Cattleya is a fantastically beautiful houseplant that blooms for a long time and exudes a pleasant aroma. She is somewhat capricious and demanding to care for compared to other indoor flowers. Caring for Cattleya is not very easy, but pleasant. A large number of factors affect the growth, flowering and lifespan of this flower. Therefore, it is worthwhile to study all of them before buying. How to choose a healthy plant in the store and how to care for it at home, we will tell you in today’s article.
Cattleya : how to care for indoor
The light-loving Cattleya orchid prefers window sills of the western (eastern) or southern directions for living, because for lush and long flowering it requires good illumination for 12-14 hours a day. Only in the summer, at noon, should it be shaded with blinds or a light curtain to avoid overheating or sunburn. Better yet, at noon, move it for a while from the windowsill to a flower stand a little in the back of the room, away from direct sunlight.
On the northern side of the apartment, you will not wait for the flowering of Cattleya even with artificial lighting, since it needs the sun, its ultraviolet rays, every morning and evening to bloom.
By the way, orchid leaves can tell you if the lighting is enough for them:
- Light green leaves, with yellowness, indicate an excess of light.
- Dark green shades indicate that there is not enough light.
- Only the rich bright emerald color of the foliage indicates that the Cattleya is happy with its life, and everything is in order with the illumination.
Do not forget to ventilate any rooms, wherever the orchid is, but take care of the plant from drafts. In the warm season, when the temperature does not drop below 13-15 degrees. even at night, the cattleya can be taken out to the glazed loggia with a constant supply of fresh air.
It is noticed that different varieties of this orchid prefer different temperatures of keeping not only in winter and summer, but also day and night. Find out in advance which variety is growing with you. If the variety is thermophilic, then the summer temperature during the day should be in the range of 24-28 ° C, and at night 5-6 ° C lower. In winter, she will be comfortable at a temperature of 16-18 ° C, and at night not lower than 12-13 ° C.
Other varieties do not tolerate daytime air temperatures above 25 ° C in summer, but during the dormant period in winter, 12-13 ° C is enough for them.
For active growth and stimulation of the flowering phase, the difference between day and night temperatures is required at least 5 ° C and no more than 8 ° C. Smaller temperature drops will affect the lack of flowering, and large ones can lead to illness and death of the orchid. Critical temperatures for Cattleya: maximum 30 ° C and minimum 5 ° C.
Cattleya orchid belongs to moisture-loving plants. At any time of the year, high humidity in the range of 60-80% in the room is necessary for it. At the same time, do not forget to ventilate the room – fresh air is also necessary for the healthy growth of the orchid. During the winter heating season, a decrease in humidity to 50-55% is inevitable. Think in advance how you will increase these indicators. We can recommend several options:
- Place the orchid pot in a wide tray on damp pebbles.
- Place a wide container of water next to the cattleya for evaporation.
- Spray the surrounding area and orchid leaves several times a day with warm water.
- Cover batteries with wet towels Get a household humidifier and turn it on if needed.
The Cattleya Orchid should be watered regularly and in moderation, according to the season and natural preferences. It is known that in the tropics, in its habitats, it usually rains in the afternoon. Therefore, we recommend watering just after lunch two or three times a week after the soil has completely dried out from the previous watering. Excessive moisture can kill the Cattleya. We also recall that dew falls in nature in the morning and evening hours. Pamper your pet and spray it in the mornings and evenings, being careful not to hit the inflorescences with a jet.
Use soft, distilled or rainwater water for irrigation and spraying. Although, boiled water or tap water, settled for a day, will also work. While watering, pour the water gently under the root. Do not pour leaves and other upper parts of the plant (for example, inside the growing point or cover), so as not to provoke all kinds of rot.
In winter, when the indoor temperature is lowered to 15-18 ° C, the roots of the plant absorb less moisture. Therefore, reduce watering, up to 2 times a month. During the dormant period, at a temperature of 12-13 ° C, the soil should be practically dry. Don’t worry, there is always a small supply of water in the orchid pseudobulb. Resume watering when a peduncle or a new sprout appears in the cover.
The orchid is fed 2-3 times a month with standard orchid fertilizer. The type of fertilizer should be selected depending on the phase of development of the orchid. During active growth following a dormant period, nitrogen supplements should prevail in the fertilizer. During the formation of pseudobulbs, the fertilizer should contain phosphorus-potassium components. Stop feeding during the formation of buds – then flowering will be longer.
Combine top dressing with the next watering. This will be a good incentive for the formation of a large number of large buds. Cattleya should not be fed during rest
The Cattleya orchid does not like frequent transplants. Even a neatly transplanted healthy plant takes a long time to recover after this procedure. Nevertheless, transplanting into new soil every 2 years at the beginning of the growing season is necessary, since the old soil is oxidized during this time and becomes unusable.
There are exceptional cases when there is a need for an urgent transplant:
- the bush has grown greatly, and it felt cramped in the old pot;
- the substrate has become unusable;
- you find rusty spots on the roots.
Prepare a new pot, not much wider than the old one (the orchid likes tight containers). It can be ceramic (clay) without gloss, but translucent (glass or plastic) is also suitable, as long as it allows air and sunlight to pass through. Drainage holes are required, on the sides and in the bottom of the pot.
Do not water the flower for 2 days before transplanting. And, on the contrary, wet the bark for the substrate well with moisture.
Diseases and pests:
Cattleya orchid is loved by spider mites, aphids, scale insects and mealybugs, which sometimes attack tropical beauties even at home. To prevent mass infection, you should regularly inspect the flower, especially the lower part of its foliage and pseudobulb. At the first sign of insects on the Cattleya, start the fight to save the flower. Take the pot to the bathroom and use a warm shower to flush as many parasites as possible down the drain. Dry the cattleya.
If you have destroyed most of the insects, try to do without chemicals. Increase the humidity in the room, regularly wipe the leaves with a cloth and soapy water. Remove the shield with a napkin moistened with alcohol or soapy water. Repeat shower after a week.
If the process is started, and home remedies do not cope, then you will have to resort to chemical insect control. In flower shops there is a large selection of them, for example, insecticides “Aktellik”, “Aktara”, “Fitoverm” and others. Long-term damage from any of these pests will result in disease or viruses leading to the eventual death of the flower.
For the Cattleya orchid, ordinary store-bought orchid primer is suitable. If you are a fan of self-preparation of the substrate, we will show you the option of a suitable composition:
- bark of coniferous trees (pine and spruce) – 5 hours;
- peat, oak leaves, sphagnum moss, coconut fiber – 1 hour each (as a filler);
- polystyrene – 2 hours (to maintain a certain level of humidity);
- expanded clay – 2 hours (for the drainage layer);
- Add pieces of charcoal to this to prevent fungal and other infections.
Soak the bark in hot water for several days, and then rinse it thoroughly. This will reduce acidity and help the roots of the plant to more easily absorb iron and other beneficial trace elements. Otherwise, the leaves will turn yellow and fall off.