Orchid Care - Cattleya

Cattleya Orchids

Blooming - Cattleya blooms are generally large and fragrant. The average flowering period for these orchids is between three and six weeks. Be sure to water your Cattleya orchid more often just before it blooms and while it is blooming. The blooms will drop when the flowering period is over.

Watering - Water once a week by saturating the plant; allow the water to drain completely and do not allow it to sit in water for any period of time. Allow the orchid to dry out completely between watering--water only when the potting medium feels dry to the bottom of the pot.

Lighting - Cattleyas like abundant though not intense light and early morning sun is critical for these plants to bloom. Therefore, place your Cattleya by a west or south window with light shading, such as a sheer curtain from the middle of February through the end of October to achieve the best flowering results.

Temperature - Cattleyas thrive in warmer day temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F, but in order to promote growth and initiate flower buds, night temperatures should be reduced by at least ten degrees to between 60 and 64 degrees F. Cattleyas can be grown outside in the summer months from late June to late fall as long as there is filtered light--direct sunlight will burn its leaves.

Fertilizing - In the summer, Cattleya orchids that are potted in fir bark should be fertilized every second watering with a half-strength solution of 20-10-20 fertilizer. In the winter, reduce fertilization to every three or four weeks for best results.

Repotting - One of the best potting mediums for Cattleyas is medium grade fir bark. In general, repotting of your Cattleya only needs to be done once every two years in the spring time. You only need to repot your Cattleya orchid if the plant has outgrown its current pot and the new growth is growing over the edge, or when the potting medium has broken down. Choose a new pot to replant your orchid in that will accommodate two or three years growth (approximately one to two new pseudobulbs per year).

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