Deformed orchid flowers

Q: I have a mericlone cattleya. The first time it bloomed, one flower had a partially fused dorsal and left lateral sepal. When it flowered a second time, all of the flowers were okay. But one flower was deformed on the third blooming. What is the cause – virus, Benlate or what? The color on all blooms has been good. A: Deformity in art-shade cattleyas is unfortunately a fact of life. It is usually genetic, though poor meristemming technique – excessive hormones – can be a factor. Benlate or virus are probably not the cause. Both induce foliar deformity more commonly.