Cattleya Orchid

Corsage Orchid

Cattleya Orchid is one of the most popular kind of orchids, especially as cut flowers, as it comes with variety of colors and lasts for quite a long time.



This species is also known as the 'corsage orchid' because ladies liked to use the flowers as accessories for their evening dresses back in the day.

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Description


Yellow flower

This attractive species is native to Central and South America. It likes warm temperatures and medium light. At home it will be best kept on a windowsill on either southern, eastern or western side.

Flowering: The corsage orchid has the largest flowers of up to 5 inches across. They also come in all colors and will make your home not only look more alive, but thanks to its strong fragrance it will make it smell wonderful.

Cattleya Orchid tends to bloom once a year and the flowers last 2-3 weeks. However, nowadays some of the hybrids last 5-6 weeks.

In order for them to bloom they need direct sun (filtered) and cool evenings. Temperature of 55 degrees usually starts off the flowering cycle.

Foliage: The leaves are long and are attached to large growths, called pseudobulbs, which are connected to each other by a horizontal growth, called rhizome. Pseudobulbs hold water and energy for the plant.

In the place where the pseudobulb meets the leaf a bloom sheath will come out and this is also the place, where the flowers will bloom. When the pseudobulb matures its outer layer will turn brown, or white. This is called 'sarong'. It is best to peel it off as it is often a good breeding ground for bugs.

The pseudobulbs will become brown and shrink after a few seasons. Cut it off by the rhizome during the next repotting.

Displaying and growing: The orchid looks beautiful in clay pots (they are the best for watering - please see below), in bright rooms and on windowsills. It is a good idea to have them in different colors and display them together.

Facts

Origin: Central and South America.
Names: Corsage Orchid (common). Cattleya Orchid (botanical/scientific)
Max Growth (approx): 12 - 24in tall.
Poisonous for pets: Non toxic for cats, dogs and horses.
Orange flowers Pink flowers Dark pink flowers

Cattleya Care Instructions

Temperature: They do well in temperatures varying from 55 degrees at night up to 90 degrees in the day. You can safely put your orchid outside during the summer months. A drop in temperature during the evening is required.
Light: Orchids don't like direct sunlight as it can damage the leaves. The best is medium or filtered light and a room on the southern, eastern or western side. Morning direct sun is fine but not afternoon summer direct sunlight. You can go down the artificial lighting route if required and this is what many professional growers do.
Watering: Cattleyas like to dry out between the waterings. The established plants should be watered from a week to ten days, and young plants from five to seven days. To make sure you are doing the best you can, you can place the pot in a bowl of water for 10-15 minutes - this works the best for the plants in clay pots. If your orchid is planted in a plastic pot, put it in an empty bowl and slowly add water. Keep it there for 10-15 minutes. In both cases you can also put the plant in a sink and use tepid water for a minute or so.
Soil: They do well in soiless mixtures, for example bark, rocks, or perlite (their roots need air) . They are epiphytes in their natural habitat meaning they cling to trees and rocks without soil. Wet soil for a period of time will kill these plants.
Fertilizer: Any balanced orchid fertilizer is good. Use it weekly.
Humidity: Around 40% - 70%. Place the pot on pebbles in water to create more humidity from the water evaporating from the pebble tray.
Propagation: Propagate in spring, after blooming period. This is done by dividing the plant and there should be at least three shoots on each division.
Pruning: Prune after the flowers die off. Cut the spike off at the base of the pseudobulb.

Potential Problems

  • Light: If the Cattleya doesn't get enough light it will fail to bloom, the old bulbs will die off and the new ones will get smaller and weaker. However, if given too much light the leaves will burn and the plant will look unattractive. The best solution to this is to understand the natural habitat of Cattleya Orchids and trying to give them a similar environment at home.

  • Overwatering: Overwatering can cause the roots to rot.

  • Pests: Scaly and mealy bugs are the most common. You can get rid of them by using Pest Oil.

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