed Catasetums with dark burgundy segments and bright yellow lips.  Finally, here it is!  Catasetum tenebrosum is a showy species and the cultivar used here has the best color and shape, with dark petals and sepals and a contrasting chartreuse lip. One of the important characteristics of tenebrosum as a parent is its early blooming.  This is one of the first Catasetums to flower each season, and the bloom spikes develop with the new growths, traits that are useful in developing early-to-bloom hybrids. Catasetum Double Down (Chuck Taylor x kleberianum) produced many plants that flowered with dark segments and yellow lips.  The cultivar used here, 'BPYL,' stands for 'Black Petals Yellow Lip,' and the flowers have great color contrast on plants that bloom 3-4 times a year. The addition of tenebrosum with its early flowering habit and complementary flower colors should result in plants that bloom early, mid, and late season with very dark segments and bright yellow lips.

Description and photos courtesy of Fred Clarke, Sunset Valley Orchids


This is as of yet an unnamed hybrid from Sunset Valley Orchids (SVO 7312).  Learning the growth pattern of both parents will help in blooming this particular orchid.


Catasetum tenebrosum


Pseudobulbous plants with large heavy bulbs that go dormant in the cooler months.Catasetum tenebrosum has flowers to 4cm across, sepals, petals dark rich redbrown, maroon, lip yellow. A pot or basket is required, plants should not be overpotted. Use a rich media that will stay damp but not wet. After the dry dormant period, plants can be repotted, at which time the bulbs can be separated to initiate new plants. Catasetums are deciduous and become dormant in winter, to the extent that plants can be removed from the orchid house and kept dry until spring. Warm to intermediate growers, but because they are dormant in winter, they can be grown in cold climates. A species from Peru.


For more information on this particular orchid, follow this link


Catasetum Double Down


( Catasetum Chuck Taylor 'Wow' Catasetum kleberianum 'SVO' )

Catasetum Chuck Taylor is an excellent mini-Catasetum, with rich burgundy petals and sepals, and a contrasting yellow lip.  It's just beautiful!  Catasetum kleberianum is a great mini-Catasetum species, producing strikingly-colored flowers that combine dark barring on the petals and sepals with a bright yellow lips.  As a bonus, it also carries 15 or more flowers per stem.  These will be mini-Catasetums with bright yellow lips, and the petals and sepals will have dark bars, some of which will be solid burgundy!   This is one of those 'not to be missed' mini-Catasetums.

Description and photos courtesy of Fred Clarke, Sunset Valley Orchids


For more information on this particular orchid, follow this link




Grow Journal



February 2019

Acquired from Sunset Valley Orchids.  This three-year-old seedling has 2 bulbs and upon removing from the box I was happy to discover it had already started developing a new growth for the 2019 growing season. It is currently situated in a 3-inch pot in moss with styrofoam peanuts filling the bottom 1/3 of the pot surrounded by abundant roots.  Old roots do not contribute to the new growth.


As the orchid is still considered dormant and the last bulb is supplying nutrients and water for the new growth, nothing is required  except allowing to be exposed in indirect sunlight in a relatively humid environment.  On occasion, to prevent the last year's bulb from shriveling, I will mist the orchid and that water will run down and add moisture to the area immediately surrounding the base of the bulb.  Keeping the entire orchid in a high humidity environment should also prevent last year's bulb from shriveling.


I will be watching for the new growth to extend to about an inch in length and new roots from its base.  Once the roots are about 2 inches in length and the new growth has developed and spreading of tiny leaves, I will consider the next step of potting up in fresh slightly damp moss removing the old styrofoam.The moss will be kept barely damp with a small amount of water as needed.  The terrarium and its high humidity is no longer required as the new roots have started taking in water.  It will be positioned in the mini-greenhouse with bright light and high humidity along with warm temperatures during th day and cooling off at night. As the new growth increases in size, watering will also be increased along with the adding of fertilizer.


10 February

Based on advice from this article, I fought off the hesitation to do this, but Fred Clarke said it is fine in a dry climate to water dormant bulbs.  SO I did, and lucky to pick a partly coudy day where they were drenched and set in the mini-greenhouse to dry in the sun on the same day before sunset.  ( http://herebutnot.com/care-growing-catasetinae-dry-climates/ )


A few days after I removed the orchid from the pot to speed up the drying of the root mass.


When possible, I had it sitting  in the mini-greenhouse getting a few hours of diluted sunlight.  The new growths continue to get taller, almost reaching a length of 1.5 inches.  This item may be re-potted beginning of March.




1 March 2019

My first impression is that the new growth has developed a great deal in 3 weeks since the above image was taken. Click image for larger view.

