Cattleya orchid culture

General Cattleya Culture (including L, Lc, Bc, Blc, Slc, Stlma, Pot, Otaara, Yam)

The Cattleya group of orchids are excellent for the beginner. These plants can withstand many of the initial mistakes made by the novice grower and the flowers are a delight, lasting from 2 to 3 weeks

Temperature: The optimal range for growing Cattleyas is 55 °F degree nights and upwards to 85 °F degree daytime. Cattleyas are intermediate, enjoying cooler nights and warm days.

Light: A minimum of 4 to 6 hours of very bright light is required for Cattleyas to grow well. They can tolerate very early morning and late afternoon direct sunlight in the summer, but should be protected from direct sun at all other times of the day.

Humidity: Cattleyas prefer 40% to 60% humidity. Windowsill growers can add humidity by placing orchids on a humidity tray filled with water. The bottom of the pot should not touch the surface of the water. Misting plants in the morning also help, although only temporarily.

Watering: Cattleyas like to dry out between waterings but watering is relative to the plant and environment. A hot or very dry environment (such as outside in the summer, or in a heater home in winter) may mean watering twice a week. A cool and damp environment may mean watering every two weeks. Keep in mind that Cattleyas grow on tree limbs in nature.. When it rains they are soaked, and when it’s dry they are DRY! When watering, thoroughly soak your plant until the roots look greenish (instead of white). Try to avoid watering with very cold water… plants don’t really like that!

Fertilizer: The most fertilizer is required during the plants active growing season. Fertilizers such as Dyna-Gro ‘Grow’ or Jack’s Classic 7-5-6 are best used once a week at half strength during the spring and summer and less frequently during fall (every two weeks) and winter (once a month).

Repotting: The only time to repot Cattleyas is during active root growth. (green or yellowish tips). Use a pot which will give the new growth space of about 2 inches. If the plant has grown large (8+ inch pot) you can divide it as long as there are three to five healthy leafy growths per division. Growing medium is an individual choice. We really like Aussie Gold for Cattleyas, as well as medium coconut husk mix.

Summer Outdoor Growing: If the plants are placed outside for the summer, they should get early morning and late afternoon sun. Use caution when putting plants out for the summer as burning often occurs in early to mid Spring when the sun is strong but the air is cool. Gradually acclimated to the sun so as not to burn the leaves. The foliage should be light green. Too little light or to much fertilizer produces soft, dark green growths. Normally the foliage of a Cattleya orchid is very thick and brittle.

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