Cattleya (Latin Cattleya) is an epiphytic or lithophytic orchid of the Orchid family. Currently, there are more than 50 species of Cattleya. Sizes range from 20 cm to 1 meter. Naturally, it grows in South and Central America.
Cattleya is called the queen of orchids for its striking appearance and variety of colors. According to the number of leaves, they are divided into two groups: the labiata type (single-leaved) and the Brazilian type (double-leaved). The flowering time depends on the variety and species, the flowers have a pleasant vanilla aroma.
The flower shops mainly sell hybrid Cattleya. They are conventionally subdivided into spring and autumn, depending on the time of flowering. The peculiarity of autumn orchids is that they do not have a pronounced dormant period, while spring ones need time to rest.
Cattleya - popular varieties:
Cattleya bicolor (Cattleya bicolor) - has a short peduncle with cylindrical bulbs measuring 35-55 cm.The petals are copper-brown, the lip is purple-crimson, flowers are up to 10 cm in size. The flowering time is autumn-winter.
Cattleya bowringiana is a large orchid with bulbs up to 60 cm. An inflorescence of 15-20 small pink-purple flowers grows on a short peduncle. Blooms in autumn and winter.
Cattleya labiata (Cattleya labiata) is an epiphytic orchid with bulbs about 25 cm and a peduncle up to 15 cm. The flowers are fragrant, there are few of them, but they are quite large - up to 15 cm in diameter. Usually blooms in autumn and winter.
Cattleya Trianaei - has large flowers, up to 20 cm in diameter. Flowering from December to March, up to 5-7 flowers grow on the peduncle.
Cattleya forbesii is a small orchid, up to 20 cm in height. The flowers are fragrant and large enough (10 cm), olive green. Blossoming: summer-autumn.
Cattleya hybrids, which are sold in flower shops, are sufficiently adapted for growing in an apartment environment. With good care, the orchid will bloom regularly, for this it needs to provide a bright place and regular ventilation.
Lighting. It is important to provide the Cattleya with a bright, diffused light. An east or southeast window sill will do. If the orchid is placed on a south window, it is recommended to shade it from direct sunlight in the spring and summer to protect the leaves from burns. In the warm season, it is best to take it to the balcony, because Regular airing this orchid needs no less than light. In winter, supplementary lighting with phytolamps will not hurt.
Temperature. Cattleya is thermophilic, but it can develop well in apartment conditions. However, for successful flowering, it needs a difference between night and day temperatures in the range of 5-7 ° C. From May to September, this difference can be achieved by placing Cattleya on the balcony or close to an open window.
In species orchids, during the dormant period, the optimal daytime temperature should be 17-19 ° C, and the nighttime around 15-16 ° C.
Air humidity. At normal temperatures of the order of 16-28 ° C, air humidity does not play a special role. However, in a hot room, it is recommended to increase it by placing the orchid near a pallet with wet expanded clay. With high humidity, it is important to ensure regular air circulation around the plant in order to avoid the development of fungal and bacterial diseases.
Watering. The main rule is that the substrate between waterings must completely dry out. It is also important to take into account the belonging of the Cattleya according to the conditional classification: spring-flowering and autumn-flowering.
An autumn-blooming orchid needs to be watered regularly during the growth of a new bulb, and when it begins to form, watering must be reduced so that the flower bud is laid. After flowering, watering is increased.
Spring flowering Cattleya need to provide a longer dry period by gradually reducing watering from the beginning of the new bulb formation and increasing watering after flowering.
The frequency and abundance of watering also depends on the temperature of the content and the illumination. In the bright sun and warmth, the orchid grows more actively and its need for water is greater than in the autumn-winter period. In winter, it is better to underfill the Cattleya than to pour it over.
Top dressing. During the period of active growth of the pseudobulb, and then the peduncle, the Cattleya is fed every second or third watering. After the beginning of flowering, as well as during the dormant period, feeding is stopped.
Transfer. This orchid does not like frequent transplants. Therefore, it must be transplanted in the case of strong growth or due to caking or salinity of the substrate. It is best to use a transparent pot with drainage holes or an unfired clay pot. For transplant purposes, a store-bought substrate for epiphytic orchids, consisting of pine bark, sphagnum moss, pieces of charcoal and foam balls, is suitable.
When transplanting, the orchid is moved to the edge of the pot so that the frontal bulb can develop. It is advisable to put a support to fix the cattleya in an upright position.
Usually, the transplant is carried out in the spring, when the young shoots reach 3-4 cm in height and are just beginning to grow their own roots.
After transplanting, it is recommended not to water the orchid for several days in order to avoid root rot.
A transfer to a block can be done if it is possible to provide the Cattleya with high air humidity. If this is not possible, then the best option is to transplant into a substrate.
Trimming and shaping. Cattleya, like other orchids, does not need pruning and shaping.
Bloom. A well-developed cattleya with 5-7 bulbs can have up to 15 flowers at a time. Flowering can last more than a month, delighting with the beauty of large 10-15 cm flowers with a pleasant aroma.
If new shoots appear during the ripening of the covers, then they should be removed so that the forces of the orchid go to the development of buds, and not to new growth. For most Cattleya, the sheaths ripen from August to October, and bloom in November-December, respectively.
Reproduction. Usually, by dividing a bush of an adult orchid, which has at least 8-10 bulbs, so that there are 4-5 bulbs on each division. Autumn flowering Cattleya propagate the orchid during active growth, spring flowering - in the spring after flowering. The cut on the rhizome is sprinkled with crushed charcoal, the cuttings are not watered for some time to avoid the development of fungal diseases.
Diseases and pests. Most often it is affected by scale insects, aphids and spider mites. Control methods - spraying with insecticidal preparations (actellik solution).
Cattleya is also susceptible to fungal diseases, the most common cause is excessive or improper watering. The affected areas are cut to a green tissue, sprinkled with crushed coal, treated with antifungal drugs and the substrate is changed.
Cattleya in winter. At this time, it is advisable to place the pot with the plant in a bright, cool place, reduce watering and stop feeding.
Interesting Facts. Colombia and Venezuela have chosen Cattleya as their national flower.