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 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).

Fertilizer: 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 fertilizer 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.