Growing Cattleya Orchids as House Plants

Growing Cattleya Orchids as House Plants

Are you planning on growing orchids in your backyard or in a green house?  Why not choose the Cattleya ?  They are very easy to grow. However, if you decide on planting them in your window sill, you may find that very challenging.

What are cattleyas?

Cattleyas are beautiful orchids with large, attractive flowers which sometimes carry a fragrance. Their flowers vary in color and pattern and the size can measure as much as 8 inches across. There are numerous species. In wildlife, cattleyas grow high on trees in the forests. They have thick roots which attach the plants firmly to the tree. Being exposed to the elements, the roots are able to tolerate the long periods when there is no rain. Because they vary in size from small (suitable for window sills) to large; growing more than 4 ft. tall, you might want to choose carefully if you plan on growing them inside.  They love light, so you wouldn’t want a plant that takes up all your window space, would you?

Light

Cattleya orchids flourish in bright light. The condition of the leaves is an indication of whether or not your cattleya plants are getting the right amount of water. Leaves that are firm and have an apple green colors mean that the plants are getting the right amount of light.  Hard, yellow or brown colored leaves suggest too much light, while limp, dark green leaves is an indication of inadequate amount of light, which can also cause the plant not to flower.

If you keep your Cattleya on your patio in summer, they will thrive. If indoors, place them in an area near to windows on the eastern or western side.  If they are outside, it is important that you shield them from the hot, noonday sun.

Water

Cattleyas grow from underground rhizome. During spring new bulbs appear. Cattleyas need lots of water during the growing season, but the bulbs should not be allowed to stay in the water.  As soon as the flowers begin to appear in the sheaths, reduce the water.  Too much water in the sheaths will cause the young flowers to rot.

Blooming

Most Cattleyas normally bloom once each year, some twice.  Flowers will stay between 1-3 weeks.  Once the first flower appears, the plants must be removed from the direct sun so that the bloom will last longer.  The flower buds will not develop unless the plant gets direct sunlight and cool temperatures in the evening.

 

Temperatures

Cattleyas don’t need specific temperatures to grow. They thrive best in temperatures ranging from 55 degrees in the nights to 90 degrees throughout the day.  During winter, the bloom cycle will start when evening temperatures are at 55 degrees or lower. They also need ample humidity and proper air circulation throughout the months of winter too.

 

Fertilizer

Fertilize your Cattleyas each week with weak fertilizer made for orchids.

 

Potting and Repotting

Repotting of cattleyas can be stressful for the plant, so they will take a season to improve. Therefore, repotting should only be done when necessary.  Cattleyas flourish best in most orchid mixes including clay pellets, pink bark, charcoal, perlite and any medium which drains well.  If you are repotting a Cattleya, ensure there is adequate space for the rhizome to produce a minimum of two bulbs.  The ideal repotting period is spring; that’s when the growing season begins.

Lucas Barnes writes for Plantdex, learn more about growing cattleya orchids.






Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google Plus
  • Google
  • YahooBuzz
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Preparing our garden for winter

October is almost over and it keeps on getting cooler here in Toronto. Most of our trees still have their leaves, but I’m sure that won’t be for long!

We spent yet another weekend – Or rather at least one day this weekend doing some more yard work in order to prepare our garden for winter. This time we were busy putting away things like our solar lights, garden ornaments and trimming back some of the plants that had become overgrown. I also took some time inspecting my rose plants and I cut out any dead branches that I noticed.

When the trees finally start to drop their leaves we’ll gather up some of the leaves and put them on our garden beds as we normally do each year. A good layer of maple leaves on our plants seems to help protect them through the winter.

Most winters we don’t get a lot of snow. Oh we get snow, but it snows, then it melts and we have a week or two of deep cold but no snow cover .. so if the plants are bare and exposed to all that cold it can really hurt them – so at least the deep leaf cover helps. Then of course it will snow again and our garden will have a foot or two of snow on it for a week or two until it melts again and that will keep the plants and ground insulated for a short while .. but the temperature changes the garden goes through through the winter because of our lack of good snow cover yet fairly cold temperatures can be quite hard on the plants if they aren’t prepared in the fall.

Do you put mulch or leaves on your garden beds in late fall to protect your plants over the winter?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google Plus
  • Google
  • YahooBuzz
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Spring garden maintenance complete and front boulevard planted

I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by to express their condolences on the loss of Chris’ cousin who was a very good friend of ours. I was supposed to be in another city and attending the visitations today, but I got really sick yesterday and our car broke down. So I’m home tonight … Chris can’t even drive back to pick me up as our car hasn’t been repaired yet. You can read a more detailed explanation of what happened on my main blog if you’d like.

So on to garden related stuff …

Last week, in preparation for Green Thumb Sunday, I went out into my yard and took pictures of most of the plants that were either coming up or that were blooming.

The garden looks very nice this year. Chris and I spent two days last weekend cleaning up the garden – trimming plants, getting rid of dead foliage, pruning roses and putting some compost that we picked up at a local park on Saturday thanks to Toronto’s Earth days’. (That’s a green recycling program where the city gives back the compost from the green garbage and other yard related wastes it’s picked up the year prior).

Needless to say my back took a beating and ached for a few days after I over did it in the garden. The effort payed off though as we had cooler temperatures and some rain last week and that really perked up the garden. Since the beds were tidier I could really see how my plants were progressing.

IMG_3325 Now you might remember a post I made about a month ago. It was the one where I showed photos of our front yard still covered in snow and photos of our planted boulevard that I had spent the day cleaning up.

Well the front boulevard looks even nicer now! I planted some peonies that I’d purchased in early April as well as some Dahlias, Gay Feather and a few other plants to go along with the plants that have been growing there for a few years (iris, daylilies, malva, salvia, tulips) and we placed our short bamboo fence in front of it to finish off the look and protect the garden from the teens that like to stand outside my house talking before they go their separate ways after school.

This is what it looks like now:

IMG_3640

and from another angle:

IMG_3642

Just to give you a complete picture of how the front garden looks I’ll throw in a photo of the front flower beds too:

IMG_3637

Now most of my plants are in the backyard. In a day or two I’ll post some photos of how the backyard garden looks right now and maybe a few photos of what’s blooming.

I hope your gardens are doing well right now!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google Plus
  • Google
  • YahooBuzz
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS