Welcome to my 2020 GROW BLOG for the


Catasetum lucis ( Catasetum lucis 'SVO' x Catasetum lucis 'Dana's Bird of Paradise' AM/AOS )


The parent Catasetums above are linked to a general culture and additional information page for the Catasetum lucis Click on the images below for a full-sized image in a new tab. 


Let the fun in growing begin....



Brief Grow Blog and Pictures


Catasetum lucis was described in 1994 from plants discovered in the disputed border area between Colombia and Venezuela.  Only a few plants were found, and we were fortunate to acquire this species in 2007.  The plants only bloomed male for many years, and several crosses were made with the pollen. I was beginning to wonder if these would ever produce female flowers.  Finally, after 9 years, a plant produced female flowers. Yes, I waited 9 years to make a sib cross!!! What makes this Catasetum remarkable are the upright inflorescences 4' or more in length that carry 20+ green flowers with white lips!  As a bonus, flowers last 3-4 weeks, which is very unusual for a Catasetum.  These are large, robust plants and very rare in cultivation.  Don't miss out on this one! These are very rare and highly collectable!  ( - Fred Clarke, Sunset Valley Orchids )


There is no guarantee that this orchid is mature enough to bloom this growing season. However, there is always hope.  My only experience with Catasetum lucis is the SVO 7315 (Catasetum Noname Hybrid ( Catasetum Portagee Star 'Brian Lawson's Sunrise' HCC/AOS x Catasetum lucis 'Dana's Bird of Paradise' AM/AOS ).  During the 2019 growing season, it did not bloom last year but it did double in bulb size so maybe it be mature enough to bloom for 2020? (Link to 2019 Grow Blog).


I picked this one up because it was the most expensive offering (taking advantage of sale discount), most likely due to the time waiting for making a sibling cross mentioned above in Mr. Clarke's description and the tall, upright 4-foot spike.


Catasetum lucis is a space hog easily measuring 3 feet across at peak of growth stage when measured leaf tip to leaf tip, very wide leaves and close to 3-feet tall from base of bulb to tallest leaf tip - so keep this in mind in your growing area.




 5 February 2019

Boxing Day - Catasetinae style.


Three bulbs however it is not easy identifying last year's growth.  One bulb is above the level of the moss in the current pot so I am not sure how to position this when I re-pot.  I am guessing when I see the new growth start to show itself it be decision time as I want the new growth to "ride" the level of the moss in the re-pot that be about 2 inches deep on top of clay pellets as I grow in a semi-hydroponic environment.


The top picture is straight out of the box. The second picture is after a little cleaning of the back bulbs.  The picture below focuses on what I suspect is last year's growth and will support this year's growth.  In the current pot the bulb is easily about a half-inch above the moss.  I suspect that the possible new growth is snug between these two bulbs.  To take the picture, I slid a finger between the bulbs separating them and used my phone to grab that image.  In a couple weeks I will know for sure.  Nature being what she is and how she works, the next generation of growth further divide the two bulbs.  What concerns me is where will the spike happen and will it be inhibited by the tight squeeze?  Again, only time will tell.



The suspect new growth might be hard to spot on the lower left-hand side of the bulb to the right.  It is hiding among some old scruff I tried removing with no luck.


I live in a dry-climate area, so against the basic rules of Catasetinae care, I watered the moss when I cleaned and rinsed the entire plant.  I have no plans to water this again until the last few days of February.  I will re-pot at the end of March.




20 February 2020

Included in my transition from the 3' pot to the current pot I cleaned up some of the roots  on top and bottom of the root ball and positioned the new growth centered and just below the edge of the pot.


This particular Catasetum is expected to be a giant. The tip of the new growth has unfortunately started to bend a little so I will be making sure it is oriented in such a way in my growing area to straighten out and continue growing vertical as much as possible.


