Cattleya Care

Cattleyas are orchid royalty. For generations, their brilliant colors, exotic shapes, and rich perfumes have made them prime choices as elegant corsages. These photos of Cattleya species and hybrids illustrate only a few from thousands of varieties. Orchid growers often refer to them as “Catts,” and say “Cattleya care” to encapsulate their growing needs:  bright light, daytime warmth, and water once a week.

Cattleya hybridCattleya hybridPotinara flower

Native to Central and South America, members of the Cattleya family live in full sun on treetops and forest borders. Exposed to strong light and winds, they dry quickly after rains. Cattleyas in cultivation need to dry out between waterings. During spring and summer, they enjoy a thorough soaking once a week, but during winter dormancy, they may only want water once or twice a month. Even these low water orchids need good humidity at all times. Most types prefer temps of 70° – 85°F (21° – 29°C) during the day, dropping down to 60° – 65°F (16° – 18°C) at night. Other kinds prefer cooler temps, like this related Laelia species. For all types, fertilize weakly, weekly.

One of the toughest challenges for Cattleya growers is providing enough light for blooms. Leaves should be a medium green color; if they’re dark green or seem floppy, they are probably not receiving enough light. Artificial light at night can disrupt Cattleya flowering schedules, so keep them away from lamps after sunset. Ethylene gas from ripening fruit or smoke can stop Cattleyas from blooming, so keep their air moving. Repot every 2 – 3 years using coarse bark.

Blc flowersLaelia speciesCattleya hybrid

Many Cattleyas are large plants, but there are lots of mini varieties, too. Cattleya relatives, like Brassavolas and Laelias, share similar growing conditions, and have been crossbred with Cattleyas for over a century. Complex hybrids like Potinara and Iwanagara add more variety to the growing family. New crosses constantly extend this regal orchid line.

Sophrolaelia flowerBrassavola speciesCattleya species

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fragrant Orchids, Growing, Intermediate Growers, Photos, Watering

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7 Comments on “Cattleya Care”

  1. Alex76 Says:

    Very beautiful! These are my favorites. Thanks for sharing your photos.

  2. Carolina H. Says:

    Love it!
    What incredible colors.

  3. Joaquin Ejide Says:


  4. Brittany H Martin Says:

    I think other web site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and great user friendly style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert at this stuff!

  5. SusanRutledge28 Says:

    these are such great photos. I love how great corsages are made of cattleyas. they keep the the smell for a long time, but it is difficult to get them into dried pressed flowers.

  6. Holly Sciutto Says:

    It is rare for me to discover something on the cyberspace that is as entertaining and fascinating as what youve got here. Your page is sweet, your graphics are outstanding, and whats more, you use reference that are relevant to what you are talking about. Youre definitely one in a million, great job!

  7. Kathi Dutta Says:

    These gold catts are great!.. I very own several gold and orange and red, and they are very large flowers and very popular.
    I have heard of others paying $150+ for the best ones.
    The miniature catts come in great colors too. They are so adorable!!