How to Grow a Cattleya Orchid

I got a Cattleya Orchid as a Birthday present. Could you please tell me how to care for it. Thanks in advance.

Hi Sharon,

Here are some care tips for growing a Cattleya Orchid.

Red and orange Callteya Orchid

Cattleya Orchid
Antinea copper king

Light: I have found that Cattleya Orchids do best and bloom more in very bright 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 leaves should be a bright medium green color. If the plant is not getting enough light the leaves are dark green, too much light and the leaves turn a reddish purple.

Water: Water in the morning so the potting mix has a chance to dry out before night. I don’t agree with the idea that some have of putting ice cubes in an orchid and recommend using lukewarm water that has no chemicals and has not passed through a softener. Allow the plant to totally dry out before watering again. The amount of time for the potting mix to dry out depends on the temperature of the room, the type of container, the amount of light, the time of year, and the air circulation.

Humidity: Cattleya Orchids like high humidity. The higher the humidity the more important it is to provide good air circulation to prevent plant diseases.

Temperature: Like many flowering houseplants, Cattleya Orchids bloom more when there is a 15-20 degrees temperature change between day and night temperatures; during the day 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 26°C) at night 55°F to 60°F (13°C to 16°C).

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 a Cattleya Orchid that is actively producing new growth every two weeks. When not actively growing, feed monthly. Be sure the soil is moist when you fertilize to prevent damaging the roots. A 20-20-20 orchid 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. works well unless the orchid is planted in bark. In that case use a plant food higher in nitrogen.

Potting Mix: There are many tips of coarse potting mix that work for Cattleya Orchids: chopped bark, tree fern fiber, coconut husk chips, gravel or lava rock, and  sphagnum moss. Tree fern fiber or inorganic media like clay pellets and lava rock work best in rooms that are very humid and hot.