Caring for Cattleya Orchids- Answers to A Beginner's Questions
Posted by Kamaile & Corinne on Aug 23rd 2022
How do you keep Cattleya orchids alive so you can enjoy their flowers for many years? It's a lot easier than you think.
Cattleya orchids are among the most familiarized types of orchid plants to date. Their large flowers of vibrant colors and wonderful fragrances have made them popular for use as corsages and display pieces.
So what's the secret?
Every expert cattleya orchid grower has a checklist to keep their prized plants alive and thriving. In this article, we’ll teach you how to care for orchids- the Cattleya orchid. We’ll address the key aspects and provide you with the answers to the most common questions and a few rules of thumb (green thumbs) when it comes to growing these plants.
It’s a simple 4-part list, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be variables you’ll need to consider in your own environment.
Let’s get started.
1. Lighting- Do Cattleya Orchids Need Sunlight?
Most plants require sunlight and the Cattleya orchid is no different. In fact, these plants require ample sunlight to grow and, most especially, to flower.
The biggest mistake new growers make is placing their Cattleya in a location with direct sunshine and afternoon light. But too much light at high intensities can leave your orchid with sunburn and negatively impact the further growth of your plant.
To avoid any issues and keep your Cattleya happy, provide early morning sunlight with a position near an east-facing window and filter any direct intensity with a sheer curtain.
2. Watering- How often to water my orchid?
Water is so important and yet in high quantities, it can prove to be a slow poison to your Cattleya orchid plant.
This type of orchid prefers to dry out between watering. When you notice that the bottom half of its pot and potting medium has become dry, give your plant and its media a thorough watering using distilled rainwater or reverse osmosis water.
For most plants, this is necessary just once a week. If it's very dry, misting just the leaves can help to aid in the plant taking in moisture but not saturating its roots.
When the orchid is flowering, this may increase to every 4-5 days but always err on the side of caution and wait a day or two to reduce the risk of overwatering.
3. Temperature- What is the temperature range for Cattleya orchids?
The ideal Cattleya orchid temperature range is between 60-80F. These plants are happiest when the day temperatures are between 70-80F with a 10-degree temperature drop at night. These orchids can't withstand freezing temperatures.
4. Do Cattleya orchids like humidity?
Orchids in general do best when there is humidity in the air.These plants prefer humidity between 45% and 60%.
Here in Hawaii, humidity is abundant but if you live in an area where the air is dry, you may want to consider investing in a humidifier for the room where you keep your orchids indoors. Another wonderful, inexpensive, or DIY option is the orchid humidity tray. Just be sure that your plant isn’t left sitting in water.
Final Thought – Don’t believe what everyone says, watch what they do.
There’s a lot of information online, and even more misinformation. We will never write an article or provide resources for anything that we don’t actively do for our own orchids.
We’ve been growing and creating original cattleya orchids for over 40 years and they’ve rewarded us with blooms every year and have allowed us to share the joy they give to us with millions of others.
By simply focusing on these 4 aspects and by paying close attention to the key information provided in those answers, you too can enjoy growing your cattleya orchids for many, many years!