How to Grow and care for a Cattleya Orchid

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

In nature, Cattleya Orchids are found in areas with bright sunlight and partial shade.  The Cattleya Orchid will not bloom without ample sunlight. They prefer soil with a high moisture content, but with with ample drainage. They reproduce through the production of pseudobulbs. Some species even bloom twice per year!

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 light. The main reason these orchids do not bloom is because they are not getting enough light. The color of their leaves varies according to the amount of light. The leaves will be a medium apple green in color when the light is perfect . 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. Do not feed when the orchid is in bloom or when the orchid is dormant.

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