Caring For Cattleya Orchids | Temperature, Humidity, lighting, and other conditions

Cattleya is considered to be a spectacular decoration of any orchid collection. But in content, it is not the easiest one. Any mistake in caring for cattleya orchids and violation of the cultivation technique turns into serious problems, up to the death of the plant.

Caring For Cattleya Orchids

caring for cattleya orchids

Cattleya orchids lovers must need extra care for their plant for proper growth and flowering here is steps for caring for cattleya orchids indoors.

Conditions for cattleya orchids growth

Before the first flowering, a Cattleya seedling needs to grow for at least 5 years. In order for Cattleya to develop harmoniously, and most importantly, to bloom regularly, it is necessary to create an appropriate microclimate for her and fulfill a number of conditions:

  • enough sunlight;
  • balance between air temperature and humidity level;
  • temperature drops of 5-7 ° C during the day (day / night);
  • constant air circulation;
  • good aeration of the soil;
  • compliance with biological rhythms.

The parameters of the optimal microclimate for Cattleya are given in an interview with Bruno Dietler for the American Orchid Society:

I make up the Cattleya soil mixture in the following proportions: 80% fir bark, 10% charcoal and 10% foam pieces. I water it exclusively with rainwater collected from the roof drain, preheated to 20 ° C. Watering is carried out by surface wetting of the soil. In addition to watering, I use a humidifier to fog the orchids every day. However, this irrigation regime is permissible only under the condition of forced (by means of a fan) air circulation.

When purchasing Cattleya, it should be remembered that different hybrids can differ significantly in flowering and maintenance conditions. Therefore, when buying an orchid, it is useful to ask which variety it belongs to.

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Orchid collector in 4 greenhouses in Basel, Bruno Ditzler.

Do orchids need sun?

Do Orchids Need Sun

Adequate lighting, and not just daylight, but sunny is a fundamental condition for the flowering of Cattleya. Therefore, a place is selected for her, where the rays of the sun look at least for 2-3 hours a day.

Important! Sunbathing is especially indicated for the Cattleyas gaining color. The more direct rays the cover that covers the peduncle receives, the more intense and brighter the flowering will be.

For Cattleya, which forms a peduncle, choose the brightest place in the room.

An ideal location could be a glazed balcony or loggia. In this case, you need to ensure that the plant does not overheat. Constant air circulation helps to avoid overheating. But it should be borne in mind that Cattleya does not tolerate drafts. Therefore, before opening a window or sash of a window, you will have to find a balance between the intensity of lighting, the optimal temperature, and access to fresh air.

A portable oscillating fan will help solve the problem. This device is necessary both in the summer heat and in the autumn-winter period in urban apartments with central heating. But it will be useful only if fresh air is available. It makes no sense to drive stale air around the room.

Before opening the first buds, Cattleya is recommended to shade using a light curtain or blinds, and it is better to move the plant deeper into the room. In the shade, flower petals stay several times longer. But even here you need to know when to stop. If the color of the foliage changes towards dark green, this is a direct indication of insufficient lighting.

temperature range for cattleya orchids

The vast majority of Cattleyas are moderately thermophilic, with the exception of some species, for example, Bowring hybrids, which prefer cool conditions.

Especially important for laying peduncles Cattleya daily drop day and night temperatures of at least 7 ° C . The critical minimum mark of the thermometer is + 12 ° C for an adult and + 15 ° C for a young plant. The maximum possible value is + 32 ° C. Prolonged stay of Cattleya outside the specified temperature range is fraught with growth retardation, refusal of flowering, decreased immunity, and even the death of the plant.

Optimal temperature conditions for most Cattleya species:

Period of the yearTemperature range In the afternoonThe temperature range at nightMinimum permissible valuesMaximum permissible values
Autumn winter+16-21°C+ 14-16°C+12°C+32°C
Spring Summer+18-24°C+ 16-18°C

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What is the best humidity for orchids?

In winter, Cattleya is kept at a relative humidity of 50-60%. In the summer, this figure is increased to 70%. The main principle is that the warmer the room, the higher the humidity. But in the conditions of city apartments, the opposite usually happens. Heating systems, heating the room, simultaneously dry the air. The situation is corrected using a household humidifier, finely dispersed irrigation, a wet filler in the pan. When spraying, do not allow moisture to enter the covers of the peduncles, buds and in the leaf axils.

How often do you water a cattleya orchid?

How Often Do You Water A Cattleya Orchid

The intensity of watering Cattleya depends on the state of the substrate, container size, air temperature, plant age, and in each case is determined individually. During the period of active growth of moisture, more is required . Signs indicating that the plant needs to be watered:

  • the surface of the substrate is dry to the touch to a depth of 2 cm;
  • no condensation drops are observed on the inner walls of a transparent vessel;
  • opaque ceramic and plastic pots become noticeably lighter in weight;
  • leaf plates lose turgor.

Whether the plant has enough moisture is easy to determine by the state of the aerial roots. Ideally, they are firm, unbreakable, light green or purple with bright tips.

Water the Cattleya by immersing the pot for 10-15 minutes in a container with warm (2-3 ° C above room temperature) water. Between waterings, a gap is maintained sufficiently for the substrate to completely dry out. Finding Cattleya in moist soil for more than 5 days has a detrimental effect on the condition of the root system.

How do you fertilize cattleya orchids?

Feeding Cattleya begins when the pseudobulbs start to grow and continue until the peduncle is fully formed. With the beginning of flowering, fertilization is reduced, or even stopped. The plant is not fed during the rest period.