Watering will be delayed as long as possible so that the roots grow long searching for a source to tap and absorb.  The back bulb is in very good shape so shrivelling from water being transferred to the new growth might not be seen for a month or two.  If the back bulb starts to show signs of severe water depletion by shrivelling I will slowly start watering but not heavy watering, enough to moisten the moss and pellets but not establish a reservoir at the bottom.  The goal is still get the roots to lengthen as much as possible.


Sacramento is experiencing a very dry February with very few days that could be called "overcast".  Lack of rain means a lack of cloudy days so in my growing area this and all the other Catasetinaes have been getting plenty of exposure to sun.  Once the ambient temperature is above 55-degrees, the orchids get marched from my kitchen to the growing area.  As the sun sets, everybody is marched back to the kitchen where it is warm, warmer then the 40-degree over night temperatures.


In my portable, mini-greenhouse shelves, along with the orchids I add a few water traps that add humidity as the inside of the green house gets warm in the sun, guessing mid-80's even tho the outside temperature be about  mid 60's.


Catasetinaes that have new growth spreading young leaves are in the middle row, front row is for Catasetinaes that have started new growth but no leaf development.


I try to check the mini-greenhouses twice during the afternoon for "feel" temperature and any humidity.


The first half of March I will be out of town so the Catasetinaes will be staged in a spot they get some direct afternoon sun (unless overcast skies) and protection from the cold overnight temperatures.


My absence will be the ultimate solution to resist the temptation of watering before the Catasetinaes are ready for it.


At the end of February I will repeat the sequence of the photos to the left and publish upon my return along with photos after my return.  It be interesting to compare the results of growth in my absence.  The images left are half sized so use browser options to view full sized images.



23 March 2020

Looking back at previous images I suspected this partiular orchid might have two new growths for this year and an 18 day absence proved that hunch to be true.


Even better is that they both are growing very close to vertical.


It is too early to start watering so a vigilant eye will be focused on the condiion of the bulb and how much shrivelling they endure.


In he meantime, like all the others, I will continue to position this orchid so that vertical growth is maintained.


The hardest part of caring for these orchids as they awaken from dormancy is resisting the urge to water.



9 April 2020

The hardest part of growing the Catasetinae is fighting and resisting at all costs the very strong desire to water these orchids.  However, if water too soon, the roots will not fully extend to their full potential.  The key is keeping an eye on the condition of the supporting backbulb(s) comment.  The more extreme the shrivelling of the backbulb, the more it is being drained of water by the new growth.  This is normal as new roots from the new growth are searching for a reliable water supply.


All during March I resisted watering.


It is the middle of April and still no water.


An advantage of quickly snapping photographs is that each image is a visual record of the progress of the orchid.  If you look back at the images and scroll up, you can see signs that the backbulb of this orchid is shrivelling slightly.  Unlike many other orchids, where the backulb functions as a one time use reservoir for water for the plant, that backbulb will shrivel, but never regain its plump state.  Catasetinaes, once watering of he orchid begins, the backbulbs will return to a plump state as they begin to absorb water for the next dry rest and supporting of future new growth.


For the month of April, I will a close eye on the backbulb.  If it reaches a point of rapid shrielling, I will water the medium just enough to get it damp.


April nights are still on the chilly side here so just before sunset I parade all the orchids from my growing area outside to my kitchen and this allows me the chance to look closely at each orchid as I march them out in the late morning and again late afternoon.


An advantage of the semi-hydroponic potting method is the ability to add water to the reservoir of the pot by just simply dunking it into a slightly larger container where the water just above the intended drainage holes permits water to flow into the pot.  This will not get the top moss wet or even damp allowing the roots to keep searching for a water source at the bottom of the pot.


This particular Catasetum is on my "fav list".  It producing two distinct new growths for this year makes me twice as happy. Also means 2 chances for sequential spikes and blooms 



May 2020






June 2020





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July 2020



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Read 1346 times Last modified on Monday, 01 June 2020 11:48
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