Cattleya Orchid

Chris Abrahams

Cattleya Orchid

  • Scientific name: Cattleya Orchid
  • Common name:  Cattleya
  • Origin:  Costa Rica and Argentina
  • Orchid type : Epiphytic or lithophyte
  • Flowering:  Spring. Its flowers last between 1 and 3 weeks
  • Location:  Lots of light, even direct sun, but not the half-day
  • Irrigation:  By observation, when the substrate is dry. In winter you have to space the irrigations a lot
  • Humidity:  High 40% -70%
  • Level of difficulty:  Low

The Cattleya orchids long held the nickname “Reinas Orchids” . A bouquet of Cattleya flowers were indispensable in any special occasion. 
At the moment his reign has decayed enough. There are other varieties of orchids that are much more commercial and flower more profusely … than with larger flowers, because the Cattleya flower can measure up to 30 centimeters in diameter, a good record, do not you think? 
Its colors are also very striking, but it deserves special attention the labellum (lower lip of the orchid flower), which usually exhibits a different shape and coloration. We can find yellow or white flowers, with bright red lips, even sprinkled with spots of different colors. 
Sometimes the lip is the same color as the flower, this phenomenon is called Aquinii. 
Caring for and maintaining some Cattleya orchids at home is not too complicated, you’ll see, although first we’ll know a little more about the Cattleya:

Content Index

  • 1 Description Cattleya orchids
  • 2 Cattleya Orchid Species
    • 2.1 Orchids Cattleya Trianae
    • 2.2 Orchid Cattleya Labiata
    • 2.3 Cattleya Mossiae Orchids
    • 2.4 Maximum Cattleyas Orchid
  • 3 Cattleyas Orchids Hybrids
  • 4 Care of Cattleyas Orchids
    • 4.1 Light and shadow
    • 4.2 Temperature
    • 4.3 Movement
    • 4.4  Humidity
    • 4.5 Plant Irrigation
    • 4.6 Planting, Transplant and Repotting
    • 4.7 Fertilizers and Nutrients
Terms: Data: Observations:
Temperature Minimum of 12ºC; Maximum over 30ºC. During the day between 20 and 30ºC. Night between 13 and 15 (recommended).
Humidity Between 50 and 80% Allow the substrate to dry slightly between waterings. Frequent sprays It is advisable to place under the pot a container with ceramic balls or other with water to keep some moisture in the base of the pot.
Light It needs a lot of light. It tolerates some direct sun outside the central hours of higher radiation.  
fertilizer Add fertilizers (twice a month) in spring and summer.  
Substrate Base of pine or spruce bark mixed with vegetable fibers (moss or 30% coconut fiber).  
Others The drainage must be perfect since its roots need to dry between irrigations, although a certain environmental humidity must be maintained (frequent vaporizations).Increase waterings in summer with good ventilation. It also requires good ventilation. It is recommended to place tutors (wooden rods) to strengthen new shoots.

Characteristics Of Cattleya Orchid

Depending on the species, the pseudobulbs grow up to 90 cm in height and have the shape of both rod and cane, with 1 to 3 rigid and thick leaves that emerge from its end. .
There are two basic categories in the species: the labiata or monofoliada, which has only one leaf per pseudobulb, and the bifoliadas that have two and, occasionally, three. The monofoliada has from 2 to 6 large flowers with bright lips. For its part, the bifoliadas produce more flowers but smaller. The colors of these flowers are usually very bright, with very vivid and striking tones.

The Cattleya species has crossed extensively with other genera to produce different varieties of hybrids.

Cattleya orchids grow as epiphytic plants , on tree branches most of the time, although some varieties are lithophytes, spreading their roots on branches or on leaf litter. 
The stems of the Cattleya grow from a pseudobulb, which serves as an organ for storing moisture. 
These rhizomatous stems grow horizontally, generating new pseudobulbs, from which the stems and flowers appear (from 2 to 10 flowers per stem). The ancients will no longer flower. 
They flower only once a year, and their flowering lasts between one and three weeks , depending on the species.

