Cattleya Orchids - 3 Expert Tricks When Growing Cattleyas

Published: 23rd May 2011
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Cultivating orchids such as the cattleya is said to be one of the most difficult tasks an orchid grower can get himself into. And this is with valid reasons. Unlike regular orchids, this kind needs very particular conditions to be successfully cultivated. And if you have done this properly you would have one of the most beautiful types of orchids and at the same time one of the most expensive.

Orchids, when grouped according to importance and exquisiteness, cattleya orchids will certainly top the list. That is why no matter how tough and complex growing cattleya orchids may be, many growers still embark on the journey and try their green thumbs on them.

Knowing the basics of growing orchids will not suffice with this genus of orchid. They have certain requirements a grower must follow to ensure success. The fundamental light, water and fertilizer system do not apply to this genus of orchid. In fact, because of their "temperamental" nature they were once the orchids that expert growers dubbed as the "untouchables" for newbies. It is said that to cultivate a cattleya you must know it personally first.

To aid you with your journey of intimately knowing this particular orchid, here are 3 well-kept tips in cultivating them:

Grow Me Inside

If you want to successfully cultivate orchids such as cattleyas, then you need to have some kind of greenhouse. These orchids are very difficult, if not practically impossible, to grow outdoors. Yes, there are some places, such as some locations in Florida and other nearby states, that they can successfully grow, but even there they can be very hard and complex to handle. Growing them indoors on the other hand, has been found to be rather successful.

Inside structures, such as greenhouses and Wardian cases, the right moistuire and warmth can be controlled and therefore achieved. For these orchids to flourish correctly there must be as much as 60% to 70% humidity during the day and a temperature no lower than 55F to 60F. Not creating this certain set of conditions will result in a dry orchid or worse, a dead one.

More Sunlight But Not Too Much

Another difficult part of cultivating cattleya orchids is its light requirements. Compared to your regular orchid, they need more light but too much can kill it. The tropical sunlight may be the ideal type of light for cultivating these orchids, but in any other places, this kind of orchid cannot take the type of summer sunlight. If you want to be successful in cultivating cattleyas, then you must follow this simple rule when giving them sunlight. It's a lot of work, but it is very effective.

Put them in direct sunlight during summer only in the mornings and late afternoons. From 11:00AM to 3:00PM, NEVER place them in direct sunlight or they'll burn. If you are finding this tough to do manually you can try to put them under the shade of a bigger tree or plant. This will provide the same protection as moving them manually at specific time periods.

Osmunda - The Perfect Match

When growing orchids that are ephiphytes (like the cattleya orchids), the perfect choice for a compost is osmunda. This compost has a lot of fiber, moisture, and is a good source of humidity for an orchid. Like any other orchid, one sure way to destroy it is to over-water it. A good way to know if you are over-watering is your potting medium will start to grow ferns and moss.

When potting, be sure to align the grains of the osmunda parallel to the axis of the pot. This will aid in the correct drainage of water. Do not use too much osmunda; just enough fiber from this medium will ensure that the roots of your cattleyas will be thriving.

Keep in mind when cultivating orchids like cattleyas, be sure to follow these easy little-known secrets to ensure your success. Cattleyas are one of the most wonderful genus of orchids to cultivate. The are not too difficult, just as long as you follow their specific needs for proper cultivation. These 3 expert tricks should get you headed in the right direction.


And to discover even more orchid care resources, download my totally FREE "5 Biggest Orchid Care Mistakes" report by visiting: Cattleya Orchids.

Mary Ann Berdak is the publisher of - a top online destination for orchid care tips and advice.

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