The cattleya genus includes numerous species of orchids originating in Central and South America, all characterized by very showy and fragrant flowers. The species of Cattleya are divided into two groups: the monofoliated and the bifoliate ones; the monofoliate are very large, with stems that can reach a meter in height and large and showy flowers, they produce a single leaf for pseudobulb; the bifolates produce two leaves for pseudobulb and have smaller and more delicate flowers than the previous group.
All the species have rhizomatous roots, from which a thin erect pseudobulb starts, similar to a cane, which produces the leaves; at the apex of the stem some flowers bloom, in spring or in summer.
How to grow cattleye
Despite the very exotic appearance of the flowers, they are not orchids suitable only for the most daring connoisseurs, but can also be grown successfully by the neophyte.
The rhizomes are planted in capacious containers, filled with an incoherent compound, which simulates the substrate present in the areas of origin: porous, moist and well ventilated.
Generally the compound for epiphytic orchids is made up of small pieces of bark, peat, expanded clay, or even polystyrene or pieces of wood.
Introduced in this soil the roots enjoy good humidity and excellent aeration.
During spring and summer we will hold ours cattleya in a cool, very well-lit, moist and well-ventilated place; if possible, when the climate is mild, we place the vase outdoors, not exposed to the sun's rays during the hottest hours of the day.
Temperature and terrain
The temperature most appreciated by these orchids is around 20-25 ° C, without excessive changes between day and night. We keep the soil cool, slightly damp, but do not soak it with water. Rather we frequently vaporize the stems and the substrate, and only sporadically immerse the entire vessel in a basin full of water, drain it and place it back in its place. An always wet substrate greatly favors the onset of rot, which can compromise the entire plant. In autumn the foliage tends to wither and the plant enters vegetative rest; we suspend the waterings, which will resume in the spring, when the stems will begin to sprout again. Cattleye are much loved by orchid enthusiasts, and over the centuries have been bred with many other genres.
Cattleya - Cattleya: A bizarre plant
The cultivation is simple, the flower beautiful, the flowering from year to year tends to be more and more luxuriant; so why don't we all have a cattleya in the house?
Unfortunately, these plants are often very large, making it necessary to grow them in greenhouses rather than at home, because they can hardly find a place on the shelf next to the TV.
The plant then tends to develop in a "cumbersome" way; that is, the basal rhizomes tend to stretch horizontally, as for example the rhizomes of strawberries: starting from an initial pseudobulb in bloom, moving away horizontally by a few centimeters, the plant will produce another pseudobulb in months, from which the new ones will be born buds, when the old ones have already withered for weeks; therefore during the development of the second pseudobulb the plant can produce other shoots, always moving away linearly from the "starting" stem.
The development period from the flower to the pseudobulbus' process lasts less than a year, and therefore we will be able to obtain over time plants that have a row consisting of a now withered pseudobulb, one being withered, one with flowers, one recently developed which is producing leaves.
Therefore, over the course of a few years, it will be a good idea to remove the pseudobulbs, now withered and dry, and place the flowering stem in the center of the vase to better occupy the space in the container.