Cattleya labiata and its hybrids are among the most sought after orchids in cultivation today. Almost all florists sell these large flowers worldwide. The plants are epiphytic in nature and are natively found in Central and South America. Cattleyas have two groups and are identified by the number of leaves the pseudobulbs have. Cattleya labiata and its hybrids belong to the first group with only a single leaf and only one or two flowers per stem. The other group has two leaves, and smaller, more numerous flowers. All Cattleyas are very easy to grow, and it makes a great orchid to grow in the home on a window sill.
Blooming: The plants bloom in late spring and early summer in the greenhouse. The large flowers are 6 inches (15 cm) wide and are pure white with a yellow throat and very fragrant and showy.
Culture: Cattleya labiata hybrids need high light intensity and well-drained compost. A suitable compost is the usual mixture of osmunda fiber or chopped tree fern with sphagnum moss and bark. During the growing period, which begins in the spring, they require plenty of water, although stagnant water conditions should be avoided. When pseudobulbs have matured, watering should be reduced to avoid further vegetative growth of the plant and to induce formation of flowers. When buds are seen in the sheath, watering should be increased. After flowering, the rest period begins, during which time the compost should be kept fairly dry and only a little watering is required, approximately every two to four weeks.
Propagation: Cattleya labiata hybrids are propagated from backbulbs, separating ones that can be easily detached. Care must be taken that only the roots are covered by compost, because the new growth must be able to develop freely, and moisture on the foliage should be avoided.
Cattleya labiata hybrid was featured as Plant of the Week January 14-20, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.