As mentioned above is a broad genus that is why it is difficult to describe since each species has variations, however, you can know some characteristics that Cattleya Orchids have in common, the standard flower has three rather narrow sepals and three petals generally more wide, two of them are similar to each other and the third is the conspicuous lip which is quite different, at the base, the margins fold into a tube, they are epiphytic flowers .

The plant has pseudobulbs, each stem of the flower originates from a pseudobulb, they also have distic foliar leaves, which form a pendulous plant with frill forms and unifloral auxiliary inflorescences, in which the flower is on its back with a truncated appendix towards it. labelo the one that has an apicule.

The vegetative cycle of Cattleya is characterized by the presence of one or more rhizomatous stems that grow horizontally generating successive buds that rise forming new pseudobulbs and flowers, along with roots that penetrate the substrate. 
It is often said that the Cattleya are plants that walk precisely because of this characteristic of presenting a row of pseudobulbs in which the last one is the youngest and, therefore, the one that will generate new flowers, the ancients will no longer bloom.


The Catleyas Orchids are divided into two groups, the first of which is Cattleyas labiatas or unifoliate, usually found in South America, its flowers are large and broad petals, has a leaf that leaves the top of the pseudobulb, produce two or three flowers, lasting from 1 to 4 weeks.

These bloom twice a year, these Cattleya Labiata Orchids are very popular for their large flowers and among the best known species are Cattleya maximum, Cattleya dowiana, the orchid Cattleya trianae , orchid Cattleya mossiae , among others.

We also have birched cattleya Orchids , they are from Central America, they have small flowers in bouquets of twenty or even more flowers of intense and varied colors, even more penetrating than unifoliate orchids, also of better texture.

Cattleya Orchid Species

These orchids have a great variety to know them all is a complex work are 113 species and every so often grow more this because this orchid lends itself to both natural and intergeneric hybridization , however, you will know the most popular currently, remember that tomorrow you can meet other species, so this information about is updated.

Cattleya Trianae orchids

This plant has the finest flowers of all the uniformed cattleyas and the largest range of colors, has many lovely pastel shades and there are varieties with stripes, plumage in the petals and the most delicate and bright textures, Despite its delicate texture the species It lasts in bloom longer than any other Cattleya species.


The cattleya trianae orchid is a vigorous flower that grows twice a year one after the other and develops flowers on both occasions, it is quite resistant to putrefaction and manages the supercharging better than most Cattleya hybrids.

The Cattleya trianae orchid was first described by HG Reichenbach in the German botanical publication Botanische Zeitung in January 1860, but was discovered by European collectors 18 years earlier. The first to find it was the Belgian Jean Jules Linden, who found it in 1842 while traveling near Fusagasugá, in Colombia, but did not collect any plants.

Orchids Cattleya Labiata

The orchid Cattleya labiata , also known as Cattleya Crimson or Cattleya with Ruby Lips, is a species of Cattleya, discovered in 1818 in Brazil, this plant is developed in the northeastern area of ​​Brazil, in the states of Pernambuco and Alagoas, has different sizes depending on the area from which it originates.

Those that grow in Pernambuco are smaller, with small but colorful flowers , they are usually lilac, the interior fragment of the flower is a dark lilac color, meanwhile the Alagoas plants are larger and have flowers of larger, some varieties, such as Cattleya labiata var. Semialba, they have large white flowers with a touch of yellow, there is another variety with the color lilac at the bottom of the flower.


This plant is an epiphyte, grows on trees, where light is abundant, however, there are also many other places where this plant can be developed as directly on the rock with very little soil, the plant itself is a unifoliate sized Cattleya medium, with a tuber of medium size, the plant has long leaves, with a hard consistency due to the aridity in the treetops, also to the short dry season.

