Cattleya orchids are some of the easiest of all the orchids to grow, as long as they receive bright indirect light. They are known for their exquisite blossoms and are often called "Queen" of the orchids.
Cattleyas need bright lights, but you should avoid placing them in direct sun in the middle of the day. It prefers 75-80 degrees F. , as do other types of tropical plants, but will tolerate higher temperatures if the light is decreased and the humidity is increased. It needs humidity levels of 50-80 percent, which can be provided with a pebble tray or humidifiers.
Care of Cattleya Orchids
Mature cattleya orchids should dry out fairly well between waterings, but younger plants and seedlings must be kept moist. Use unsoftened water above 50 degrees. Because cattleya orchids are grown for their flowers, feed them with a blossom-boosting food every 4-6 weeks. Feed with foliage food every 2 weeks or so at half strength at every watering. *You can also find tips on houseplant care while you are on vacation.
When the plant is resting, feed only once a month. Flush out fertilizer salts once a month. Repot when the rhizomes creep over the edge of the pot or when the potting mix breaks down and doesn’t drain thoroughly. Repot before new roots appear which may be after blooming or in the spring. When the flower stem appears, place an orchid stake close to the center of the plant, making sure not to pierce the pseudobulbs when doing so. Gently tie the flower spike to the stake.
Propagation of the cattleya orchid is done by dividing the root ball. The plant must be mature enough to provide 3 to 5 pseudobulbs for each division. After dividing the plant, cut off any damaged or diseased roots, and spread the remaining roots on a small mound of soil in the bottom of the new pot. Fill it with orchid mix, pack down firmly, and place a stake in the pot if necessary. Keep in a cool spot with lower light and dry roots.
The diseases of cattleya orchis consists of leaf spots. This happens when the air is still cool. Provide air circulation and keep the plants warm.
You will find hundreds of cattleya orchids available as well as many crosses with other species. Some favorites are ‘Nacouchee’ which has delicate lavender flowers and ‘Landate’ which features variegated petals surrounding a pink center.