Cattleya orchids also called “Queen of Orchids” are one of the most common species (113 species) grown. They are often referred to as corsage orchids thanks to their big flowers. Being a popular orchid variety, Cattleya is very much popular among flower growers for enhancing the overall look of their gardens that bloom bigger and nicer. These kinds of flowers are probably the easiest variety to take care for and they need proper care including watering, lighting and fertilizing. Most of the wild Cattleya orchids grow in rain forests of South America, namely in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Mexico.These orchids are truly epiphytes. They are used to being partly covered by the canopy of the rain forest and get considerable humidity and bright light. These are good conditions to grow Cattleya.

Cattleya flower photo

Cattleyas are divided into two groups according to the number of leaves arising from the pseudobulbs: unifoliate and bifoliate.

Unifoliate cattleyas have a single leaf on each pseudobulb, and grow between 1 and 2 feet tall. The flowers, borne one to five per stem, are between 2 and 7 inches across. Hybrid flowers may be even larger. Their large, ruffled lip is often marked with colorful patterns.

Unifoliates may also be called labiates in reference to Cattleya labiata, the most important species in the group. Although other unifoliates were once commonly grown, they are now expensive and difficult to obtain, having been largely supplanted by hybrids.

Species in the bifoliate group of cattleyas have two (or sometimes three) leaves atop long, slender pseudobulbs. Bifoliates range from 15 inches to 5 feet tall. The flowers, which are generally thicker and smaller than those of the unifoliates, are borne 10 to 25 per spike and usually last longer than those of the unifoliates.

Cattleya or the "Queen of Orchids" is an extremely graceful and beautiful orchid plant that we can cultivate in a correct way if we apply the due care and attention it is worthy. So we will enjoy the beauty of their colored flowering and perfume inside our own home or in our garden, and our orchid plant will be grateful to us.

Cattleya care

Light: Cattleya orchids prefer morning sun, about 40 to 50% (3000 - 3500 foot-candle) shade needed to protect plants from mid-day sun from 11 am. to 3 pm.

Temperature: The ideal day time temperature is 24 - 29° Celsius and 18 - 22° Celsius at night.

Humidity: Cattleya thrive when they get more than 50% humidity.

Water: Water your plant early in the day avoid over watering. Potting media should be allowed to dry between watering.

Potting media: A mix of bricks pieces, charcoal and coconut husk.

Repotting: Repot your orchid plant every 1-2 years with new potting media. All the old potting mix and any dead roots should be removed.

Fertilizer: A soloution of 19:19:19 or 20:20:20 with trace element at 2gm. per liter of water every week. You can also apply phosphorus rich fertilizer (13-27-27) when the plants once get flowering stage.