Falling Leaves – Cattleyas

Cattleya Alliance

by Susan Taylor

Originally published in BellaOnline

Posted by Sys Admin over 8 years ago.

Article Blog   Article Index

In general, leaf loss in Cattleya Alliance orchids is not considered to be a major growing problem. Unless you have very good growing conditions and have solved most of your cultural problems, you are going to lose the leaves on the older pseudobulbs of your Cattleyas. It is an exceptional grower who can keep these plants happy enough to produce a specimen plant. That is not to say that the hobby grower cannot do better to reduce leaf loss than the average grower. There are three main reasons for leaf loss: diseases/insects, culture and genetics.

In the diseases and insects category, scale is the main culprits. Scale is easy to spot once you have ever seen it – a grouping of white fuzzy spots. Left untreated scale will overtake a plant and ultimately will kill it. As soon as you see evidence of these pests, remove the plant to a location away from your other plants. Manually clean up any obvious insects or spray the whole plant with Bayer’s Rose and Flower Insect Spray (dual action) which will kill any pests that it touches as well as be absorbed in the plant and will kill adults as well as any sucking insects. Continue to spray for about 3 months.

Cultural practices which will cause leaf loss include overwatering, under-watering and excess cold and or heat. Overwatering will cause the roots on your plants to die off so they cannot support the plant. In an attempt to stay alive, the plant will shed extra leaves and try to keep the new growth alive. If possible, look at the roots of your plants – some growers actually take their plants out of the pots periodically to assess the growth. An old rule of thumb says that if the second oldest pseudobulb (generally from the previous year) is wrinkled and desiccated, you are either under or overwatering. Take your plant out of the pot to see which it is. If the roots are good and plump, then you’re under-watering. If they are all dead and rotten, you have overwatered. Repot and change your culture.

Another cultural practice which will cause leaf drop is very cold temperatures in the winter and very hot temperatures in the summer. Most Cattleya Alliance plants will withstand a wide range of temperatures, but very high and low temperatures, even within their range, will cause them to be stressed and lose leaves.

Genetics will also determine whether the plant will grow large for you or lose leaves once they are a couple of years old. There is little that can be done for this aspect but to determine through trial-and-error which plants are best for your growing conditions and stick to them.

One point to keep in mind is that if you can keep from doing it, it is much better to allow the leaf to drop off naturally than to cut it off. If the leaf will not snap off with light pressure, leave it on until it is ready to come off. The plant will seal the wound through a natural drying process which will keep any pests or disease from using the area to invade the plant.

Share on Social Media:  
Log in to Add a Comment

New Topics

  1. John Small asked question Paper Wasp? in category General Discussion
  2. Sharie Heckaman started topic Photos of plants in category General Discussion
  3. Roberto Lizama started topic Orchid identification in category General Discussion
  4. Roberto Lizama asked question Help to idenficate this orchid in category General Discussion
  5. William Gorski asked question Dendrobium Identification in category General Discussion

New Comments

  1. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Phal. buyssoniana by Robert Oceans
  2. Mary Lane commented on member plant Fdk. After Dark 'SVO Black Pearl FCC/AOS; CCE/AOS' by William Gorski
  3. John Small commented on topic "Paper Wasp?" by John Small
  4. Lauren Hutchison commented on topic "Help to idenficate this orchid" by Roberto Lizama
  5. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Phal. Timothy Christopher by Vickie Seibert
  6. Carol Holdren commented on topic "Photos of plants " by Sharie Heckaman
  7. Carol Holdren commented on member plant C. Ronald Fonseca var. Compact 'SVO' by Vickie Seibert
  8. Roberto Lizama commented on member plant Ntl. bicolor by Roberto Lizama
  9. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Gra. stapeliiflora var. Waki by Melvin Waki
  10. Vickie Seibert commented on member plant Phal. Anna-Larati Soekardi 'Wilson' by Vickie Seibert
  11. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Rrm. Spunky by Melvin Waki
  12. Charles Vella commented on topic "Orchid list Cold/Warm" by Charles Vella
  13. Sandi Block-Brezner commented on topic "Brassocattleya hybrid?" by Sandi Block-Brezner
  14. Robert H. Findlay commented on topic "looking for info about an unregistered cattleya" by bob lewis
  15. james Hu commented on orchid Den. vannouhuysii
  16. Chase Hubbard commented on member plant Hknsa. Sogo Doll by Tom Kuligowski
  17. Colin Campbell commented on topic "Can anyone identify this orchid?" by Jan E Teitsworth
  18. Carol Holdren commented on member plant Lc. Memory of PienPien Wei by Robert Rand
  19. Robert Rand commented on member plant Bc. Yellow Bird by John Small
  20. Sharie Heckaman commented on member plant Btcm. Hwuluduen Chameleon by Diana Sammy