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Cattleya bowringiana

A medium to large-sized, evergreen, epiphytic orchid with long, upright, cane-like, 20-90cm tall stems growing from a short creeping rhizome. Each stem (pseudobulb) is cylindrical, broader in the upper half, carrying two, rarely three firm, dark green leaves at the top. The leaves are thick, leathery, mid-green, broadly-oval, up to 20cm long and 5cm wide. Up to 15 flowers are carried on 25cm long, terminal stems, arising from the tips of new mature growth from autumn to winter. Flowers are up to 8cm across, dark pink/magenta coloured with a darker lip and white throat.

Growing conditions
Colour & scent

Botanical details
Native to the UK
Potentially harmful
Name status


Plant range
C America

How to grow


Grow in an open, coarse bark-based orchid mix with addition of perlite and coconut chips. Provide bright light conditions, but shade from hot, direct mid-day sun. Ideal temperatures are 15°C minimum in winter and up to maximum of 28°C during summer. Water and feed plants regularly during the growing season. Ensure that all water drains away, preventing the plant sitting in water. Provide enough humidity by regular misting. Reduce watering and feeding in winter months and keep in a bright, sunny position. As with many orchids, they grow best when well-established and slightly pot-bound. Re-potting should be only done if the plant overgrows its container or before the potting mix starts to deteriorate - approximately once in 2-3 years. The plant should only be re-potted when the new growth appears in spring. See also indoor orchid cultivation


Mature plants may be divided when the plant overgrows its container. Each division should have at least 3 older growths with a sufficient amount of stored energy and water, to support new growth and reduce stress after repotting.

Suggested planting locations and garden types

No pruning required.


May be susceptible to glasshouse red spider mite, scale insects and mealybugs. Thrips may cause damage on flowers.


Generally disease-free. Poor air movement may cause bacterial or fungal rots. Good hygiene practice and sterilising cutting tools prevent the spread of virus diseases.

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