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Cattleya: history and cultivation


Those that belong to the genus Cattleya they are plants native to the tropical areas of central and south America, they are very rustic plants and have no particular needs in terms of cultivation. To this genus belong besides sixty species characterized by the presence of pseudobulbs with one or two rather thick and decidedly green leaves. The habit is horizontal and these pseudobulbs emerge from a rhizomatous stem, one after the other, then supporting the inflorescences.

In most cases i flowers they sprout at the end of the stems and come together in small groups of two but also ten, they are flowers with a peduncle and emerge from the apex of the stem.

As in many other orchids we find only one anther, in the sun, which has within it those rounded organs which in turn contain pollen or better the pollenodes, eight to be precise, but four of them are sterile. The size of the flower of the Cattleya they are considerable, it is composed of petals and sepals that have very similar dimensions and also have the same color unlike the labellum which instead stands out for its nuances in contrast with the rest of the flower and for its considerable size. The labellum it also has particular wavy and fringed edges.

Classifying the Cattleya is rather problematic, we have been trying for some time and until now we have done nothing but distinguish all the species that are part of this category in two macro areas. We talk about monofoliate orchids and bifoliate orchids.

In the first case these plants show only one leaf and produce large flowers than those of the other category, but on average they produce less than bifoliate orchids with two but also three leaves, depending on the single species considered.

Cattleya: history

To discover this genus of orchids in 1924 was a botanist by the name of John Lindley. It was to call him for help William Cattley of Barnet, rich English farmer and passionate collector of exotic plants, who found himself in the hands of plants unknown to him and wished to know more. Blissful curiosity. More than plants, they were leaves that had been sent to him from afar, they were used as packaging but Cattley cultivated them and managed to make them bloom.

At this point he called ours Lindley who managed to classify the new genus by associating it with the name of Cattleya in honor of the passionate British. Although it is not very well known in Europe, the Cattleya genus is well known in other places and is even the national flower in some countries of South America. In Colombia we find the Cattleya Trianae, in Venezuela the Cattleya Mossiae and in Costa Rica the Cattleya Skinnery.

Cattleya: cultivation

To grow Cattleya orchids it is necessary to be able to guarantee them a not too cold environment, in which there are more than 13 ° C even at night, the maximum temperature however, it must not exceed 23 ° C, in winter, 30 ° C in summer. When it comes to temperatures, it is also important to take into account the temperature difference which must not be greater than 5 ° C between day and night.

When we position the Cattleya we ensure that they do not have to suffer from cold drafts but at the same time are in a ventilated environment. Light must also be guaranteed to these tropical plants that they really need a lot to be able to bloom well. In particular, the sunlight must be a lot in the morning, less in the other hours of the day, especially in the central ones where the sun beats down stronger.

If we have a plant of the genus Cattleya in the house, let's place it near a window facing east or west, never to the north because it would have too much light. In the South we can try but only if we protect it from insolation. When we take care of a Cattleya orchid we must be careful that the soil does not dry out so let's water it often, with quantities of water that must be proportionate to the size of the pot. Even the environment in which the plant is immersed must always be humid: it is essential!

In a certain sense, the best thing would be to reproduce a sort of tropical forest at home, it is certainly not an easy task and maybe it is not even what we want. How can we do to make our orchid feel comfortable? Let's equip it first of all with a saucer with expanded clay or gravel to always keep immersed in water so that the roots are not immersed in the liquid but perceive the moisture that comes from its evaporation.

The rate of optimal humidity for this orchid is about 70% if we consider temperatures that are not too high, if they rise, this percentage must also rise but good ventilation is also essential, otherwise water stagnation would certainly form, very dangerous for the orchid. Beyond the humidity, we never hold our vase too close to a radiator.

Every 20 days we must remember fertilize this plant, to favor the vegetative restart, a product with a greater quantity of nitrogen is needed, while if we are already in flowering, we need more potassium. In liquid form, the fertilizers must be diluted in the irrigation water but when the substrate is already wet to avoid dangerous concentrations of mineral salts that would damage the roots.

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Video: History of Cattleya Orchids (May 2021).