This is Super Grande and the sides are 'caved in'. Not even the front of the pouch is fully ballooned out. I waited so long for this re-bloom, now this disappointment. What caused this? When it last bloomed the blooms were perfect.
I don't have a clue why they do this but sometimes they do. Ignore it, next bloom will probably be fine.
Around here, phrag flowers come out deformed if they happen to bloom during an especially hot spell or if I haven't been as diligent with watering as I should be.
Also, I've noticed that some chemicals, like Superthrive, if applied while the plant is spiking seem to lead to a higher incidence of deformed flowers.
And as Brooke mentioned, the flowers will probably be fine next time the plant blooms. It's rarely a genetic condition, usually it's just a result of environment and growing conditions while the buds are developing.
Thx guys. There are other buds developing. I'll pay more attention to watering and see if the next blooms are better. At the time of the prior blooming, I was letting the plant sit in a saucer of water, so it never dried out. This past year I've stopped doing that; a speaker at an OS meeting said that letting the plant sit in water was not a safe method of culture.
I also have three paphs in bloom and two of them have beautiful pouches, while the third is not perfect I'm still enjoying them all!
I'm glad the speaker at your OS meeting doesn't see that 90% of mine sit in a saucer of water :>)
Granniek, I'm going to agree and disagree with that speaker because it's a slightly complicated and nuanced cultural issue.
If you live in a cool climate (which you don't) or you grow in an area that stays relatively cool, like indoors in the air conditioning, then you probably don't want to grow your phrags sitting in a saucer of water. Furthermore, if your plants don't get sufficient air flow or you're growing them in the lower register of their light requirements, then again, consider growing them drier.
There are also some species like the schlimii complex and the long petaled species and hybrids (caudatum types) that also prefer to be grown on the drier side, particularly during the winter months when they slow their growth.
Obviously, Super Grande is a caudatum hybrid and so you should exercise caution in regards to letting the plant sit in water. However, keep in mind, it has longifolium in it, which is one of the species that love water and the plant is a hybrid, so it's going to get a mix of genes.
Most other phrags, including a good majority of hybrids, do fine and almost require sitting in water when grown in optimal light levels and temperatures. In general, you'll do better keeping them in a growing medium that is conducive to this kind of culture. Honestly, it just makes them easier to grow because every few days you just drench the pot to flush it out and freshen the water supply. Grown this way, phrags are generally care free.
Anyway, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you were previously growing the plant such that it sat in water most of the time and weren't having any issues with rot, then you were better off doing that. Personally, I live in N.C. and I have a Super Grande as well. In the winter I keep the potting mix very moist but don't let it sit in water. Once it goes outside (from spring to fall) the only time it isn't sitting in water is when I forget to water.
Anyway, if you do decide to go back and start growing it with more water, make sure you slowly up the water levels so that the roots have time to adjust. Also, I'd suggest you wait until after the plant has finished blooming and is clearly back into its growth phase. After reading your post, I would almost put money on the fact that the plant wasn't getting quite enough water during the phase that the flower buds were developing and that's why they came out deformed. It's not too big of a deal, obviously the plant was still getting enough moisture that it was able to live.
Congratulations on the blooms! Mine is starting to spike up, so I'm hoping to have some flowers in the near future.
Thanks for the detailed info. I'm putting them back into a saucer of water. I only have a few phrags; I'll have to look up their parentage & see if they have caudatum or schlimii in them and water accordingly.
Oddly enough, most schlimii hybrids like lots of water and are fine sitting in it. In my experience, it's just pure schlimii and relatives and the hybrids between them.
On the other hand caudatum types like your Super Grande are a tricker affair, but if they have longifolium in them, then generally they'll appreciate growing on the wetter side. I know my Super Grande demands to sit in a pot during the warmer months when it is getting bright light and warm temps. Otherwise it loses leaves and suffers major disfiguring leaf tip dieback.
Plus, as I sad, if your plants were growing fine before with no problems, there's no need to change your growing conditions unless there's benefit to be gained (i.e. more flowers, faster growth, or easier care). In this case, growing plants submerged like you did gives more and better flowers, faster growth (just my opinion), and certainly to me its easier just to let the plants stand in water rather than worry about keeping them constantly moist.