Cattleya orchids are among the most popular types and, because of their longevity, are considered the standard by which others are judged. Named in honor of one of the earliest horticulturalists with an interest in them, William Cattley, this beautiful flower is one of the epiphytes, or a plant which grows happily on another plant without disturbing it in any way.
How These Flowers Receive Their Nutrients
They, like other epiphytes, have pseudobulbs to store the water and nutrients which feed the plant. They all attach to the rhizome, which is like a stalk that transports the nutrients to and from each of the pseudobulbs. Cattleya can be left to run up trees or be mounted to other objects with success if planted outside, but inside the orchid is going to need a medium mixture of planting media.
When You Should Start Repotting These Particular Flowers and What Soil is Best for Them
You can repot a Cattleya if the plant is starting to grow out of its pot or if the medium it’s in is worn out. Repotting can be done after blooming or in the spring.
Don’t repot unless they are healthy and have a minimum of four or five pseudobulbs. You can divide the plant with a knife, remove any rotten roots and fill the new pots with new planting mix. These plants prefer a planting medium that drains well, and one that is in the neighborhood of fifty percent bark.
Also try tree-fern fiber, coconut fiber, rock chips, or some more recent combinations that include osmunda, perlite and peat moss. Fertilize Cattleyas regularly, once a month and every two weeks when growing.
Humidity That Can Easily be Added With This Simple Technique
One of the toughest things for gardeners trying to grow these indoors is the fact the plants need to have between fifty and eighty percent humidity at all times. For most, this means that pots need to sit on a tray covered with gravel with water underneath. They must not directly touch the water. It is also necessary to have a good amount of circulating air so that they do not get diseases. In the home, this can often be done by opening a window or turning on a fan.
Keeping The Temperature at Optimum Levels
Keeping the correct temperature for them is very important. They usually need to be around fifteen degrees cooler at night. With Cattleyas, this means temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees during the day and 55 to 60 degrees at night. They need plenty of light and a little sun but not direct sunlight. This can be accomplished by using a sheer curtain in the window to block out some of the sunlight.
Making Certain That You Provide Your Plants With Correct Levels of Water
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make with these flowers is over-watering, so wait until your plants have completely dried out before watering. One way to test is to fill an empty pot with planting mixture, see how heavy it is, and then lift your pot for comparison. If the container is heavier, it means it still has enough water.
Final Thoughts on These Plants
They say that the discovery of this orchid was largely by mistake. The plants which William Cattley bred came as packing in a shipping box for another plant. The breeding of these has come a long ways since then. The plants are slow to get an initial bloom, sometimes taking as long as three or four years.
Once they do get started they can have up to ten blooms per plant and a well-taken-care-of plant can flower year-round. You can have some gorgeous colors–every type except blue and black!