Group : Cattleya
Covers these genera : Arpophyllum (Arpphy.) , Barkeria (Bark.) , Brassavola (B.) , Brassocattleya (Bc.) , Brassoepidendrum (Bepi.) , Brassolaelia (Bl.) , Brassolaeliocattleya (Blc.) , Broughtonia (Bro.) , Catcylaelia (Ctyl.) , Cattleya (C.) , Cattleytonia (Ctna.) , Catyclia (Cty.) , Caularthron (Cau.) , Caulocattleya (Clty.) , Cookara (Cook.) , Diacattleya (Diaca.) , Diacrium (Diacm.) , Dialaelia (Dial.) , Dimeranda (Dim.) , Encyclia (Enc.) , Epicattleya (Epc.) , Epicyclia (Epy.) , Epidendrum (Epi.) , Epilaelia (Epl.) , Epilaeliocattleya (Eplc.) , Epiphronitis (Ephs.) , Gerberara (Gba.) , Hasegawaara (Hasgw.) , Hawkinsara (Hknsa.) , Isabelia (Isbla.) , Iwanagaara (Iwan.) , Kirchara (Kir.) , Laelia (L.) , Laeliocatonia (Lctna.) , Laeliocattleya (Lc.) , Leptotes (Lpt.) , Lyonara (Lyon.) , Maclemoreara (Mclmra.) , Myrmecatlaelia (Mycl.) , Nageliella (Ngl.) , Nanodes (Nands.) , Oerstedella (Orstdl.) , Otaara (Otr.) , Potinara (Pot.) , Rhyncholaelia (Rl.) , Rothara (Roth.) , Scaphyglottis (Scgl.) , Schombocatonia (Smbcna.) , Schombolaelia (Smbl.) , Schombolaeliocattleya (Scl.) , Schomburgkia (Schom.) , Sophrocattleya (Sc.) , Sophrolaelia (Sl.) , Sophrolaeliocattleya (Slc.) , Sophronitis (S.) , Stanfieldara (Sfdra.) , Yamadaara (Yam.)

Introduction :
This group of plants represents a major reason for the popularization of orchids. Cattleyas are, and probably always will remain, the favorites for corsages. Many of the species and hybrids produce intoxicating sweet or spicy fragrances. Coupled with their outstanding beauty, this secures their continued popularity amongst orchid hobbyists.

Plant Size Terminology :
Cattleyas are usually referred to according to their plant sizes. These are the categories and criteria that are used (excluding bloom spikes) :
Micro-Mini : under 2 inches in height
Mini : 2 inches to 6 inches in height
Compact : 6 inches to 10 inches in height
Mid-sized (aka Intermediate) : 10 inches to 18 inches in height
Standard : over 18 up to 30 or more inches in height

Subgroup : Cattleya

Covers these genera : Brassocattleya (Bc.) , Brassoepidendrum (Bepi.) , Brassolaelia (Bl.) , Brassolaeliocattleya (Blc.) , Broughtonia (Bro.) , Catcylaelia (Ctyl.) , Cattleya (C.) , Cattleytonia (Ctna.) , Catyclia (Cty.) , Caularthron (Cau.) , Caulocattleya (Clty.) , Cookara (Cook.) , Diacattleya (Diaca.) , Diacrium (Diacm.) , Dialaelia (Dial.) , Encyclia (Enc.) , Epicattleya (Epc.) , Epicyclia (Epy.) , Epilaelia (Epl.) , Epilaeliocattleya (Eplc.) , Epiphronitis (Ephs.) , Gerberara (Gba.) , Hasegawaara (Hasgw.) , Hawkinsara (Hknsa.) , Iwanagaara (Iwan.) , Kirchara (Kir.) , Laelia (L.) , Laeliocatonia (Lctna.) , Laeliocattleya (Lc.) , Lyonara (Lyon.) , Maclemoreara (Mclmra.) , Myrmecatlaelia (Mycl.) , Otaara (Otr.) , Potinara (Pot.) , Rhyncholaelia (Rl.) , Rothara (Roth.) , Scaphyglottis (Scgl.) , Schombocatonia (Smbcna.) , Schombolaelia (Smbl.) , Schombolaeliocattleya (Scl.) , Schomburgkia (Schom.) , Sophrocattleya (Sc.) , Sophrolaelia (Sl.) , Sophrolaeliocattleya (Slc.) , Stanfieldara (Sfdra.) , Yamadaara (Yam.)

Light :
Cattleya plants need a good amount of light to grow and flower well. A good guide to whether or not a plant is getting the proper light is the colour of the leaves. They should be a medium green, rather than a dark lush green. The pseudobulbs should be straight and upright, without needing support. Micro-mini and Mini types typically require less light, and can be grown very well under fluorescent lights, an average east or west window or filtered south window. Compact, mid-sized and standard catts may require more light to bloom, particularly if they are unifoliate. Unifoliate means that they never have more than one large leaf at the top of the pseudobulbs. Bifoliates (2 or more leaves at the top) have a lower light requirement. If you find that your larger cattleyas aren't blooming, then try a brighter east or west window, or less filtered south window. You might also verify that your fertilizer does not contain too much nitrogen, which could suppress blooming.

