This orchid is one of the world's most exotic plants. It is of South American origin, grown at low altitudes, and it can be found anywhere from Mexico in North America down into South America. They are available in many different colours with small to large flowers. Some are very fragrant. Cattleyas are epiphytes (air plants) and have a water storage organ called a pseudobulb. Most have large fleshy roots and leaves.

General Care

Light and temperature

Cattleyas naturally often grow in full tropical sunshine. They get very tough and leathery leaves to withstand these conditions. The best aspect for them in the home is an east or west facing window. They need warmth all year round. Household conditions with a temperature range of 16-27°C. Do not put plants in direct sunlight unless they are acclimatised to these conditions.

Watering and feeding

To keep humidity high round plants, place in a saucer of gravel or grit and keep moist. Spay plants to keep the humidity up. Water more when the weather is hot and plants are growing. Water less in winter when growth is dormant. Always water from the top.

Feed with Orchid Focus Grow once a week during the growing season and with Orchid Bloom when in flower or when a spike is growing. Water using rainwater if possible, bring to room temperature for best results. You can also use Orchid Myst to regularly mist the roots and bark.


Cattleyas usually flower once a year, but some may re-flower if new growths permit. They always flower from new growths.

New Plants

New plants are usually produced by dividing larger mature plants. The best time to do this is in early spring. When dividing your plant make sure you have 4/5 healthy pseudobulbs and place in the pot. Remove all dead roots and place the plant in the centre of the pot and add fresh re-potting mix. Water well and leave for a few weeks before watering again. Make sure all cutting tools are clean and sterilised before and after use.


Re-pot every two years in to a slightly larger pot using good quality orchid bark or mix. Select an open coarse mix for Cattleyas.
Never use a re-potting medium or compost that contains peat. Always use a bark or coir based medium.

Pests and diseases

Cattleyas can be attacked by mealy bug and scale, and greenfly when in flower bud. Use Provado Insect Killer aerosol spray to control these or a natural contact insecticide such as SB Plant Invigorator.

Care Products:

    • Orchid Myst Repotting Kit

      Orchids, when grown in bark-based media, need to be repotted every 12-18 months. This kit offers you all you need to repot and revitalise an orchid.

    • Orchid Myst

      Orchid Myst is first and foremost a nutrient solution containing all the elements needed by orchids, in the right proportion and at the kind of strength encountered in their wild habitat.

  • Orchid Focus Grow and Bloom

    Formulated to the highest standards for the specific nutritional requirements or orchids. The Orchid Focus feeding programme is recommended by The Eric Young Foundation, the leading UK authority on orchid hybridisation.