The plant has a pseudobulb under each leaf to store water and nutrients during the short dry season, in the wet season the new leaves grow rapidly, producing a large inflorescence, the flowers are white or lavender with a darker dot in the lip, the pollination is done by the insects, generally by a male bee that collects the perfumes this results in a capsule with a very large number of seeds between 10,000 to 20,000.

Orchids Cattleya Mossiae

Coming from the jungles of Venezuela and first described in 1836 by William Hooke , the Orchid Cattleya mossiaeis one of the most appreciated members of the genus, its immense popularity as a species is reflected in its status as the national flower of Venezuela, it was the third species of unified cattleya that came to Victorian England, and comes in a variety of color forms ranging from pure albas to dark purple.


Orchids Cattleya Mossiae

The Cultivation of cattleya orchids  mossiae is very easy, usually starts growing in late spring, after flowering, should receive plenty of light and water during the summer months, growth is completed in the fall, and the species rests during the winter, period during which the irrigation must be to the minimum, the warmest days of the spring to incite the appearance of flowers, the Cattleya mossiae was described by Hooker as “the most magnificent of all the orchid plants”, and anyone I have seen the species in bloom it would be very difficult not to agree.

Each flower of the orchid Cattleya mossiae on its stem takes 3 to 4 times more flowers, the color of the flower varies from pale pink to deep pink or pink-lilac, there are also bicolor and white, the lip is very tight color variant and there is always a central yellow mark that extends from the throat with a pronounced violet veil.

Cattleyas Maxima Orchid

This Cattleya orchid belongs to the subfamily Epidendroideae is an epiphytic species that grows in trees in dry forests between 100 to 1800 m altitude , from Venezuela to northern Peru, the variety of the altiplano grow on rocky slopes, has pseudobulbs in shape of stick, up to 39 cm or higher with a leaf at the top the total height of pseudobulb and the leaf is about 61 cm, this is prolonged or broadly rounded at the apex, light green, has 35 cm long and up to 6 cm wide, this is thick and fleshy , has an inflorescence stem up to 30 cm long, with 3 or 6 in highland varieties and 12 or 15 in lowland varieties.


The flowers are 12 to 15 cm wide , lilac colored or with petals of a pale pink tone, except the lip that has dark purple veins and a yellow area in the middle, has a closely elliptic dorsal sepal, also with elliptical lanceolatelateral sepals , the elliptic Petals have wavy margins, the bent lips form a tube, with the front edge curled and wavy, the column is slender and arched.

Cattleyas Orchids Hybrids

The  Cattleya Orchids  have hybridized both within the genus as other related for more than a century genres, but in recent decades has been a noticeable increase in both the quantity and quality of hybrids within the set of Cattleya, the most Popular are the Brassolaeliocattleya (Blc.) and Sophrolaeliocattleya (Slc.) hybrids , the vast majority of the Blc. have recently moved to the new species nothogenus Rhyncholaeliocattleya (Rlc.).


There is also the genus Laelia (L.), the breeding with this genus refines the lip of the orchid, producing a more elongated and closed cone that opens gracefully in the full lip of the flower, some species of Laelia also provide an intense shadow violet, the Laelia plus Cattleya results in Laeliocattleya, which is the basis for many more complex and highly popular hybrids, most of the Laelia species merged with Cattleya in the first decade of the third millennium, after a brief stay in Sophronitis .

With the cattleya orchid , hybrids are made that are called Brassavola (B.), Most crosses with Brassavola are actually made with Rybcholaelia digbyana , which was moved out of the Brassavola genus, but was still considered as such when naming the hybrid for many years, this crossing is made in order to make the fabulous lip ruffled or curled flower, it also expands the lip of the flower and the most impressive hybrids of Cattleya almost always have this species in their ancestry.

These are generally the largest of the main cattleya hybrids, the Brassavola plus Cattleya results in Brassocattleyaand the Brassavola plus Laelia plus Cattleya is termed Brassolaeliocattleya , the majority, but not all of these hybrids are currently placed in Rhyncholaeliocattleya.