Green-flowered and blue cattleyas will produce nicer-colored flowers if they are kept out of strong light while blooming. Higher light levels tend to really muddy the clarity of these specific colors.

Temperature :
The best temperature range for growth and flowering is 27 ° C during the day, and 16 ° C at night. However, these plants are very resilient and can tolerate a wider range of temperatures if the humidity and watering are adjusted. A good rule of thumb is to increase humidity and watering at higher temperatures, and reduce both of them at lower temperatures. Lower temperatures will give brighter and more uniform coloration of the orange and red mini-catts, because of the Sophronitis in their backgrounds. At higher temperatures, especially night temperatures, your red cattleya could produce blooms that are more orange in coloration.

Media :
Allow to dry for 1 day between waterings. One thorough watering per week is usually sufficient. Plants prefer to be underpotted. Make sure the potting mixture is free-draining, and choose pots that are wider than they are deep. This group are not deep rooters, but are definitely lateral rooters. Recommended potting mixes are bark mixes, small in small pots, and layered coarse and small in larger pots.

Water :
Cattleya plants have evolved water storage organs, called pseudobulbs to withstand periodic droughts in their native habitats. For this reason, it is recommended that plants in cultivation be allowed to go nearly dry between waterings. Mature plants generally need to be watered about once per week, smaller plants perhaps every 4-5 days during most of the year. At cooler times of the year, plants may be left a little longer between waterings. When in doubt, wait a day to water. Always water thoroughly, allowing water to drain well through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

This group can withstand a certain degree of hardness to the water, so in most cases city water is fine. Rainwater and dehumidifier water are also fine. If you only have well-water at your disposal, then mix it with equal parts of rainwater or distilled water. NEVER use softened water.

Fertilizing :
Use a balanced orchid fertilizer (3:1:3 or 4:1:4 ratio) at 1/4 to 1/2 strength, throughout the entire active growing period. If you are using good quality city water, then fertilize once per 3 weeks at the most, using 1/4 of the recommended strength on the label. If you use rainwater or distilled water, then this can be increased to once every 2 weeks at the most. Only fertilize during active growth periods to avoid burning the roots. Usually this is from February to September inclusive. Make sure to flush the pots every month at least, using distilled or rain water in copious amounts to remove any accumulated salts. Well-water must be diluted by at least half by adding distilled or rain water to limit damage caused by excessive minerals. NEVER use softened or bottled water.

Blooming :
Cattleyas usually blooming on each new growth if they are mature enough. Blooming is entirely dependent on the species in the background, as each species has its own particular blooming season and corresponding triggers to induce blooming.

Our Plants :
The seedlings that we sell in 2.5 inch pots are usually potted in sphagnum moss, which accelerates their growth at this size. Watering once per week is usually adequate, ensuring that the moss feels somewhat dry before applying water. Leave them in this mix for about a year. The plant will likely be to the edge of the pot, or slightly over the edge by this point. Then graduate the pot size up to a 3 inch pot and small bark mix. Either pre-wet the bark, or drench thoroughly after repotting. For pot sizes 4 inches and larger we usually use coarser bark mix for the bottom half of the pot and top it off with smaller bark mix to increase moisture retention and humidity for the root mass.

Subgroup : Arpophyllum

Covers these genera : Arpophyllum (Arpphy.)

Description : Strap-leaved plants that produce lovely packed sprays of purple flowers that are very similar to Liatris or Lythrum.

Same as for Cattleya, except :

  • Treat more like a standard unifoliate cattleya.
  • Can tolerate and adapt to cooler end of intermediate temperatures.

  • Subgroup : Cane or Reed Types

    Covers these genera : Dimeranda (Dim.) , Epidendrum (Epi.) , Oerstedella (Orstdl.)

    Description : Plants have thickened cane-like stems instead of pseudobulbs. Most readily produce keikis at the leaf-axils. Epidendrums in particular are often used as hedges in warmer climates.

    Same as for Cattleya, except :

  • Plants must have good drainage to maintain a healthy root system.
  • Most produce "heads" of flowers that can sequentially open over a long period.

  • Subgroup : Mounted Types

    Covers these genera : Barkeria (Bark.) , Brassavola (B.) , Isabelia (Isbla.) , Leptotes (Lpt.) , Nageliella (Ngl.) , Nanodes (Nands.) , Sophronitis (S.)

    Description : Contains the majority of micro-mini and miniature species and hybrids. Best mounts are cork and treefern.

    Same as for Cattleya, except :

  • Excellent candidates for terrariums in the mid to upper levels.
  • Prefer higher humidity.

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