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Conservatory Greenhouse

Cattleya maxima

A medium-sized, epiphytic, orchid with upright, cane-like stems growing from a short creeping rhizome. Each mature stem (pseudobulb) is narrow at the base and broader in the upper half, carrying one oblong, leathery leaf. The evergreen leaves are thick and fleshy, dark-green, up to 30cm long and 6cm wide. Large, scented flowers up to 15cm across are held on terminal stems up to 30cm long. Flowering stems emerge from the tips of new mature growth in autumn and winter. Many colour variations occur from white, pale lilac and pink flowers. The lip has a characteristic yellow line in the middle, with a dark purple or brown veined pattern.

Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Moisture
Well–drained, Moist but well–drained
pH
Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Green
Autumn Pink Yellow Purple White Green
Winter Pink Yellow Purple White Green
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H1A
Botanical details
Family
Orchidaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Clump forming
Name status

Correct

Plant range
S. America

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How to grow

Cultivation

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

Propagation

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
Pruning

No pruning required.

Pests

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

Diseases

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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