Sophronitis (Soph.) Is a tiny red Cattleyas Orchid that introduces the most intense red color to its descendants, many caribbean and scarlet cattleya hybrids abandon sophronitis in their ancestry, this Sophronitis is also used to miniaturize cattleya hybrids.

The Sophronitis plus Laelia plus Cattleya gives the species Sophrolaeliocattleya , the Sophronitis was recently merged with the Cattleya, after being extended to include most of the Laelia species.

The Potinara (Pot.) Is the combination of the three of the above with a Cattleya, the Potinaras are not as popular as Blc or Slc, but there are some incredible specimens that come in all color ranges from light green to magenta, without However it is not a rule, they are generally smaller than Blc but larger than Slc, the recent fusion of Sophronitis with the Cattleya orchid extinguished the nothogenus species Potinara, most of the previous Potinaras are now in the nothogenus Rhyncholaeliocattleya (Rlc.)


Yamadara (Yam.), Is the crossing of a combination of Blc with an Epidendrum , The addition of Epidendrum seems to increase the yield of the flower and some Yamadaras are intensely colored, with the recent discovery of the first Yamadara was recorded as Adamara, the epithet Nohogenic Yamadara has been extinguished and replaced by Adamara.

Hawkinsara (Hknsa.) The combination of Slc was crossed with Broughtonia, which are smaller flowers, often magenta or reddish, many of these are now classified in the nothogenus Cattleytonia (Ctna.), Hybridization can reach up to eight genera parents


Care of Cattleyas Orchids

According to expert gardeners, with proper care a Cattleya orchid can live for many years, flourishing year after year. 
To achieve this, it is necessary to take into account several basic environmental factors, such as the light they have to receive, the risks, the substrate, etc. To these details that we could call general, the specific ones of the species are united, although they are not too many, 100 different species of Cattleya are counted , to which we must add the Cattleya hybrids. 

Orchids are among the most beautiful and unusual flowers in the world, have been used for religious ceremonies and decorative purposes for hundreds of years, the climate for Cattleya orchid cultivation  of the coasts is the ideal climate, however, with the ideal care can be developed in another type of climate, learn in this part of the post how to cultivate and care from home your Cattleya orchids, also these tips apply to other rare orchids:

An adult plant is mature enough to flower between four to seven years after planting the seed, if it has never bloomed before, or longer if it has flourished in the past, with due attention, a Cattleya plant It can be grown indefinitely and it can flourish year after year, the proper care depends on a few basic factors, each influenced by the others, these are light and shade, temperature, air movement, humidity, irrigation, packaging and packaging medium and food.

Environmental factors vary from one place to another and each plant will differ in their requirements according to their type and to a lesser degree their individual condition, the essential of good growth is to achieve a happy balance of all the factors in relation to each plant, this is not too difficult, but requires knowledge, understanding and careful observation by the producer.

The basic culture conditions of Cattleya are the following:

Light and Illumination

To grow well and bloom consistently, Cattleya orchids require a fair amount of light with approximately 65 to 70% shade, although they will tolerate much more light if accompanied by sufficient moisture and air movement to keep the leaf temperature low.

Natural light varies according to weather, season, time of day and geographical location, therefore, for the northernmost areas of the world, a good amount of light will mean as much light as possible on your part in the late autumn. and in the winter, the plant should be placed in light shade.

For the southernmost areas, shading will be necessary throughout the year , shading may be an opaque coating painted or sprayed on the outside of a glasshouse, a solid material, such as lath, shade cloth these materials are commercially available , these must be translucent or semi-translucent such as plastic sheets or fiberglass panels and shear curtain.

The cattleya orchid  that receives very little light can be recognized by the dark green color rich in its foliage and the failure it has to flower, the cattleyas that receive an adequate balance of light, humidity and temperature will have yellow leaves with greenish hue, too much light will make the leaves more yellow than green, will give them an opaque appearance or burn black areas on the upper surfaces of the leaves facing the sun.

