Cattleya (kat-lee-ya) Orchid                                                                          Leaflet 01 

This most sumptuous orchid is chosen for corsages. In nature Cattleyas come from Central America through the Amazon region to the south of Brazil. Actual species Cattleyas can require very defined growing conditions but in these notes we are looking at the hybrids that have been man made over the past hundred years. Many of them have complex family trees with the species they evolved from many generations back. These hybrids are easy to grow. Each year new growths come from dormant buds at the base of strong pseudo bulbs and on maturity they support one or more tough leathery leaves. The showy flowers grow from the tip of the current years growth and come in a wide spectrum of colours from white through yellows to reds and blues.




A bright situation but not direct sunlight, a south facing window behind a thick net curtain from April to September, with no shade in the winter. Cattleyas grow rapidly in the hot summer weather up to 26c (78f), winter temperatures should be kept above 13c (55f). These are ideal conservatory plants as long as summer shade with air movement is provided.




In the home constant humidity can be provided by standing the pots in trays of moist gravel (ideally Hortag).




Try to keep the air around the plants buoyant and avoid conditions of stagnant stale air.




From March to September the compost should never be allowed to completely dry out .Water at least twice a week and fertilise with a general feed containing trace elements e.g., Phostrogen at half strength twice a month. October to February no fertiliser is required but do water once a week. At all times use rain water or soft tap water. Hard tap water will build up a deposit of calcium salts which will cause root damage.



A medium fir bark with 25% Perlite is satisfactory and should last two to three years before re-potting is required.



Cattleya hybrids vary in size from 6-7 cm (3”) to over 60 cm (2’) so we can only generalise and say that when potting, you should select a pot which allows three more growths before the plant reaches the edge of the pot.



This basic information leaflet has been produced by the Cheltenham & District Orchid Society.

If you would like further information, help or advice you can email us at Cheltenham Orchids