Friday, September 11, 2009

Cattleya Orchids – a Novice Delight

Cattleyas are an extremely well known orchid as they often present in corsages. Any nervous teenage boy turning up to his date’s house is likely to be clutching one of these in sweaty palms.

A good choice for the novice Orchid Grower, due to their low maintenance requirements, the orchids known as Cattleyas are native to South America. They can be found in nature in the rainforest regions and thrive at altitudes well above sea level.

Stunning flowers they come in an array of colors and a variety of sizes and have been immortalized in Martin Johnson Heades artwork. With such popular appeal, Cattleya orchids have been developed to create numerous hybrid varieties. There are over 40 sub-varieties in the Cattleya family.

The Cattleya Trianae

Named after Colombian botanist Jerónimo Triana, the Cattleya Trianae was put forth at an exhibition as representative of the country because of the striking central red, yellow and blue petal which matches the Colombian flag. This flower is quite hard to find in its natural habitat due to recent environmental changes.

With pale and ruffled outer petals highlighted against the bright inner colors of the flower, it is a beautiful orchid.

The Cattleya Labiata

One of the best known Orchids, this may be due to the fact that theCattleya Labiata was the first Cattleya to be discovered. With five petals and most commonly seen in rich shades of purple this stunning Brazilian variety is commonly seen in media and as a decorative flower.

The Guarianthe Aurantiaca

With gorgeous blooms bright orange in color, this sunny plant often has small blooms along the length of its thick stem. These waxy flowers are star shaped and for a Cattleya, considered quite small.

The Cattleya Warscewiczii

Ranging in size from 7-11 inches, the blooms of the Columbian Cattleya Warscewiczii are quite large. The flowers often in shades of purples are arranged on an inflorescence of up to 18 inches have a distinctive aroma. This Cattleya enjoys full sun.

They bloom Spring, from March and May and as such they are often used as decorative flowers at Easter celebrations.

Known to grow on rocky outcrops and stones this classes them as epiphytes or lithophytes. They take their nutrients from the air and rainwater, and surrounding plant matter. To see them through tough times they store nutrients and water in a psuedobulb.

Like many other Orchid varieties, they prefer an environment with a slightly elevated humidity. Filtered to full sun -- depending on the type -- is best and window ledges are an ideal spot. That said, they do enjoy ventilation, do ensure your plant gets some fresh air. With a minimal amount of love and care, as required by any plant, your cattleya orchid will thrive in your home.

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