Caring for Cattleya – a large-flowered beauty

Cattleya are among the most fascinating orchid genera of all. This group of indoor orchids impresses with exceptionally large flowers and some with a fine fragrance. The genus was named after the British orchid gardener William Cattley. Hooded orchids were popular prestige objects in wealthy circles as early as the 19th century. Today there are numerous species, hybrids and varieties that come up with magnificent flowers. They all prefer a location with lots of light and a pronounced rest period is necessary for renewed flowering. Many of the exclusive plants beguile with their incomparable fragrance. Find out below everything you need to know about the correct care of exotic flowers.

Useful information Site care Watering FertilizingRepottingPests & diseases FAQ

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Interesting facts about Cattleya

Botanical Name: Cattleya various species and hybrids

Other names: cattleya, hooded orchid, cattleya orchid, cattleya hybrid

Usage: houseplant, potted plant, cut flower

Origin: South America

Flower colors: white, yellow, violet, pink, red, orange, brown, multicolored

Flowering time: December to March

Special features: The extremely large flowers, which can reach a diameter of up to 15 cm, are particularly typical of the species. Some of the colorful flowers have a strong scent. The cattleya orchid was declared the national flower of Colombia in 1834.

In which location does Cattleya feel most comfortable?

Cattleya orchids are native to a variety of climates, but all grow as epiphytes on trees and rocks. This also results in the demands on light and moisture. Hooded orchids prefer a bright location by the window without direct sunlight. Room temperatures of 20 to 22 °C are ideal, at night at least 15 °C. From the end of May to the beginning of September, the potted plants can also stand outdoors in a sheltered place. Gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions and protection from rain and strong winds are important. The orchid should be back indoors from mid-September. High humidity is ideal all year round.

Our gardening tip: The day-night temperature fluctuations indoors and outdoors help the plant to form new buds, among other things. To improve flowering, the pot can also be placed in a cooler room overnight.

How do I properly care for my Cattleya Orchid after flowering?

After flowering, the panicle of the Cattleya is completely cut off, because new panicles are formed from the new storage organs. It is important that the shoot is spared and only the dried stem is removed, because the old shoot continues to feed the plant. For 6 to 8 weeks little is poured and no fertilizer is given. This rest period is used for new planting of buds and new shoots. From the end of May, the beauty feels at home outdoors, here it is watered and fertilized more regularly.

How do I properly water my Cattleya Orchid?

Water your orchid Cattleya regularly with water at room temperature during the flowering and growth phase. Dipping the plant once a week has proven to ensure an even water supply. The roots and the orchid soil soak up water and your plant is well cared for. It is important that no water remains in the planter or saucer after watering or when immersing. Cattleya tolerate neither standing water nor dry pads. The substrate should dry well before the next watering. During the rest period, the water requirement is greatly reduced, an interval of 2 to 3 weeks is sufficient. The thickened parts of the shoot (bulbs) may also shrink a little during this time.

Our gardening tip: Immediately after the orchid has faded, keep it less moist for 6 weeks. This rest period is used to plant new panicles. With proper orchid care, the genus Cattleya can delight with enchanting flowers for many years.

How do I fertilize my Cattleya properly?

During the growth phase, it is advisable to fertilize with liquid fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks. Only use special fertilizer for orchids. This contains the necessary nutrients in the right ratio and is ideally suited. It is important that the special fertilizer for orchids is dosed according to the instructions on the package and never poured over the leaf. Overdosing will result in root damage. Another option is to use fertilizer sticks. This practical variant is easy to use and, thanks to its 3-month effect, offers a convenient solution for providing the orchids with the best possible nutrients.

How do I repot my Cattleya?

The best time to repot is from early spring to early summer. With sufficient light, the tropical beauty establishes itself quickly and delights with new leaves. Planting is done every 2 to 3 years because the roots have spread and the old substrate has lost its structure. Before repotting, the houseplant is dipped, so the roots can be loosened more easily and watering after repotting can be omitted. Only use orchid soil and no conventional substrate. This special orchid substrate has an ideal structure and pH value. It is important that the plant is not potted too deep, otherwise the heart of the plant will rotcomes. Fill the spaces between the roots with substrate. This is best done by tapping the side of the pot. Make sure that the roots are not crushed and thus injured and that the substrate is loose in the pot.

Gardener’s tip: choose a pot that is 2 to 3 cm larger for repotting. The orchid does not need much more soil volume, but a new pot is necessary.

pests and diseases

Given the right conditions and optimal care, Cattleya are easy-care plants. The following problem can occur:

leaf spot

The black or brown, often sunken spots are often the sign of a fungal infection. It is important that no water gets on the leaves when watering. A plant strengthener helps to strengthen the plants. This contains special plant extracts that strengthen the cell walls and thus make the orchid more resistant.

Are you looking for more information about pests and diseases or do you have questions about a plant problem? Our plant doctors will be happy to help you – in person and online!

FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions

What can be the cause of bud drop?

Temperature fluctuations or drafts are usually the cause of bud drop. Especially when buying, it is important that the plants are adequately protected from the cold for transport.

Can Cattleya be propagated?

The best way to propagate hooded orchids is by division. After flowering, large specimens are divided into two equal parts and planted in fresh orchid soil. Root formation is promoted by a sunny, warm location and even soil moisture. Cattleya offshoots are optimal at 22 to 27 degrees Celsius and in a bright location.

What can be the reason that no new flower appears?

Various factors can account for the lack of new buds. Check the location, water and nutrient supply. In addition, drafts and waterlogging as well as a lack of rest can be responsible. A bright location and the right watering are essential.

Here you will find more orchids and learn more about the care of the beauties!

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