Molting Monnierara

by Colleen Rochette

A mere two months ago, Monnierara Magic ‘Witchcraft’ AM/AOS tiptoed into my life. As she continues to thrive and change face, I remain puzzled. Admittedly, I am rather inexperienced with Catasetinae orchid varieties and have no idea what may be in store come fall. Despite how happy she seems, my mind is teeming with curiosity.

Pictured above is Monnierara Magic when she was freshly re-potted after her arrival. Her roots were so extensive that I had to use a 5″ clear, slotted plastic pot. Upon nestling her into the container, I filled it with a mixture of hydroton, red lava rock and bark.

MonnieraraWitchcraftWEB1Two months later, the leaves on the larger pseudobulb have completely fallen off. As her leaves fell, she also began to grow a new pseudobulb. This baby has become 12″ tall in this short period of time.

MonnieraraWitchcraft3From what I have read about Catasetinae varieties, it seems as if these orchids shed their leaves. This normally happens during the fall and the early winter, around the time when the orchid is supposed to flower.

As I examine her pseudobulbs, questions begin to arise. Why did her old pseudobulb lose it’s leaves so early? Why did she grow a newer pseudobulb immediately after this happened? Does this mean that Monnierara may possibly develop more than one spike that will drip with glorious black flowers? I cannot help but wonder.

Although it does not appear as if this orchid has flowered before, Monnierara is indeed considered blooming size. I am crossing my fingers for blossoms later this year.

MonnieraraWitchcraft4In this photo you can see where the old leaves used to be on the larger pseudobulb. The remnants have turned into transparent husks that hug her little curves.

MonnieraraWitchcraft5Monnierara had a mature set of healthy roots when I originally received her, but the new pseudobulb has also produced ample new growth as well.

Currently, she is being watered about twice a week and usually given a healthy dose of fertilizer on the weekend.

Only in time, we will see what happens! I will surely keep you posted on my black beauty!