How to Grow and Care for Cattleya Orchids Indoors


Cattleya Orchid, Corsage Orchid, Catts

Botanical name: Cattleya spp
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae
Common name: Catts, Corsage Orchid

Description

Cattleya Orchids commonly referred to as Catts or Corsage Orchid are popular easy to grow orchids whose large and colorful blooms can last for weeks.

The leaves in Cattleya Orchids are a vibrant green (light yellow-green) and they grow from the top of a pseudobulb.

Corsage Orchids stems are tall and smooth, and the leaves are fleshy with a smooth margin.

Catts are sympodial orchids which bear a cylindrical rhizome from which the fleshy noodle-like roots grow.

The genus was named in 1824 by John Lindley (an English botanist, gardener and orchidologist) after William Cattley (a British merchant and horticulturalist), who was significantly involved with the trade between Britain and Russia. The genus is abbreviated C in trade journals.

Flower

The blooms in Cattleya Orchids occur in clusters of 2-6 flowers. Flowers have sepals and petals free from each other and the lowermost petal (the lip) is usually a different coloration and shape from the rest of the flower.

With good care, Catts can bloom twice a year. Most of the Corsage Orchids available are hybrids. Pink, white, red, purple, blue and yellow flowered varieties are available.

Origin

Cattleya is a genus of orchids native to tropics of Costa Rica south to Argentina, where they thrive in warm and misty conditions.

Related Genera

Catts are closely related to the genera Brassavola and Laelia with which they have been used extensively in hybridization.

Where to buy

If you are looking to add this beauty to your collection, various Cattleya Orchids are available online at Etsy. Buy Cattleya Orchids (Corsage Orchids) online from Etsy.

Cattleya Orchid, Corsage Orchid, Catts

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Cattleya Orchid Care Indoors

Cattleya Orchids (Corsage Orchids) require bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, loose soil coupled with regular feeding inorder to thrive.

Catts also need regular pruning to keep them neat and tidy and also promote blooming. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Cattleya Orchid grow best in bright, indirect light for about 10 hours per day. Keep it away from direct sunshine to avoid sun scorch on the leaves. It can also grow under a grow light where natural lighting is inadequate.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the orchid gets adequate light on all sides for even growth.

A Cattleya Orchid that is receiving the right amount of light has yellow-green upright leaves while dark green leaves indicate that the orchid needs more light.

Yellow (more yellow than green) leaves mean that the Corsage Orchid is receiving too much light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Cattleya Orchid thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

To take the guesswork out of watering Catts, check the roots. Whitish-green and plump roots indicate that the orchid is well hydrated. Whitish, thin roots indicate the orchid needs to be watered.

Use tepid, chlorine-free water as Catts are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Avoid wetting the foliage as it can lead to fungal diseases.

Corsage Orchids are more tolerant of dry soil conditions due to the presence of pseudobulbs and their thick leaves.

As such take care not to overwater as it may begin to rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperatures for growing Cattleya Orchid indoors are between 10-290C. Warmer days and cooler night temperatures with a difference of 10-150C are ideal for this orchid. The cool nights are essential to trigger flowering.

Ensure there is good air circulation for Catts as they cannot tolerate hot and stuffy conditions.

Keep the Corsage Orchid away from draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Moderate humidity is ideal for Cattleya Orchids. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.

Do not mist the leaves as it can lead to fungal diseases. Check out these techniques on how to raise raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Cattleya Orchid every 4 weeks during the growing season with an orchid's fertilizer as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Do not feed an orchid that is in flower.

It is better to err on the side of underfeeding than overfeeding as overfeeding may result in loss of roots thus death of the orchid.

Overfeeding can also lead to vegetative growth instead of flower production. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Cattleya Orchids bloom best when they are pot-bound. Repot only when growth begins to suffer.

Repot when the orchid has outgrown its pot and the new growth reaches out over the edge of the pot or when the soil has broken down completely.

Basically repotting Cattleya Orchids every 2-3 years should be adequate.

Repot Catts only when new growth begins, shortly after blooming is over. Do not repot an orchid that is in flower as it may shorten the flowering season.

Use a pot with proper drainage holes or slits as the roots of the orchid need good air circulation.

The pot should be only 1 size larger than the current one and use loose, free-draining bark soil to avoid getting soggy soil.

When repotting, shake off excess soil and trim off any dried and shrivelled pseudobulbs. The large orchids can be divided to propagate new plants.

Pruning

Pruning Cattleya Orchids is easy. Remove dead and diseased leaves by cutting them at the base with sharp scissors or a knife. When flowering is over, cut the flower stalk 1 in. above the 3rd node from the bottom.

Propagation

Cattleya Orchids (Corsage Orchids) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season once flowering is over from the rhizome.

How to propagate Cattleya Orchid from the rhizome

Gently split the Cattleya Orchid rhizome into sections while ensuring there are at least 3 shoots on each section.

Seperate the roots attached to each division from the mother root-ball.

Remove the old potting soil attached to the section roots and place each section in the center of the pot.

Bury the roots of the section in the soil while ensuring that the bottom of the pseudobulb is level with the top of the soil.

The best pot for the section should be about 1-2 in. larger than the pseudobulb.

Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes and slits to prevent root-rot for the section.

Place the set up in a warm. well-lit place until sections have established their own roots.

Water the new Corsage Orchids lightly to enhance root development. Stake each newly repotted plant.

Cattleya Orchid, Corsage Orchid, Catts

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Cattleya Orchid Problems Indoors

Cattleya Orchid (Corsage Orchid) problems indoors include black leaf tips and edges, yellow leaves, drooping leaves, leaf spots, lack of blooms among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown soft spots on the leaves

Brown soft spots on Cattleya Orchid leaves are an indication of a fungal disease. Remove the affected leaves immediately to prevent further spread.

Brown hard and dry leaf spots

Exposure of Cattleya Orchid to direct sunshine will result in scorch marks which are brown hard and dry spots on the leaves. Move it to a shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunshine to prevent sunscorch.

Mold on the leaves

This is an indication of Powdery Mildew Disease in Cattleya Orchid.

Misting the leaves may lead to mildew growth if the water does not evaporate quickly. Ensure good air circulation for the Cattleya Orchid and stop misting it.

Limpy and droopy leaves

Limpy and droopy leaves in Cattleya Orchid are caused by underwatering. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Water Corsage Orchid thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.

Cut down on watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Dark-green leaves

Dark green leaves in Cattleya Orchid indicate that the orchid is not getting enough light. The leaves of a Catt that is receiving the correct light should be yellow-green.

Move the orchid to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Yellowish leaves

Yellowish leaves in Cattleya Orchid indicate that the orchid is getting too much light. The leaves of a Catt that is receiving the correct light should be yellow-green.

Move the Corsage Orchid to a shadier spot and ensure it will receive bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or too much light.

Black and dying leaf tips

The cause of black leaf tips in Cattleya Orchid is the presence of chemicals like chlorine and flourides in the water or accumulation of salts in the soil.

Use chlorine-free water only to water the Corsage Orchid and flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil for about 10 minutes until it comes out through the drainage holes.

No blooms

One possible reason why Cattleya Orchid is not blooming is too little light. Move the orchid to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Overfeeding Catts can result in vegetative growth at the expense of flowers production. Avoid overfeeding. Feed the orchid once monthly with an orchid's fertilizer as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Is Cattleya Orchid toxic?

Cattleya Orchids (Corsage Orchids) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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