A medium-sized, evergreen, epiphytic orchid with upright, cane-like stems growing from a short, creeping rhizome. Each stem (pseudobulb) is cylindrical or spindle-shaped, broader in the upper half, carrying two to four, broadly-oval, dark green leaves. Three or more flowers are held on short, terminal stems, arising from the tips of new mature stems in spring or summer. Each long-lasting, scented flower measures up to 10cm across and may vary in shape and colour. Some forms have narrower petals and sepals, and a more tubular lip, others are more flat, with wider petals and an open, rounded lip. Flowers are usually white with a pale or dark pink pattern, occasionally pale purple or pure white.
Ultimate height0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height5–10 years
Ultimate spread0.1–0.5 metres
MoistureWell–drained, Moist but well–drained
Colour & scent
- Full sun
- Partial shade
East–facing or South–facing or West–facing
ExposureExposed or Sheltered
- Native to the UK
- Clump forming
A genus of tropical orchids native to South and Central America. Thick fleshy roots of these epiphytic plants grow from thick rhizome. Cylindrical, swollen stems called pseudobulbs serve as storage of water and nutrients. Large, long-lasting flowers are held at the top of newly formed, mature pseudobulbs. Genus Cattleya is often cross bred with other similar genera, and can be traced in parentage of numerous, inter-generic, orchid hybrids
- Name status
- Plant range
- S. 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
- Conservatory and greenhouse
No pruning required.
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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