Friday, March 2, 2012

Repotting the Cattlianthe Jewel Box 'Scheherazade'

Hollow dried roots

     After noticing several surface level roots dry out and die on my Ctt Jewel Box (formerly 'Slc Jewel Box'), I became concerned with the health of the plant and decided to repot.  Although cattleyas are said to be finicky about repotting, I figured that the orchid wasn't doing much growth currently anyway, so that if there was trouble beneath the surface I would rather find out sooner than later.

Ctt Jewel Box before and after trimming dead roots

     When I removed the orchid from its pot, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the health of its root system.  The root mass was significantly large, and at least half of the roots were in good health.  In the left panel above shows the dark dead roots and the healthy tan ones.  I trimmed away most of the old or dying roots and repotted the cattlianthe into a slightly bigger ceramic pot.  

     I arranged the orchid slightly off-center, so that the two newest pseudobulbs face the middle of the pot, with plenty of room for further growth.  I've heard that cattleya orchids can pout for a long while if their roots are disturbed, so we'll see how successful my repotting has been.  Hopefully the orchid will be happy in its new pot, and I won't have to move it for a while. 


  1. Please e-mail the first picture on this page, and the second one down on your oncidim root tip death page to st. augustine orchid society. They have some people who are really knowledgeable about diseases. Tell them that it is not salt build up or slugs/snails. Tell them that you also have pitting along the edges of the roots as well.
    I would send pictures myself, but when I went to take pictures of this problem, I found that my camera won't stay on longer than about 30 seconds.
    I'm sure that your root growing problems are not all being caused by wrong media, overwatering etc. There is a fungus or bacteria affecting them.

    I treated my orchids with benomyl and this stopped the pitting for a while, but then the root tips are dying again and the pitting is coming back. Maybe I just need to spray them more often, but benomyl can't be used too often, or phytotoxicity will occur.

    I really hope you can get the problem solved. Your poor plants. Poor you.

    1. What makes you say that it's an ongoing infection?

      This post is 6 months old, and since then the cattleya has bloomed nicely, produced one new growth that is almost mature, and is starting yet another one. By most counts, I'd say that the plant is doing well.

      (I will look into getting an antifungal treatment for my oncidium though--that orchid has been struggling for a while, and I thank you for the suggestion.)