How Long Does a Cattleya Orchid Plant Live

I got a beautiful Cattleya orchid plant for my birthday. Now that the flowers have died should I throw the plant out or will it bloom again?

Hi Marissa,

Please do NOT get rid of your Cattleya orchid now that it has finished flowering. This orchid is easy to care for and will live and bloom for many years if you just do a few simple things.

Yellow and red Cattleya Orchid

Cattleya Orchid

Water: Water when the soil has just about totally dried out.  Water early in the day so the soil is not too wet when the temperature drops at night. Use tepid water.

Light Cattleyas Orchids grow and produce more flowers in bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.. The main reason these orchids do not bloom is because they are not getting enough light. leaves should be a medium green color. Too much light causes the leaves to  yellow, too little and the leaves are a dark green.

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.: Feed “weakly weekly.”  Feed every week with an Orchid Plant food diluted to 1/4- 1/2 the recommended strength when your Orchid is producing new growth.

Humidity: 40 – 60-percent humidity is what these orchids really like.