A Guide on Growing and Caring for Cattleya Orchid
Cattleya Orchid is the perfect choice for a decorative houseplant in your home. This flower is not only chosen because of its beauty, but also because of its longevity.
When it is planted in the right condition and given proper care, Cattleya Orchid can grow and brighten up your home for a long period of time.
1. About Cattleya Orchid
Native to tropical areas of America, Cattleya Orchid is classified under one of the most popular orchid species. The name ‘Cattleya’ is firstly given in the nineteenth century, after an English horticulturist, William Cattley.
In the past, Cattleya flower is often used as corsages, but nowadays, it is mostly functioned as home decoration.
This flowery plant is even called “The Queen of the Orchids” because of its bright and unique flower shapes. For decades, new varieties of Cattleya Orchid—including hybrid species—come out almost every year. It is no wonder that this orchid plant piques the interest of many collectors, home growers, and flower enthusiasts.
Similar to most types of orchid, Cattleya is epiphytic, meaning that it usually grows on other plants or trees. In its natural habitat, Cattleya Orchid often clings to a tree or rocky fissure. Because of this reason, the plant is accustomed to growing on soilless planting medium and can last for a long time.
2. How to Grow Cattleya Orchid
The following is some basic information you need to know when growing Cattleya Orchids at home.
Cattleya Orchid needs bright light to thrive, but not too much. In the home situation, it is best placed in an eastern or southern windowsill. You can determine whether the plant receives enough light or not by looking at the color of the leaves.
Fresh, green leaves mean that the light they receive is in the right amount. Meanwhile, the leaves that turn red or purple indicate too much light.
The ideal temperature for growing Cattleya falls between 21-27 degrees Celsius in the day and 12-15 degrees at night. Note that higher temperature during daytime will result in faster growth.
However, it also means that you should water the plant more frequently while maintaining high humidity and good air circulation.
Cattleya will thrive better when it is placed in an area that has medium or high humidity. Sometimes, this factor is not easy to be controlled in a home situation. Therefore, you need to rely on the power of humidifier.
If there isn’t any at home, you can put the potted plant on a saucer that has been filled with water and pebbles. Through the drainage holes on the pot, the water will evaporate and add moisture to your orchid plant.
Potting and Repotting
Cattleya Orchid loves to live in a well-drained clay pot. As mentioned earlier, Cattleya commonly grows on soilless planting medium, so you don’t need to fill the pot with soil from the ground. Instead, use a special mixture that can consist of pine bark, perlite, charcoal, or clay pellets.
Repotting should be done every two to three years, or when the pot looks soggy and cannot drain well. When repotting Cattleya Orchids, you may find the roots wrap around the base of the pot.
It is actually a normal occurrence, so don’t worry. You only need to carefully trim away the wrapped or damaged root using a sterilized knife or other cutting tools.
3. How to Take Care of Cattleya Orchid
It does not take a lot of work for taking care of Cattleya plant. In general, Cattleya Orchid care includes regular watering and occasional fertilizing. You need to know the right time and proper procedure for both watering and fertilizing process.
The best time to water Cattleya Orchid is in the morning. Use tepid water instead of the regular one for better evaporation result.
When watering the plant, wait for a while between watering to let the root and the planting medium dry out—but don’t wait until it is completely dry. Then, water the plant again more deeply until the moisture sips through the drainage holes of the pot.
The watering schedule depends on the seasonal condition. More frequent watering is needed in warmer months, such as in the spring or summer. Meanwhile, in cooler seasons, the plant should be watered less frequently.
You need to feed the plant with fertilizer every two weeks in its growing state or once a month when it does not actively grow. Consider the planting medium to determine the best fertilizer for your plant.
If you use bark for the medium, then a high nitrogen fertilizer is the best choice. Meanwhile, if the bark is not included, you can use an orchid fertilizer.
It is important to remember that you must never fertilize the orchid plant when it is completely dry. If this happens, the roots will damage greatly.
4. Additional Care in Blooming Season
Cattleya Orchid blooms annually in the winter or late summer. In general, the flowers bloom in a period of one to three weeks during the season. When they appear for the first time, a thin sheath from the center of the leaf will also appear to protect every single one of the flowers.
Besides fertilizer, Cattleya Orchid flower also needs to be given extra care when it is blooming. For instance, watering should be reduced, so that the flowers can stay fresh and far from rotting.
5. Some Problems with Cattleya Orchid
Caused by bacterial infection, root and leaf rot becomes one of the most common problems with Cattleya. When they are infected, some black spots will appear and cause them to decay gradually.
What you need to do is remove all infected leaves as soon as possible until only the fresh leaves are left. Then, spray the edge of the remaining leaves with a natural bactericide. Meanwhile, when bacteria infect the rot, repotting should be done immediately before the entire plant is ruined.
In conclusion, to grow Cattleya Orchid, you need to provide the right planting medium and environment for the orchid plant as well as treating it with proper care. The basic information above has covered them all, so you can start planning to grow your own Cattleya at home.