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FAQ: How do I know when a capsule is ready to harvest?
How do I know when a capsule is ready to harvest?

The best sign is if the capsule starts to split a little on the column end. Then it's really ready. Harvest immediately because it might open pretty rapidly. This may or may not be accompanied by some yellowing on the column end or whole pod. Some capsules don't yellow at all, though.

On the other hand, some capsules won't split. I won't say that this is a bad sign in general, because some orchid capsules may normally not split, but it seems that the majority will split when ready. If a capsule is yellowing rapidly, harvest it, split or not, and cut off the column and help it split. This may prevent a capsule rotting and ruining the seed if it is failing prematurely, and the seed might be viable. There is no point in keeping a capsule on the plant once the plant has stopped supplying the seeds with nutrition, and a dry or suddenly yellowing capsule, or one with a dying stem will not be doing this.

Note that long-term yellowness is normal in some species, and shouldn't be taken as a sign of maturity.

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