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Guarianthe aurantiaca

A small to medium-sized, tropical, epiphytic orchid, producing a clump of upright, cane-like stems growing from a short, creeping rhizome. Each stem is spindle shaped, broader in it's upper half and carries two apical, freshy, evergreen leaves. The leaves are oval, elliptic, up to 20cm wide and 5-8cm wide. Each stem, also called pseudobulb, serves as the plants storage of water and nutrients. Flowers emerge from the centre, on the tips of mature pseudobulbs. Bud are wrapped in two green, papery sheaths. Two to ten (occasionally more), orange or yellow flowers are carried on short, terminal stems in winter and spring lasting around two weeks. Each individual flower measures 2.5cm across

Cattleya aurantiaca

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Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
Colour & scent
Spring Green Grey Silver Orange Yellow Green
Summer Green Grey Silver Green
Autumn Green Grey Silver Green
Winter Green Grey Silver Orange Yellow Green
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Botanical details
Native to the UK
Clump forming, Columnar upright

A small genus of epiphytic orchids which can be found in the wet forests of Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad. Leaves are strap-like and green whilst flowers appear in shades of purple, white and pink

Name status


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
  • Houseplants
  • Conservatory and greenhouse

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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