The Cattleya orchid needs to be located in a place where it receives a lot of light, it can even receive direct sunlight, as long as it is not the mid-day one. 
If the environment is very warm, with high temperatures, we must provide the plant with sufficient environmental humidity, as well as a good air renewal, so that the temperature does not concentrate excessively on the leaves. 
We have to think that “a lot of light” is not the same depending on our location, and if we live in an area with a lot of sun throughout the year, it may be necessary to shade the sun that the Cattleya receives. 
If we place it in a window facing south, where it receives the sun from noon to evening,It is essential that you have a good supply of moisture and that there is a good air renewal. 
We can detect that the illumination is insufficient, if we observe that the leaves have a dark green color and do not flower. 
A Cattleya orchid with good lighting, along with adequate temperature and humidity, has to have bright greenish-yellow leaves. 
Too much illumination will cause the opposite effect of insufficient illumination, the leaves will take on a yellowish and opaque color, even black spots will appear produced by the burns.

The best place in the house to locate this orchid is the south or east, west or slightly in the shade in a window where the light is bright but there is no direct sun. Direct sunlight for long periods of time can cause burns on the leaves of most orchids including this species.

While the leaves are not damaged they can receive enough light that nothing will happen to them. Living rooms, window poietes or a covered porch are also good places to grow. Enough light is important for healthy growth and flower production. In a greenhouse, you should give them between 30% and 50% direct sunlight. If you are going to use fluorescent tube lights these should have about 40W of power and place them directly on the plants. The plants must be erect naturally, without the need to stalk a lot and of an olive green color. The leaves of soft color or dark green indicate little light.


The Cattleya grow well in the domestic environment, with minimum night temperatures of about 12ºC. and daytime maximums above 30ºC. It needs a humidity between 50 and 80%. Location in bright area, even with some sun (except midday). 

Although Cattleya orchids  come from the tropics where sunlight is hot and intense, most species are found at fairly high altitudes where the air is cool and humid, particularly in the morning and at night, which is why the home or in greenhouse cultivation, the objective is to provide maximum sunlight without excessive temperature, In winter the daytime temperature should range between approximately 15 ° to 21 ° C , at night a temperature set at 12 ° C is necessary.

In the summer, a nighttime temperature of 15 ° to 18 ° C is desirable, while the daytime temperature ideally should vary from 1 8 ° to 23 ° C , but a limit of 29 ° C, is more realistic, these orchids they will resist higher temperatures, even above 37 ° C, but prolonged exposure will be harmful to the plant, at temperatures above 32 ° C, plants can not transport calcium into their tissues.

Under these conditions, the plants are susceptible to the decomposition of the tips of the leaves in the young specimens in development, the mature leaves are not affected making the problem easy to diagnose, the high humidity and the good movement of the air will help compensate for the excessive temperature of the day.

The temperature to which the orchids are subjected is not always taken into account and can be a determining factor to obtain good results. 
In their place of origin, they receive a good insolation, but the air that circulates is fresh and humid. At home we should try to imitate this situation, good lighting, high humidity, but not too hot.

  • In the winter the temperature during the day should oscillate between 15ºC and 20ºC, while at night the temperature should not drop below 12ºC.
  • For the summer, the night temperature should not go from 15ºC to 20ºC, while during the day we have to ensure that the temperature does not exceed 30ºC, although a milder temperature would be desirable.

One way to compensate that the temperature is too high, we get it with a good humidity and moving the air around the plant.


In climates where natural humidity is high , simple ventilation is practical, but in many areas where natural humidity is low and temperature is high, ventilation can be destructive by draining moisture in the growing area, drying plants and slowing down growth, in these climates ultrasonic humidifiers and fans set at low speeds are a good proposal and in greenhouses evaporative coolers.

