How to grow and care for Cattleya Orchid Indoors

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Cattleya Orchid Care, Corsage Orchid Care, Catts Care

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

Cattleya Orchid Description

Cattleya Orchids commonly referred to as Catts or Corsage Orchid are popular easy to grow indoor 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.

The Cattleya 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.

Cattleya Orchid 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, Cattleya Orchids can bloom twice a year. Most of the Cattleya Orchids available are hybrids. Pink, white, red, purple, blue and yellow flowered varieties are available.

Cattleya Orchid Origin

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

Cattleya Orchid Related Genera

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

Cattleya Orchid Care, Corsage Orchid Care, Catts Care

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Cattleya Orchid Care Indoors

Cattleya Orchid Light Requirements

The best light for growing your Cattleya Orchid indoors is bright, indirect light for about 10 hours per day.

Keep your Cattleya Orchid away from direct sunshine to avoid sun scorch on the leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure your Cattleya Orchid gets adequate light on all sides.

A Cattleya Orchid that is receiving the right amount of light has yellow-green upright leaves.

Dark green leaves indicate that your Cattleya Orchid needs more light.

Yellow (more yellow than green) leaves means your Cattleya Orchid is receiving too much light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Cattleya Orchid

Water Cattleya Orchid thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering for Cattleya Orchid during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

To take the guesswork out of watering your Cattleya Orchid, check the roots.

Whitish-green and plump roots indicate that your Cattleya Orchid is well hydrated.

Whitish, thin roots indicate your Cattleya Orchid needs to be watered.

Use tepid, chlorine-free water as Cattleya Orchids are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water.

Avoid wetting the foliage of your Cattleya Orchid as it can lead to fungal diseases.

Cattleya 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 your Cattleya Orchid as it may begin to rot. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Cattleya Orchid

The best temperatures for growing your Cattleya Orchid indoors are between 10-290C.

Warmer days and cooler night temperatures with a difference of 10-150C are ideal for Cattleya Orchid. The cool nights are essential to trigger flowering.

Ensure there is good air circulation as your Cattleya Orchid cannot tolerate hot and stuffy conditions.

Protect your Cattleya Orchid from draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Cattleya Orchid

Moderate humidity is ideal for your Cattleya Orchids. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Cattleya Orchid.

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

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

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Cattleya Orchid

Feed Cattleya Orchid every 4 weeks during the growing season with a weak solution of a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Withhold feeding for your Cattleya Orchid 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 your Cattleya Orchid.

Overfeeding your Cattleya Orchid may result in loss of roots thus death of the orchid.

If you overfeed your Cattleya Orchid, it can also lead to vegetative growth instead of flower production. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Cattleya Orchids

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

Repot your Cattleya Orchid 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 your Cattleya Orchid every 2-3 years should be adequate.

Repot your Cattleya Orchid 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 your Cattleya Orchid need good air circulation.

The pot for your Cattleya Orchid should be only 1 size larger than the previous one.

Use loose, free-draining bark soil for your Cattleya Orchid.

When repotting your Cattleya Orchid, shake off excess soil and trim off any dried and shrivelled pseudobulbs.

The large Cattleya Orchids can be divided to propagate new plants.

How to Prune Cattleya Orchid

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 for your Cattleya Orchid, cut the flower stalk 1 in. above the 3rd node from the bottom.

Cattleya Orchid Propagation

Cattleya 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 Cattleya Orchid root-ball.

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

Bury the roots of the Cattleya Orchid 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 Cattleya Orchid section should be about 1-2 in. larger than the pseudobulb.

Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes and slits to prevent root-rot of your Cattleya Orchid section.

Place the set up in a shaded place until Cattleya Orchid sections have established their own roots.

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

Cattleya Orchid Care, Corsage Orchid Care, Catts Care

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Cattleya Orchid Problems Indoors

Cattleya Orchid brown soft spots on the leaves

Brown soft spots on Cattleya Orchid leaves are an indication of a fungal disease.

Remove the affected leaves of your Cattleya Orchid immediately to prevent further spread.

Cattleya Orchid brown hard and dry spots on leaves

Exposure of Cattleya Orchid to direct sunshine will result in scorch marks which are brown hard and dry spots on the leaves.

Move your Cattleya Orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunshine.

Cattleya Orchid have mold on the leaves

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

Misting the leaves of your Cattleya Orchid may lead to mildew growth if the water does not evaporate quickly.

Ensure good air circulation for your Cattleya Orchid and stop misting it.

Cattleya Orchid leaves limpy and droopy

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

Water your Cattleya Orchid thoroughly, maintain the soil consistently moist and allow only the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Cattleya Orchid dark-green leaves

Dark green leaves in Cattleya Orchid indicate that your orchid is not getting enough light.

Move your Cattleya Orchid to a brighter spot. The leaves of a Cattleya Orchid that is receiving the correct light should be yellow-green.

Cattleya Orchid yellowish leaves

Yellowish leaves in Cattleya Orchid indicate that your orchid is getting too much light.

Move your Cattleya Orchid to a shadier spot. The leaves of a Cattleya Orchid that is receiving bright, indirect light should be yellow-green.

Cattleya Orchid leaf tips turning black and dying

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 your Cattleya 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.

Cattleya Orchid not blooming or flowering

One possible reason why Cattleya Orchid is not blooming is too little light.

Move your Cattleya Orchid to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright, indirect light.

Overfeeding your Cattleya Orchid can result in vegetative growth at the expense of flowers production.

Feed your Cattleya Orchid once monthly with a weak solution of a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Is Cattleya Orchid toxic?

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

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