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Orchids and also the Cattleya orchid are not that easy to care for. However, there are some tips and tricks for the care and this is consistently pulled through and the plant also paid a certain attention, then it thanks it with a long life and many beautiful, graceful flowers. The unusually large flowers have brought them to number one of the most fascinating orchid species and are therefore very popular as a pure house plant in our latitudes.
Especially the location is an important point, that the Cattleya orchid thrives properly and lives long. So this should be bright but without direct sunlight. A west or east window that is not directly lit by the sun is ideal for this. In summer and in winter, the orchid can remain in the same location, because it loves temperatures between 18° and 25° Celsius and should therefore find its place in winter in a heated room, such as the living room or kitchen.
Tip: The Cattleya Orchid does not like changing location, so it's important to find the ideal place from the beginning to the graceful beauty she can spend her life on. If slight variations in temperature between day and night are possible at this place, this helps the orchid in its flowering joy.
The best time to repot the Cattleya orchids is their two-month rest period during which they receive only moderate amounts of water and no fertilizer at all. Ideally, repotting is done every two to three years. Even if the vessel has not become too small for the plant, the bark has decomposed in the substrate and this must now be renewed. Because otherwise the roots have no hold to cling to. So fresh orchid substrate is needed for repotting, as well as a sharp knife or scissors, disinfectants, such as pure alcohol and a new, slightly larger vessel. Then proceed as follows:
- Put the orchid briefly in water with the pot
- this makes the roots smoother
- Remove from the pot and remove the old substrate completely from the roots
- Disinfect knife or scissors
- Cut off rotten or dried up roots
- distribute a portion of the substrate on the bottom of the pot
- Place orchid in the middle
- Gently rest the rest of the substrate between the roots
- Make sure that the roots are not injured
- Leave orchids completely alone for at least two weeks
- they should be easily sprayed with soft water
The orchids usually determine themselves when to rest their legs, but this is usually the case in the local winters, because then the days are shorter. But this is not the rule, so a period of rest may well take place at other times of the year. This is especially the case when a really constant room temperature is given throughout the year and also the lighting conditions do not fluctuate, the orchid stands in the evening and morning in the winter under a bright lamp. The hobby gardener recognizes a period of rest of the orchid when it wilts its leaves and flowers. This is not a cause for concern, however, the withered flowers and leaves should be collected around so they do not provide breeding ground for lice. During the resting phase, the orchid may like to be a bit cooler, but never below 15° Celsius. So she gets back to strength faster. Even on a lot of watering and fertilizer should now be dispensed with. Once the Cattleya Orchid has passed its resting phase, it forms new, first shoots. Now the hobby gardener can go back to daily care.
Substrate & soil
Orchids do not like normal potting soil. However, the selected retailer offers special substrates for orchids. If you do not want to use the expensive substrate, you can also make a mixture of horn meal, perlite, bark and sphagnum yourself. Pine bark is usually used for the bark, but the cheaper pine bark can also serve well in the substrate for the Cattleya orchids. It is important that the soil is well drained for the plant and has a good ventilation, but the roots can still find a good grip.
The plant is fertilized approximately every 14 days during its growth with special, suitable for orchids fertilizers from the trade. When dosing and frequency of fertilizer should be paid attention to the manufacturer's information.Experts even go so far as to give only 50% to 70% of this information. Because over-fertilization of plants that are used to a nutrient-poor environment, they could weaken rather than strengthen. During the two-month rest period, the orchid should not be fertilized at all. Otherwise, both fertilization must be paid attention to the following:
- Normal liquid fertilizer from the market is not suitable
- use only special fertilizer for orchids
- to enrich the irrigation water with lime for the calcium supply
- Dissolve 1 g of lime in 10 liters of water
- Time required for this is three to four days
- other types of lime are not recommended, as the calcium does not split off here
- The additional calcium strengthens the roots
Especially the casting requires a little practice, so that the Cattleya Orchid thanks it with a beautiful flower. Experienced gardeners even swear by the weighing method, in which the plant pot is weighed immediately after watering. If the weight has not dropped noticeably three or four days later at the next weighing, it does not have to be poured yet. In the case of watering, however, the following should be used in particular:
- During growth, the orchid needs to get plenty of water
- If she is developing new shoots, she needs more water
- However, the root should always be able to dry completely before a next watering
- The smaller the pot, the more often it must be poured
- use only softened tap water for pouring
- Alternatively, collected rainwater can be used
- never pour with cold water
- Always warm the water slightly
- Avoid waterlogging
- Half an hour after pouring, drain the water collected on the saucer
- Orchids need high humidity
- also spray from the outside with lukewarm, lime-poor water
- help with humidifiers or bowls with water on the heater
- almost completely stop casting during the resting phase
Care mistakes, diseases or pests
Regrettably, when it comes to looking after the graceful plant, much can be done wrong. This can lead to over-fertilization, as the orchids are initially used to a nutrient-poor environment. Also too much watering, the Cattleya orchid can quickly become harmful. In this case, those who are not sure, the roots can better endure a day or two of drought, because a short drought tolerates the plant better than a longer, too wet phase, if it was poured too often because of ignorance of the owner. Too much water can cause a root rot in the worst case and the orchid dies off. If the dry and fallen down flowers and leaves are not collected during the resting phase, a lice infestation can occur.
If the care tips, especially with regard to the casting, are heeded and internalized by the hobby gardener, then the Cattleya Orchids thank this with a rich flowering every year anew. One of the most intriguing flowers ever created introduces the hobby gardener to other tasks every day that need to be overcome. However, those who, before cultivating their orchid, deal with the needs, their origin and the way of life, will later be allowed to enjoy the graceful plant every day anew.