Use either special feeding for orchids, or universal remedies for flowering plants, reducing the dosage 2-3 times from the recommended. During the period of pseudobulb growth, preference is given to fertilizers with high nitrogen content. From the moment the flower stalk is laid and until the formation of buds, Cattleya is fertilized with products with an increased specific proportion of potassium and phosphorus. Topdressing is combined with every second or third watering by adding fertilizer to the immersion water.

What is the best medium for cattleya orchids?

Cattleya is grown in a light medium with good aeration. An acceptable option is the bark of a tree fern or compressed palm fiber – so-called coconut chips. If such exotic is not available, ordinary pine bark of medium and small fraction is quite suitable – from 0.5 to 2 cm.

Pine bark is the main and most affordable ingredient for preparing soil mixture for Cattleya.

To improve moisture and air exchange, components that imitate natural conditions are mixed into the substrate from pieces of bark:

  • sphagnum moss – up to 20% of the total;
  • charcoal crushed into pieces (it is permissible to use coal for barbecues) – 10-20%;
  • horse (red) peat – up to 5%;
  • perlite – no more than 5%.

The orchid potting mix offered by the retail chain is best suited for growing Cattleya.

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Maintaining a resting phase of cattleya orchids

In their natural habitat, the Cattleya dormant period is short and poorly expressed. The seasonal change in the biological rhythm with room maintenance is due to the lack of sunlight in the winter.

Cattleya groupsRest phase multiplicityDormant period
Spring bloomDoubleThe first time – after flowering; the second – after the maturation of the pseudobulbs
Autumn bloomSingle entryAfter flowering

Cattleya of the second group are more adapted to the conditions of home keeping, therefore, most flower growers prefer just such orchids.

You should not try in any way to “stir up” the falling asleep Cattleya. On the contrary, it is necessary to support the established biological cycle by creating the appropriate conditions:

  • Reduce the amount (on average, up to 2 times a month) and the amount of irrigation.
  • Exclude spraying.
  • Stop fertilizing.
  • Place the plant in the brightest place and arrange for lighting with a phytolamp.
  • Reduce the average air temperature by about 5-7 ° C. The optimum temperature range is + 14-16 ° C.
  • Provide control over the state of the plant for the timely detection of rot and other developmental pathologies.

The resting phase usually lasts 6-8 weeks. When new growth points appear, they return to the previous regime of maintenance, resume watering and feeding.

Check it out Propagating Orchids From Aerial Roots.

Mistakes in caring for cattleya orchids

  1. The main mistake of novice florists when growing Cattleya is the annual transplant. The desire to place the plant in a more spacious pot with a complete replacement of the substrate is understandable. Cattleya grows quite quickly, building up 1-3 new pseudobulbs in a year, so it seems that she is cramped in the same place. However, she does not tolerate any transplant at all, reacting painfully even to a gentle transshipment procedure. And an overly free pot becomes the cause of all sorts of diseases since putrefactive processes begin in the soil that is not involved in the process of root formation due to stagnant moisture. If there are no emergency, vital indications, a planned Cattleya transplant should be carried out no more than once every 3-4 years.
  2. Considering that all Cattleyas are extremely photophilous, inexperienced growers try to select the most illuminated southern windows for them. But contrary to expectations, they remain without flowers. And all because the concepts of “light” and “hot” for Cattleya are far from identical. The sun shouldn’t be scorching. Exposure to direct rays is permissible only in the morning or evening. Therefore, the best location for Cattleya will be windows of the south-east or south-west exposure.

how to save cattleya orchid without roots?

The most affordable way to save or revive Cattleya without roots is daily immersion in water for 1-2 hours to the level of the rhizome. Once every 2-3 weeks, you can dip the plant for 2 hours in a solution of “Epin” or “Zircon” (1 drop per 1 liter of water). The duration of such resuscitation can be several months, depending on the age of the orchid. An old plant is more difficult to stimulate. It should also be borne in mind that Cattleya will not be able to grow a full-fledged root system in conditions of insufficient lighting, excessive humidity, and low temperatures. Rhizome development is negatively affected by rare watering in combination with heat. In addition, fungal infection can cause root death.

Distinctive features of healthy and diseased roots:

OptionsHealthyAffected by the rot
ColourGreenYellow, darkened
DensityDense, elasticDry or, conversely, softened, can ooze when pressed
StrengthSustainableBrittle, loose, easily detached

Why is my orchid turning purple? or yellowish

Normally, the color of Cattleya leaves is closer to olive. When exposed to sunlight, foliage can change color, acquiring a purple or yellowish tint. Sometimes the leaf plates are covered with small specks of the indicated colors. This is normal and has nothing to do with a burn when dark dry spots appear on the leaves and bulbs. If the change in pigmentation occurs gradually, there is nothing to worry about. But a sharp change in color in a short period of time is already a reason to be wary. In order not to bring the plant to sunburn, the orchid can be slightly shaded with gauze or light tulle in the sunniest hours.

I am an avid plant enthusiast and horticulture aficionado with a deep passion for houseplants. With years of nurturing green companions, my expertise in caring for indoor foliage is well-rooted. Through my journey, I've cultivated insights into optimal plant care, propagation techniques, and creating vibrant indoor ecosystems. Join me as we explore the verdant world of houseplants together. Let's turn your living space into a thriving oasis of botanical beauty. Connect with me on and Facebook and explore more at Houseplantspro. 🌿🪴

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