Cattleya Culture


image After the flowers fall off, place your orchid on the lanai, Florida room, or in a bright windowsill, with exposure to some filtered sun. The leaves should be medium-colored green. If the light is too bright, the leaves may burn or be very light green. The outside of the leaves can get slightly warm to the touch, but if the leaves feel hot, they are burning. Never full sun all day. Dark brown, dry, patches on the leaves may be sunburn.


image Never use salt-softened water. City tap water or rain water is best. Water approximately once per week in warm weather, longer during the cooler winter months and only every 7 to 14 days with big pots. Wait until the bark dries out before watering again; the plants must not remain soggy. But, when you water, be sure the bark-medium and plant roots are thoroughly soaked with water. Let the orchid roots dry out before next watering, and do not let a plant to sit in water for very long; drain excess water off after an hour. Bone dry for weeks is not good either, but it’s better than water root rot! Small pots dry out more quickly than large pots. Clay pots dry faster than plastic.


image Fertilizer helps your plants. It is good to fertilizer at least every 2 to 3 weeks. We recommend fertilizing ¼-½ teaspoon per gallon of water each time you water. The more sun the plant gets the more fertilizer it can use when growing. Any brand of balanced plant food will work fine. You can use 10-15-10, 20-20-20, or 15-30-15 or similar fertilizer.


image Ideal is 65F night and 88 to 94F day. However, the plants may take a temperature range between 38F and 100F for short periods. Below 50F will cause them to temporarily stop growing until it warms up again. Below 40F may kill. Bring them in if they are outside.


image Mini-cattleyas can bloom anytime of year, usually one or more times if they are happy and growing, which is the key to blooming. Some hybrids bloom more frequently than others. Big cattleyas may bloom only once per year. They can bloom on each new growth, once the growth matures. After the new growth has bloomed, it stays on the plant for food storage and will not bloom again.