The fans must operate continuously since the movement of the air at night is hardly strong, the fan must provide a light floating atmosphere, in small greenhouses it benefits from the installation of good fans or blowers strategically placed to circulate the air throughout the house , this keeps the humidity, the moving air keeps the temperature of the leaf low and helps to avoid the stratification of cold humid air under the banks.

The Cattleya orchid develops best when the humidity oscillates between 40% and 70% , the humidity as a rule is higher at night and lower during the afternoon, therefore, except in the areas where the natural humidity is quite high, or During cold, cloudy or rainy weather, it is important to add humidity to the growing environment, especially during the day.

This can be achieved in several ways, for small collections grown under lights, moisture trays can be enough, these trays are nothing more than a tray containing water filled with small gravel, trays filled with gravel fill with water until a level below the surface, to prevent the plants from sitting on constantly wet gravel the plants are placed in small saucers or pieces of plastic or metal grid placed on top of the trays.

Where natural humidity is high or where humidification maintains a high degree of humidity, increased air movement is essential to prevent stagnant air and the development of diseases, good ventilation or the use of fans is recommended.

Cattleya develop best with an environmental humidity of between 40% and 70%. These humidity needs force us to add humidity to the environment, especially during the day. 
A simple way to get adequate moisture, is to use the trays with water under the orchids,protecting the roots so they are not in direct contact with the water. 
If our climate is very hot, they will appreciate that we spray the plant with an aerosol. One way to ensure a constant humidity is to use a humidifier. 
This natural or artificial environmental humidity must be accompanied by good ventilation, to achieve that natural “fresh environment” of its place of origin.
Some gardeners use fans, away from the plants so that the air does not give them directly, as it could cause the roots to dry out.

Water and Irrigation Of The Cattleya Orchid

Inadequate irrigation leads to the death of Cattleya orchids, there are two aspects of proper irrigation to consider when and how, if we summarize the cattleyas should be watered only after the soil base has dried, the frequency of irrigation It will vary from once a week, which is a good starting point, remembering that some factors accelerate the drying of the plant, others slow it down.

A lot of sun, heat, good air movement, active growth, a large plant in a small pot, low humidity, the type of formwork medium such as bark, gravel, pieces of tree fern, among others, wind and the like all contribute to faster drying and, consequently, to a greater frequency of water.

On the contrary, high humidity, dark, cold, cloudy or rainy weather, large pots, inactive plants, tight packing medium, little air movement and similar circumstances will  slow down the drying process and frequency of watering , keep in mind that some of these factors affect the entire collection of flowers, be they exotic orchids or carnations.

The Cattleya are watered when the substrate of the pots has dried, it is not convenient to water before, since what the orchids do not support is to keep the roots moist. 
As a rule, we can establish that a weekly watering is sufficient, although we must take into account that there will be environmental factors that dry the substrate before (summer heat, ventilation), or that delay this process, such as we are in the middle of winter or it rains . 
In all orchids we must have a basic rule, it is better to sin for having watered a little, than for watering a lot. In this sense, if we have doubts, it is better to wait and space the irrigation.
To irrigate, we can use all kinds of systems, from watering with a sprinkler over the substrate or submerging the plant in water. 
The most advisable for hygiene, is to water with a shower in the sink of house or under the tap. Once the plant has been well soaked, we will let all the excess water drain, to replace it in its usual place.

Adult Cattleya substrate should be dried between waterings. Young plants need more constant humidity. Water these orchids when their substrate mixture is dry, or when you notice that it is not very humid if the plant is in flower. They like to dry relatively quickly, so use a mixture that drains water well and does not hold too much moisture. The medium or thick bark of spruce works well. Some people use a means of moisture retention such as Sphagnum moss, but always in a pot.

Substrate, Planting, Transplant, And Repotting

This type of orchid is naturally epiphytic and can be grown in a pot, basket or mounted on top of a bark.

If you plant in pots, it is best to use a compost that is open or bark with 1/4 of Sphagnum peat. This will allow you to have a quick drain.

