Yellow and Red Cattleya Orchid Flower
Happy to share this beautiful and exquisite orchid flower from my balcony to you. Read on for some interesting facts about this flower.
When the word ‘orchid’ is mentioned, most people think of cattleyas. A popular choice for beginners and experts alike, Cattleya produce large and fragrant flowers with vibrant colors that are commonly used in corsages. There is no doubt that these plants are very robust and can withstand a great deal of abuse from those who tend to forget to water them. Additionally, they are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures.
For those with limited space, miniature Cattleyas are also available. Cattleya require abundant but not intense light in order to flourish and grow. An east window is ideal since the early morning sun is very important to the growth of plants. As long as a sheer curtain is used to shade the plant from mid-February through the end of October, a south window will also suffice.
Cattleya can be grown outdoors in filtered light, such as through a pine tree or shrub, from June to late fall. It is important not to expose these orchids to prolonged direct sunlight, as their leaves may become sunburned.
LEDs are the best option for Cattleya when growing indoors. The artificial light market has grown significantly in recent years, so a quick Google search will provide a wide selection of lighting options at a variety of price points. Temperature and Humidity Cattleya thrive in temperatures between 70°F and 80°F (20°C and 27°C). In the evening, there should be a minimum temperature drop of 10°F (6°C), to approximately 60°F to 64°F (15°C to 18°C). By lowering the nighttime temperature, flower buds will be induced and stronger growth will be promoted.
Cattleya can be left outside until the first frost if you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures. Humidity levels between 45% and 60% are ideal for cattleyas. Humidifiers or humidifier trays and grids can be used at home to achieve this. Please ensure that the plant does not stand in water as this will cause its roots to rot. When the potting medium feels almost dry to the bottom of the pot, Cattleya should be watered.
Generally, this occurs every week or so following the previous watering. Wait a day or two before watering if you are in doubt. Plants in clay pots can quickly dry out if they are not watered regularly. Water should never be allowed to stand in contact with plants. When Cattleya are about to bloom, and during the blooming period, make sure to provide them with more frequent watering. Do not water your Cattleya for at least seven days after repotting it during the active growing season. In this way, cuts and breaks in the roots can become callous and will not rot when watered.
Watering should be performed in the morning in order to allow the leaves to dry and prevent bacterial growth overnight. Whenever possible, use low-alkalinity water, such as rainwater, distilled water, or reverse osmosis water. Water collected in the tray of a dehumidifier can be used to water orchids.
Green Jungle Orchid Food, specially formulated to provide orchids with the nutrients they would find in their natural habitats, is highly recommended. For decades, we have used this fertilizer on our own plants in production with excellent results! It is recommended that this formula be used with water that has a low level of alkalinity (such as rainwater, distilled water, or reverse osmosis water).
You may use tap water, but keep in mind that mineral buildup will require repotting more frequently, approximately every one to two years. Fertilize your plants every time you water them during the growing season, flushing them with unsoftened water once a month if you are using bark mix. During this process, the media is rinsed to remove salt and mineral deposits. Fertilize every other watering during periods of inactive growth. Fertilize every third watering if the plant is rooted in sphagnum moss.
Cattleya should be potted using New Zealand Sphagnum Moss or the Medium grade of our Traditional Orchid Bark Mix. Cattleya specimens of a large size can benefit from our Large grade of Traditional Orchid Bark Mix. As a general rule, repotting should be performed in the spring of every two years. When the plant has outgrown its pot and its new growth extends over the edge, or when the potting medium has deteriorated, repotting is necessary. You should choose a pot that is large enough to accommodate 2 or 3 years of growth (1 or 2 pseudobulbs per year) when you repot your plant.
Pull the plant from its old pot by gently, but firmly, grasping the base of the pot. Sometimes it is easiest to simply break a clay pot with a hammer when growing in clay pots. No need to worry if roots are broken or cracked, this will not harm the plant in the long run. Remove the media and rinse the roots carefully if the mix is old, crumbly, and sour.
Dead roots and pseudobulbs should be removed. The oldest pseudobulbs of the plant should be placed at the edge of the new pot. Afterwards, spread the roots out and fill in the space with the potting medium. It is important to press firmly down with each handful in order to prevent the plant from wobbling. Build up the compost until the rhizome of the plant rests on the surface, about half an inch below the pot rim. When your newly potted plant is wobbly, you can secure it with a ring support or rhizome clip. Cattleyas may be divided by cutting through the rhizome between the pseudobulbs, leaving three to four bulbs per division.
Each time you divide the roots, try to untangle some of them. You may need to cut some of the roots in order to divide the plant. Here is a video describing how to divide orchids. Sterilizing all cutting and potting instruments before using them on an orchid is standard practice in order to prevent the transfer of orchid diseases. By flaming pruning shears with a butane torch or spraying them with rubbing alcohol and wiping them with a clean paper towel, this can be accomplished.
Cattleya is primarily plagued by scale and thrips. If you wish to monitor your plants for scale, remove any dry, papery sheaths from the pseudobulbs so the insects have no place to conceal themselves. A systemic pesticide is often the most effective treatment for scale. It is possible to control thrips by either using beneficial predatory mites or applying neem oil on a regular basis.