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 fir
bark, shredded tree-fern fiber, ~
various types of rock, processed coconut fiber
and, lately, mixes based on peat moss and
perlite. Keep out of cold, dry air while in
LIGHT: Sufficient light is important for healthy
growth and newer production.
PROVIDE Bright light, some sun. In the home, an
east, west or lightly shaded south
window. In a greenhouse, about 30 to 50 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,
and of a medium olive-green color. Dark
green, limp foliage indicates too little light.
TEMPERATURE: Mature plants need a 15 to 20 F
difference between night and day.
PROVIDE Nights of 55 to 60 F; days of 70 to 85
F. Cattleyas can tolerate temperatures
up to 95 to 100 F if shading, humidity and air
circulation are increased. Seedling cattleyas
need temperatures five to 10 degrees higher than
WATER: Mature plants must dry out between
waterings. Seedlings need more constant
HUMIDITY: Cattleyas need 50 to 60 percent. In
the home, place on trays over moistened
pebbles. In greenhouse, use a humidifier if
conditions are too dry.
FERTILIZER: Must be provided on a regular basis
because most potting media have little.
PROVIDE The exact fertilizer you use will depend
on the mix in which your plant is
growing. A good general rule is to use a
balanced(10-10-10, 12- 12-12 or similar ratio)
fertilizer "weakly, weekly." That is, fertilize
every week at one quarter to one half of the
POTTING: Should be done every two to three years
in spring before mix loses