The Corsage Orchid
Cattleyas are among the most commonly grown orchids, and their culture is often used as the basis for comparison with other types of orchids. Like most other cultivated orchids, cattleyas are epiphytes, or air plants. They have well-developed water-storage organs (called pseudobulbs) and large, fleshy roots. They should be potted in a porous, free-draining medium. The most commonly used are mixes (in the north) with fir bark, coconut chunk, sphagnum moss, and peat moss as the base with charcoal, perlite and other materials sometimes used as additives. Keep out of cold, dry air while in bloom.
L I G H T
Sufficient light is important for healthy growth and flower production.
Provide bright light, some sun. In the home, an east, west or lightly shaded south window. In a greenhouse, about 40 to 60 percent full sun. Under lights, four 40 watt fluorescent tubes and two 40 watt incandescent bulbs directly over plants. Plants should be naturally erect, without need of much staking (flowers still may require staking), and of a medium olive-green color. Dark green, limp foliage indicates too little light.
Mature plants prefer a 15 to 20 F difference between night and day.
PROVIDE Nights of 50 to 60 F (although some can easily do 40 F); days of 65 to 85F. Cattleyas can tolerate temperatures up to 95 to l00F if shading, humidity and air circulation are increased. Seedling cattleyas prefer temperatures 65-80 F. continuously..
W AT E R
Mature plants must dry out between waterings. In the house with a few plants a soak watering by placing in a bucket of water to mix level can be used to provide a good watering. In the greenhouse water heavy and then let dry out. Seedlings need more-constant moisture. Quality of water is important to keep salts low.
H U M I D IT Y
Cattleyas prefer 40 to 60 percent. In the home, place on humidity trays. In greenhouse, use a humidifier if conditions are too dry. Misting plants in the morning only is also good.
Must be provided on a regular basis because most potting media have little.
The exact fertilizer you use will depend on the mix in which your plant is growing. A good general rule is to use a nitrate based fertilizer "weakly, weekly." That is, fertilize every week at one half teaspoon/gal.
Should be done every two years for mature plants every year for seedlings and plants in fine mix. Repot in spring before mix loses consistency (breaks down). Pot firmly in media that has good aeration and ample drainage, allowing enough room for two years' growth.
Hanging plants out for the summer in a lightly shaded area can be of great benefits for those growing in the home. Watering and other requirements go down easing summer care. Just bring them in before it gets too cold and look for pests on plants when you bring them in.
Roberts Flower Supply
This text is a recommendation only, it is not an endorsement of any products or acceptance of any liability as a result of usage.