If the pot or flowerpot is small you have to change the orchid to a larger one, this is usually done every year and 2 years depending on the size of the plant. To change the pot it is necessary that you do it in spring as growth begins.

If it is grown in baskets or in bark, then the orchid can be left for two to three years or until you see it protrude from all sides, then it will be necessary to change it from the basket.

Now, let´s discuss the substrate.

To change the substrate of the Cattleya we will use those recommended for orchids, consisting of pine bark in most cases. 
In the market we can find all kinds of substrates, with coconut shell, lava rock, polystyrene, cork, even moss. 
The important thing is that they are lightweight and are able to retain some of the moisture and nutrients. 
The Cattleya should be transplanted every two or three years, mainly to renew the substrate, although it may also be convenient due to the size that the plants acquire. 
When we perform the process, we must eliminate all those damaged roots. To do this we must sterilize the scissors, and if the cut is large, we must cauterize with charcoal or cinnamon powder.
Unlike other orchids, the ideal pot for the Cattleya are mud pots, because the water evaporates more quickly and are the ideal conditions for Cattleya roots

The type of basic substrate you need is pine or spruce bark, osmunda, peat and also polystyrene can be added. The drainage must be perfect since its roots need to dry between irrigations, although a certain environmental humidity must be maintained (frequent vaporizations). Increase waterings in summer with good ventilation. Add fertilizers (twice a month) in spring and summer. In winter keep the substrate barely humid.
Also note that they need a period of rest normally between October and April. During this time the plant does not grow and we will have to reduce the risks.

The most common substrate means are based more or less on bark of expanded pellets of clay and lava rock may be better options in hot very humid areas of the country, the choice is predominantly personal and based on what gives good results for the grower.

To plant a Cattleya plant, it must first be cleaned of old roots, decaying medium and debris, the new formwork medium must be moistened before use if possible, this is again more or less a personal choice, but to soak The packaging medium before use helps reduce the amount of dust and it is easier for beginners to determine when to water when they start with wet media.

Select a pot of sufficient size to allow two years of growth, for drainage to make holes in the pot broken pots, place the plant by the bottom of the root that is about ½ inch below the edge of the pot with the most old plant against the edge of the boat.

Nutrients And Fertilizers

The Cattleya orchid tolerates moderate fertilizer use and one that can be used for all orchids in general. It can be applied from April to September in ¼ of the package recommendation. Fertilize these plants every third irrigation.

Wash the pot or basket once a month with clean water to remove residues and plant salts that the plant does not use and that can accumulate in the compost and damage the roots.

During the end of August until September you can irrigate with a fertilizer higher in potash and again with the proportion ¼ and every third irrigation. With this we will get the new leaves prepared to withstand the darkest and coldest months of winter.

Fertilization should stop at the end of October and no more should be given until the winter ends (Feb / Mar). From that moment we can resume the fertilization cycle previously mentioned.

Contrary to what they want us to believe, orchids can spend several years without needing fertilizers, however “if that is true” that if we fertilize them we will have healthier plants and more spectacular blooms. 
A suitable fertilizer for Cattleya orchids should have a composition 20-20-20 (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus), if the substrate is bark, it is recommended that the composition be richer in nitrogen (30-10-10), because When the bark decomposes, the process consumes a lot of nitrogen. 
A subscriber calendar can be established, ideally every two weeks during the growing season, and then once a month will be sufficient.

Cattleyas, like other orchids, are capable of growing and even flowering for several years without fertilizer, however, they will do better with a nutrient regime suitable for cattleyas in a bark medium, a formula with a high nitrogen content has been recommended. 10-30-10, but current research indicates that this high nitrogen is unnecessary and can accelerate the decomposition of the formwork medium especially in hot and humid areas.

A better option would be a urea-free lower nitrogen formulation such as 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 used in diluted solution 1/4 to ½ of the recommended concentration during active growth, to avoid salt accumulation in the formwork medium, the pots should be rinsed with running water between fertilizer applications.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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