Friday, April 24, 2015

Catasetum tenebrosum awakens!

Catasetum tenebrosum in early spring, MR, 2015
It's been three years, but I'm still amazed every spring when my orchid, Catasetum tenebrosum, aka (you guessed it) "Cat", wakes up. Catasetums love to play dead. Really dead. For about half the year.
The flowers die, the leaves yellow and fall off, and the pseudobulbs wrinkle and gray. Yuck. It needs no water at all during that time, so I just cut off the oldest pseudobulb stick the mummified plant in a corner, and pretend it doesn't exist.

Around March or April, a tiny green growth appears at the base. I start watering and fertilizing it like crazy, and within just a couple of weeks, it looks like it does above. In another month, it will (hopefully) bloom its incredibly and weirdly fragrant black-and-yellow flowers. No dye here! Then the cycle begins again. Just amazing.
Catasetum tenebrosum in bloom, MR

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