Keep in mind that this orchid does not wish to be watered.  The old bulb is providing everything the new growth requires - such as water.  This is when one should at least pay some attention as the new growth continues to grow and develop, it will drain water from the previous bulb, eventually maybe causing it to shrink and shrivel.  If you should notice the previous bulb shrivelling, try increasing the humidity in the immediate area, or sparingly mist or use a turkey baster, and apply water sparingly around the old bulb.  The new growth has not developed it's own roots as of yet.

This urge to water to soon is the leading cause for Catasetinaes failing.  The water will just cause the dead roots from the old bulb to rot and that rot will work its way up the bulb - eventually causing unintentional death.  The new growth might survive, but it will be set back delaying blooms for a year.

This growth is a little over an inch in length and just barely visible at the tip is the leaves.    I suspect at its base might be 3 very small root tips.  Perhaps by the end of March this orchid be ready for repotting.  Next photo be about 15 March.



April 2019   (Date of image is 20190401)


Re-potted into it's grow season pot.  Removed the styrofoam peanuts from the old root-ball but this year I left a majority of the previous roots undisturbed.  Arranged the old root mass to be nested in fresh damp moss using the old surface of moss as a guide to determine the position so that this year's new growth is centered as much as possible and level if not just above the level of new moss - some sinking / settling might occur and to prevent this the moss below the old root-mass is compressed.  One thing I wanted to avoid is sinking the bulb too low in the moss.


This catasetum is an early bloomer according to Fred Clarke, "One of the important characteristics of tenebrosum as a parent is its early blooming.  This is one of the first Catasetums to flower each season, and the bloom spikes develop with the new growths,.... "  Barely noticeable by touch and perhaps close examination is swelling on opposite sides of the new growth that might indicate a spike(s) developing.


I carefully add a few drops of water from a turkey baster on the outer edge of the pot to keep the moss damp.  By the end of April I suspect the spikes be more obvious and the new growth be ready for watering with a diluted fertilizer.  Currently, this orchid is in the second row from the front getting ambient light until the afternoon, bright light in the afternoon with some more direct but diffuesed light mid-afternoon to sunset.


(Mental note:  remaining pictures for this grow blog will be situated with the growth in the same position so as to avoid confusion and attempt to be consistent.)



May 2019

Care:  Moss in a semi-hydroponic, almost clear plastic food container.  Exposed to bright light, but not direct "cattleya" light.  All greenhouse items are placed in a water tray for extra humidity due to evaporation.

Comparing the April picture and the current May image, you can get an idea just how fast these grow.

I increased the watering amount and frequency and used a diluted fertilizer once a week.  As for watering,  I would drench the moss, almost drowning it, and then tilt the pot so excess water drain out to a leel below the drainage holes.  The moss woul then wick the water up to the top keeping everything evenly moist.

I had to adjust the shelves in 2 of the mini-greenhouses so that the Catasetums get optimum light.  This was expected.  Brighter light means better blooms.  I could tell there was sufficient light by a shadow from my hand.  Catasetums are heat tolerant, so if it was above 80-degrees, in the greenhouse it be warmer, but also more humid.  If it was above 90-degrees, I just keep the flaps open so the heated air could escape easily.


Note for next year - rotate more frequently the Catasetums so the new growth reaches up and not to the side.  Vertical Catasetums take less space than horizontal Catasetums.



June 2019

Sadly, in the beginning of June, while arranging my shelves in one of the mini-greenhouses,  the shelf was not secure and collapsed, orchid fell to ground and the first spike broke off.  I been going to extreme caution to make sure the second spike be protected very carefully and the reward for this effort is about to be fulfilled. (see image(s) below.  The next judging for orchid in Sacramento take place at the beginning or perhaps end of July.

Care:  Moss in a semi-hydroponic, almost clear plastic food container.  Exposed to bright light, but not direct "cattleya" light.  All greenhouse items are placed in a water tray for extra humidity due to evaporation.

Catasetums are water hogs, so drowning from over-watering is difficult at best.  Starting back in late April, when the new growth was about 2 inches tall, I started watering to moisten the moss with a few squirts from a turkey baster near but not immediately surrounding the new growth.  Once the new growth reached 4 inches, I could only guess the roots were established (2-3 inches in length) and started absorbing water, so I would increase watering with a balanced but very diluted fertilizer.  In may, I slightly increased the fertilizer and watering as needed.  Because their is a reservoir of water at the bottom of the pot, I did not fertilize except for once a week, the rest of the waterings during that week would dilute the reservoir.  2 spikes formed almost immediately (see images above).

Into June, watering was just about everyday and feeding was still once a week.


25 June 2019

The spike has reached full length, it may curve down some due to weight but that is expected.  the buds are separating a little more (space between on the spike).  The petals are black, (see photos above).  The buds are starting to show the black / dark burgundy color of the petals.

