Orchids are some of the most intriguing plants people can bring into their homes and add to their personal plant collection. Beautiful, intricate and fragile, orchids can brighten up and bring style to any room. With blooms that challenge the senses, orchids are not your typical flower. In additions to being great house plants, orchids are great flowers to give for gifts.
One unique type of orchid is the cattleya orchid. But regardless of the beauty of cattleya orchids, they can be a challenge to grow. Learning the balance of potting, watering, etc. is essential to making your orchid your own. Read below for more information on the different varieties of cattleya orchid and how to care for your cattleya orchid.
Varieties of Cattleya Orchid
Within the cattleya orchid group, there are several different varieties. In general, there are several different colors of cattleya orchid. These orchids come in a dazzling array of yellows, purples, oranges, whites as well as hybrids. There are varieties that bloom in spring or summer, as well as those that bloom in the fall or winter. There are also a variety of sizes available.
Two specific types of cattleya are the Landate and the Chocolate Drop or Volcano Queen orchid. The Landate has a beautiful spotted flowers and a bold pink center. This particular cattleya blooms late spring or later in the summer. The chocolate drop is a vivacious breed with a reddish brown petals and a beautiful yellow center. In contrast to the landate, this delicious flower blooms in the fall.
Care For Your Cattleya Orchid
There are several different aspects to consider in the care of your cattleya orchid, including light, water, fertilizer, and potting. Light is vitally important for blooming plants, and orchids are no different. Midday sun shining directly on the plants should be avoided, but filtered sun is encouraged. In addition to sunlight, correct watering is also important. It is important that you let the soil of your cattleya to dry completely before you add more water to the plant.
Feeding and fertilization are also key elements to keeping your cattleya’s in perfect shape. Fertilizer should be given regularly. The specific type of fertilizer will vary depending on the stage of growth. Finally, there is potting to consider when caring for your orchid. Because these plants prefer drying out between watering, these orchids need to be planted in a pot that allows for proper draining.
Like any plant species, orchids grow best in conditions that closely match those to which the plants are adapted in nature. To bring about proper growth and development of the orchid, environmental conditions should be regulated to the plant’s needs. These include temperature, watering, use of fertilizers, light intensity, humidity, and repotting.
Optimum Temperature Range For Growing Orchids
Different species of orchids thrive well in different temperature ranges. Until the appearance of flowers spikes, generally, a temperature variation of 5 to 10 degrees in temperature at day and night benefits the plant. For common observation, species that develop well in cooler temperatures have thinner leaves than ones that require more heat and have thick fleshy leaves.
Lighting requirements for growing orchid, too, vary from one genus of orchid to another. Most orchids need shade rather than direct sunlight. Some orchids like Paphiopedilums and Phalaenopsis do well in moderately intense light. Others like Cymbidiums and Cattleyas require brighter light and respond better to more exposure to direct sunlight. In summer, about 60% shading is normally needed for most orchids.
Season of the year and the variety of the growing orchid are two main factors on which the watering requirements of the orchid plant depend. Monopodial orchids having no pseudo-bulbs require more frequent watering than Sympodial orchids which bear pseudo-bulbs. Rainwater is best to use, maintaining a room temperature. Always water when you see the medium of the plant is nearly dry. The moist character of the medium can also be checked with a wooden stick. Fertilizers Like most plants, orchids need fertilizing for healthy growt
h. Proportion of the fertilizer used varies according to the growing condition of the plant and the kind of soil mix used as medium. For an actively growing plant a 25-10-10 fertilizer will do better and when the flowering period comes, a 15-30-15 fertilizer is commendable. If a bark mix is being used, a 30-20-20 fertilizer is the best choice. For most other mediums 20-20-20 fertilizers prove effective.
It is important to consider the relative humidity while growing orchid plants in home or garden. Generally, orchids require high humidity in the environment. This amounts to about 70 % in daytime and 40 % in the night in summer season. In winter, a 50 % humidity value in the day and 30 % in the night best suit the plant. If your indoor growing orchid plant needs greater humidity, place the pot of the plant on a bed of gravel in water-filled container. Take care not to directly wet the pot. Alternatively, use a humidifier.
Repotting is needed if the medium is decomposed; the growing orchid has outgrown the pot; drainage is poor; or root rot is observed. A good potting medium usually decomposes slowly, lasting at least two years. It should be light and have small openings for aeration. Before repotting a growing orchid, remove the old mix; rinse the roots, cutting the rotten parts. Place the plant in shade and do not water until after three days. Instead, use a hand spray to moisten the mix.