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(Catasetum Portagee Star 'Brian Lawson's Sunrise' HCC/AOS x Catasetum Melana Davison 'Fox Tail')

 

The flower quality of Portagee Star is surprisingly nice: the shape is full, the lip is flat and the color is an attractive yellow with a bit of red. Melana Davison (Catasetum Penang x Catasetum denticulatum) has been a landmark hybrid in the breeding of reduced plant size while maintaining excellent flower size, shape, color, and count. It also has been recognized with 7 AM/AOS awards! The mostly red flowers of 'Fox Tail' have an excellent presentation; the flower count is very high. Here we have crossed the standard-sized Portagee Star onto a first generation mini-Catasetum Melana Davison. These plants will still be small growers and stay under 8” tall. I expect excellent flower form, increased bloom size and easy culture. These should produce many-flowered inflorescences 2-3 times a season. Flower color will vary from light yellow to dark red and everything in-between. (Description and photos courtesy of Fred Clarke, Sunset Valley Orchids)

 

Photo right: Catasetum Portagee Star 'Brian Lawson's Sunrise' HCC/AOS

Photo Left: Catasetum Melana Davison 'Fox Tail'

 

This is an as of yet registered hybrid. SVO item 7311

 

Parentage:

 

 

Catasetum Portagee Star F.Dishman 2002 - registered (RHS) Catasetum pileatum × Catasetum Black Knight

 

 

 

 

Catasetum Melana Davison F.Clarke 2012 - registered (RHS) Catasetum denticulatum × Catasetum Penang

 

(Catasetum denticulatum 'SVO' AM/AOS  x  Catasetum Penang 'Sweet Heart')

This grex has produced a variety of eye-catching flower colors, from solid deep burgundy to white blotched burgundy and white with fine red spotting.  This is a new mini-Catasetum, with mature plants only 5” tall thanks to the influence of Catasetum denticulatum.  Expect 15-20 flowers, 2-3 times per season.  It's always interesting to see the effect of reciprocal breeding on the flower quality, and SVO 5995 is the reciprocal.  This was SVO item 5001

 

Above  Catasetum denticulatum 'SVO' AM/AOS

 

Right:  Catasetum Penang 'Sweet Heart' 

 

Below is the reverse breeding (or reciprocal breeding) of the above.

 

Catasetum Melana Davison

(Catasetum Penang 'Sweetheart'  x  Catasetum denticulatum 'SVO' AM/AOS)

This grex has produced a variety of eye-catching flower colors, from solid deep burgundy to white blotched burgundy and white with fine red spotting.  This is a new mini-Catasetum, with mature plants only 5” tall thanks to the influence of Catasetum denticulatum.  Expect 15-20 flowers, 2-3 times per season.  It's always interesting to see the effect of reciprocal breeding on the flower quality, and SVO 5001 is the reciprocal.  This was SVO item 5995

 

Above  Catasetum denticulatum 'SVO' AM/AOS

 

Right:  Catasetum Penang 'Sweet Heart'

 

Ctsm. Melana Davision
Ctsm. Melana Davision 'Bomb Shell'
Ctsm. Melana Davision 'Fox Tail'

 

The best way to learn the specifics of culture and growing this unregistered hybrid is by learning the same for both parents.   For information on  Catasetum Portagee Star or  Catasetuim Melana Davision follow the links to their respective page.  Combine the common culture information and adjust as needed to your own growing conditions.

 

This hybrid according to Sunset Valley Orchids should not exceed a height over 8 inches, so it will be considered a mini.

 
 

Brief Grow Blog and Pictures

 
 
 

February 2019

Acquired from Sunset Valley Orchids.  This two-year-old seedling has 2 old growth bulbs (one approximately an inch tall and last year's growth is 4-inches tall) and upon removing from the box I was happy to discover it had already started developing 2 new growths 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 preventi 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.

 

17 February

I compared these new growths to other Catasetums and I almost immediately puzzeled in their shape.  They resemble asparagus more than the pinecone shape of a new bulb developing.  Could these growths in fact be young spikes on last year's growth?  They are the same thickness for the length of the growth with a slightly thicker tip.  It resembles a bud, but as I have never observed obe of these develop a spike followed by blooming, all I can do is way - waith anticipation of what is to come. 

 

 

1 March 2019

Beginning to look like I am looking at my first Catasetum hybdrid bloom.  This spike has 8 buds and the spike itself keeps stretching and soon the buds be spreading. Waiting with anticipation.  It gets about 10 hours under a grow light and as much diffused sunlight per day as possible, weather permitting.  Otherwise more time under the grow light.

There is a second spike(?) (facing forward) that had started but guessing cold temperatures may have stunted it.

I am going to allow this spike to droop over the side of the pot .  I will pot-up as normal in a hanging pot positioning this close to the edge for the spike to droop down.  I suspect by the end of the month the spike be fully formed and the blooms swelling getting ready to open.  Did I mention waiting with anticipation?

As of yet,m no new growth has been spotted, perhaps shortly after this bloom it switch focus and energy to new growth.

 

 

 

 

 

April 2019

My first bloom, and first tragedy.   I was literally on my way to the Sacramento Orchid Society Show to enter this for judging and possibly for ribbon judging as well.  I had a situation on my way where I lost balance and tripped, needless to say the spike was broken and the heat of the sidewalk did it's damage to the bloom cluster.  At the show, a friend sannped a picture of a similar orchid that was awarded second place in the division / class.  Comparing pictures, it be a toss up between theirs and mine.  Sometimes that is just how it goes.  (Additional images below)

 

All was not over.  Within a short period of time two new growths appeared.  The younger of the two growths did not survive.  The first is still thriving and continues to thrive.

 

 

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 level below the drainage holes.  The moss would 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.

 

 

 

 

June 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.

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.

 

 

 

 

June 2019

Look, Catasetums can grow vertical!

 

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.

This orfchid has a second new growth on the opposit side but for weeks has remained just a popped eye, so I am not sure if it will develop any further.  This Catasetum is a little over a foot tall, and I know that the spike will come from the top of the new growth.  Space is not abundant for vertical growths so once the spike starts to develop I will keep an eye on it and make decisions regarding if it remain, or how long it safely be kept in the mini-greenhouse.  The spike is expected to be rigid and can reach a length of 2 feet aith numerous blooms.   So I wait....

 
 
 

 

August 2019

This Catasetum hybrid bloomed earlier this year, not sure and I doubt it bloom again before dormancy.  It blooms before leaf growth.

 

Its only goal now is to swell it's bulb to support next year's new growth.  So far it does not seem to be doing that,  sad!

 

Since it has bloomed, I wanted to show off a little cleaning project.  I use a hand-sprayer set to "stream" and very softly use a soft tip old tooth brush and wash and rinse away old material from the base (very carefully) and below is some before and after pictures showing the results.

 

Before cleaning:

   

 

 

After cleaning:

 

     

 

Gently cleaning away the debris from the base makes spotting any spikes much easier.  I know some might think I am being over protective of my Catasetanaes, but wait till you discover what their favorite music is while being tended....

 

 

 

September 2019

 

 

 

Unregistered Hybrid

(Catasetum Portagee Star 'Brian Lawson's Sunrise' HCC/AOS  x  Catasetum Melana Davison 'Fox Tail')

 

  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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