The first spike when accidentally broken was not as advanced as this spike, but if I had to guess would be fully open by now revealing a flower with near black, very dark burgundy looking petals and a bright yellow lip.  That spike, like the current spike had 6 or 7 buds, so the entire Catasetum could have had 14 blooms on 2 spikes.  If only....  (wait till next year!)

This came out of dormancy back in late March and bloom in June.  Nice and fast!  4 months from awakening in early spring to blooming in mi9ddle / late of June.

After blooming, The Catasetum will no longer require the high humidity environment of the mini-greenhouse.  I will continue watering so that the new growth's bulb swell due to storing water and nutrients to support the next generation of new growth in March of 2020. Each year the bulb should get a little bigger in size.  It is possible that it can bloom again on same new growth before going dormant late this fall.  If I notice a new spike (based on Fred Clarke's description top, this can bloom 2 or 3 times during a growing season) I will return it to the greenhouse for the extra humid environment.

Next photo be when the buds start to open during the next week.  Judging chance is on 3 July and also the last Saturday of July.



25 June 2019



27 June 2019



29 June 2019


4 July 2019




and "Gone With the Wind" ....

The image above might not be the best for depicting a sad sight.  Sunday eening I intended to enjoy a short nap late in the afternoon, which turned out to be a deep snooze till just passed midnight.  I had set this orchid so that it get very diffused sunlight, but I forgot the wind.  Can only say that I learned the hard way about how damaging windy conditions can be to orchid blooms.


For now, unofficially, I have dubbed it "Catasetum "Figment".  This is unofficial and just for my references  and distinguishes it from all other Catasetums that are unregistered hybrids.  Next Catasetum in bloom and I feel the urge to have a nap, I'm taking it with me....


Life goes on.  I don't have to worry about transporting this for judging on Speaker's Day later in July.  Maybe I am not intended to enjoy my orchid's blooms?  Next year,   next year it will be much better!!


Apologies to Margaret Mitchell for stealing the title of her Antebellum classic,  but it fits the mood.  Next year, "Figment"  will be better.....  




July 8,   2019

It is what it is and what has been done cannot be undone.  I am referring to the wind damage of the blooms.   Moving forward, I splinted the orchid for support as it reaqaly has gone horizontal much more than I prefer and I have a concern if not paying attention, it could break and that be a huge probelm.  Supporting by splinting is perhaps all I can do. 


As the current damaged blooms do their thing, I will water every other day so that the orchid has every chance to take in water and start forming the typically swollen bulb that will support next year's new growth until it is ready for watering in late spring.






Another image

Anoher image

4 August 2019

I apologize to the orchid gods.  Could it be that "figment" is going to bloom one more time?


I seriously thought that I would have to wait until next season to see this Catasetum bloom again, and I am so glad - maybe, that I was wrong.   This is why I look over my Catasetanaes once a week very closely, even cleaning away and debris from the base of growth hoping to spot a spike poking it's head up.  Today - I got my reward!!


OK, I admit after discovering this shocking surprise, I have returned to Earth.  Not completely convinced this is a spike, at least not yet.  Pictures over the next two weeks if they show that "asparagus tip" forming, it is a spike.  I will protect it, I will secure it, I will sing it songs of joy and happiness and I will coddle it.


It's going to be a very close nail-biter to see if this orchid will be in full bloom on October 4th.





I was seriously hoping that this new growth be a spike, sadly I have to accept the alternative, it turns out to be a new growth with a new bulb and even better might have 2 spikes before winter.  Not bad!


Below is a series of pictures one from each day displaying how fast this new growth has grown.  Each image was snapped at about the same time for each day so their is about 24-hours of growth between images.



 6 August 2019  
 7 August 2019  
 8 August 2019  
 9 August 2019  
10 August 2019  
11 August 2019  
12 August 2019  
13 August 2019  
14 August 2019  
16 August 2019  
18 August 2019      


As of 20 August2019


The height of the new growth is about 2 inches from base to just where the two top leaves join.  Not bad for 21 days.


I expect from the base I be spotting roots emerge and quickly hit the moss and dig into it.  This is where I wish I cut back the old spike much closer to the base of it's growth so it not interfere with the one or two spikes this new growth should soon start growing.


In the photo collection above, what might appear as water droplets are actually drops of "happy sap" or nectar.  I can most definetly tell you it is sweet to the taste.






24 August 2019





31 August 2019




 7 September 2019




14 September 2019



Unregistered Hybrid

(Catasetum tenebrosum 'Ed#2' AM/AOS  x  Catasetum Double Down 'BPYL')


  Flowering by Week 1 to 52
AVE. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52
2019 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52
2020 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52



I possess this orchid new growth spotted leaflets and roots growth stage  spike  bloom  dormancy





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